B.C. to observe national day of mourning for The Queen, keep schools closed

In memory of Queen Elizabeth II, British Columbians are invited to sign a book of condolences. (Province of BC/Flickr)

The B.C. government will observe the national day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II next week and keep schools closed across the province.

Premier John Horgan made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed there would be a federal holiday on Sept. 19 marking the day of The Queen’s funeral in the U.K.

“Our government will follow the lead of the federal government and join with other provinces in observing the national day of mourning,” Horgan said in a statement.

“We have advised provincial public-sector employers to honour this day in recognition of the obligations around federal holidays in the vast majority of provincial collective agreements.”

Most Crown corporations will be closed that day, along with all public schools from kindergarten through post-secondary. Horgan said the B.C. government is also encouraging private-sector businesses to “find a way to recognize or reflect on the day in a way that is appropriate for their employees.”

While federal government employees will have Sept. 19 off, individual provinces have to decide whether to declare their own holidays.

Earlier in the day, Trudeau said he was “working with the provinces and territories to try and see what we’re aligned,” but noted there were “still a few details to be worked out.”

The governments of Quebec and Ontario have since confirmed they will treat the day of The Queen’s funeral as one of commemoration and mourning, similar to Remembrance Day, but not a provincial holiday.

Provincial holidays will be held in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, however.

Source: With files from CTVNews.ca’s Daniel Otis