In February 2013 British Columbia had its first Family Day. For most people in the province it was an exciting time but many of us were working because BC’s Family day fell a week earlier than the rest of Canada.
It’s 2019 and I am excited this year to be spending Family Day with my wife and children and celebrating this holiday with everyone in Canada.
For six years, “Family Day” was anything but
When Family Day was first observed in 2013, it was on the second Monday of February. British Columbia was completely alone in this, as seven other provinces and the US have holidays on the third Monday.
For anyone with family in the US or Alberta, it often wasn’t possible to be together on Family Day. For anyone who conducts business across North America, it wasn’t practical to be at home on Family Day. Holiday or not, if the markets are open, and my clients are working, I’m working, and thousands of other BC residents are too.
The rationale that was pushed by proponents of the holiday date was as follows: since everyone else has their holiday on the third Monday, line-ups (particularly at ski resorts) would be shorter on the second Monday.
The social and economic costs of having an out of sync holiday were too obvious, and the benefit seemed trivial, so I started pushing for a change in 2014 with the #UniteFamilyDay movement. Fortunately, I wasn’t alone.
The support #UniteFamilyDay received was incredible
The petition I started on Change.org in 2015 received over 22,000 signatures, and the messages of support I received were heartwarming. Thousands of people in BC wanted the same thing, to actually spend Family Day with their loved ones. All that the provincial government needed to do was move Family Day a week later, as it was fully empowered to do.
The solution was so straightforward and obvious that it felt within reach. There was opposition, of course, but the call for a change was loud enough to get the local government’s attention. Thank you to our local MLAs and support from leaders across Canada including Andrew Weaver, Leader of the Green Party of British Columbia, David Eby, MLA of Point Grey and Som Seif, CEO of Purpose Investments.
Change never comes easy, but it’s worth it
Four years and thousands of signatures later - the provincial government heard us. Before last year’s Family Day, Premier John Horgan announced that 2018 would be the last year BC’s Family Day fell on the second Monday of February. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, shared the #UniteFamilyDay hashtag, and supported the movement to unite BC's Family Day with the rest of Canada. We did it!
How will you be spending Family Day? I know I’ll be spending this Family Day on Monday, February 18th with my wife and kids and I hope British Columbians enjoy this holiday with their loved ones too.
Happy Family Day!