National Day of Mourning? Yukon says yea, N.W.T. says nay and Nunavut will see closures

·3 min read
Premier Caroline Cochrane at the N.W.T. Legislature in May 2021. There will be a memorial event at the Legislature on Monday to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, but the territory will not be following the federal government in declaring the day a holiday. (Liny Lamberink/CBC - image credit)
Premier Caroline Cochrane at the N.W.T. Legislature in May 2021. There will be a memorial event at the Legislature on Monday to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, but the territory will not be following the federal government in declaring the day a holiday. (Liny Lamberink/CBC - image credit)

It's a mixed bag across the North when it comes to Monday's National Day of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.

School will still be in session, territorial government offices will still be open and business will continue as normal for most employees in the N.W.T. on Monday — despite it being a federal statutory holiday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that Sept. 19 would be a holiday for federal employees in order to mark the Queen's funeral.

On Wednesday, the N.W.T. confirmed it would not be following suit.

In a statement, N.W.T. Premier Caroline Cochrane said the territory's public service is "much broader" than other areas of the country.

"Providing an additional holiday at this short notice would have far-reaching service delivery implications," she stated.

"Like all residents, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and will find ways in my own life to consider her impact and mourn her passing."

Cochrane said there would be a memorial event at the Legislative Assembly on Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

One-time day of mourning in Yukon

The Yukon government said in a news release it would be observing the National Day of Mourning on Monday.

That means K-12 public schools will be closed and territorial government services — excluding courts, according to an update the territory made later on Wednesday — will be shut down for the day.

"Private sector employers and organizations and other levels of government are encouraged to observe the National Day of Mourning in ways that are suitable for their employees and operations," the news release stated.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press
Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

There will be a live screening on Monday of Canada's national commemorative ceremony, starting at 8 a.m. YT at the Jim Smith Building foyer in Whitehorse.

In the news release, Yukon Premier Sandy Silver said giving Yukoners the day off "is an important part of cherishing and honouring" the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.

Holiday up in the air in Nunavut

The Nunavut government said Thursday that all government offices and agencies will close Monday to mark the day.

The release also said "private employers are welcome to follow suit but are not required to do so."

It's not clear whether schools will be open or closed.

In a statement Tuesday, the Commissioner of Nunavut encouraged people to join her in offering condolences honouring the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Eva Aariak said Nunavummiut "send our deepest sympathies to the Royal Family on the passing of an extraordinary woman, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who was a loving mother, grandmother, and great grandmother."

The commissioner referenced Elizabeth II's tour of Canada in 1970, when she made a brief stop in Resolute Bay, in the High Arctic.

Aariak invited Nunavummiut to sign a virtual book of condolences set up by the federal government.

In Iqaluit, people can sign in person at the Office of the Commissioner of Nunavut, House 2554 in Tundra Valley, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily until Sept. 20.