Family Day. Your new Statutory Holiday in the Province of Ontario.
Yes, it was Family Day on Monday, a day I got to stay home from work. An extra day of running interference and deflecting the kids from Mrs. Ricardipus as she wades through her mounds of lesson plans, assignments, essays and readings.
This, as far as I can tell, came about for two obvious reasons: as a public relations move by the current Provincial Government, and because there's been low-level griping for years now that "there just isn't a statutory holiday in February". Nobody seems to have remembered that there usually isn't one in March either (unless Easter is particularly early), not to mention June, October or November. Unless you're a government, post office or bank employee, in which case you get days like Remembrance Day off, even though the rest of us have to work. Possibly, it was also instituted as some of the other Canadian Provinces also have one, and gosh, why doesn't Ontario as well?
Naturally, some companies have responded simply by trimming one "float" day (a kind of free-use, paid day off) from their employees and replacing it with this new holiday. It still costs the company more, since they have to pay holiday pay for the new day, but the impact on the employee is negative - basically, he or she is now forced to take February the 18th off, instead of a day some other time in the year when it might be a lot more convenient, or necessary.
For a lot of businesses, of course, this is a windfall - what was previously just another dead Monday is now an opportunity to be open and actually expect to see customers coming in the door. Restaurants, the Science Centre, places like the local reptile zoo, kids' play parks - all are probably doing better as a result of this new holiday.
However, if we think about it a bit further, we begin to find all kinds of other people who don't benefit. Federal Government employees, for one (including the post office - ah, the delicious irony!), all of whom have to work. The self-employed, who now have another day of child care expenses (or just plain being distracted by having the kids at home) to deal with. Business owners who need to stay open, and who now have to pay their employees another day of holiday pay (and endure the grumbling that they should be at home enjoying the holiday). And then there are those who object simply on ideological, or even semantic, grounds - people without children who may or may not consider themselves a "family", people who resent the implication that they don't already spend enough time with their families, people in non-traditional relationships that are already a sore point when terms like "family", "spouse" and "common-law" get used.
Ah well. I spent the morning with the Junior Ricardipi at said reptile zoo, and if you'd like to see some photos, do feel free to look here.
My new Family Day buddy.
Then lunch out with the kiddies, and scooting JR#2 off to a birthday party later on (at one of those now-happy-to-be-open businesses). The rest of the holiday weekend? A delightful mélange of replacing the smoke detectors, scrubbing the laundry sink, and purchasing some spiffy new cordless phones to replace the old V-Tech, some parts of which can now be found here.
Part of the phone's guts.
All in all, an average holiday weekend, I guess.