Many Acadians celebrate their culture on August 15, but should this day be a holiday? In some Acadian regions, some employers grant paid leave to their employees.
A text by Samuel LeGresley
Each province has its holiday. Quebeckers have Saint John the Baptist and New Brunswickers as New Brunswickers, but for many Acadians this is not enough.
Their national holiday is August 15, the day of the Assumption.
The City of Moncton does not recognize this leave, but the City of Dieppe, yes.
As the largest Acadian city, the City of Dieppe has decided to honor the August 15th celebration and to grant a holiday to its employees. This is the reason why the town hall is closed.
Other Acadian institutions also give their employees leave.
At UNI Financial cooperation, only a few employees will be at work. At the Université de Moncton, some essential services remain open, such as security, the fitness center (CEPS) and the Musée acadien, which runs its own activities for the Acadian festival.
Northeastern New Brunswick is no exception. At the City of Caraquet, employees who work on Aug. 15 are paid twice their usual salary.
15 August public holiday for a national company
Moncton-based Assumption Life Insurance Company is a large Acadian institution, but its employees do not automatically leave on Assumption Day.
“We were doing it for about 5-6 years,” says Nicole Belliveau, Human Resources Manager.
The national scope of the company makes this kind of fixed leave difficult, she explains.
Since we are a national service, it is difficult to close our doors and our customer service. Today, we give flexibility to the employee to take the leave if he desires.
The company offers its employees three paid holidays in addition to the usual holidays, during the year. Employees can choose to take these vacations as they wish.
She insists, however, on the Acadian identity of the company. August 15 is widely underlined internally, she said.
“We do a relaxed day, clothes competitions for Acadian colors, we offer a meal of fricot, grated poutines and poutines to hole the day of August 15. ”
A 15th of August public holiday: a SANB claim
Acadian organizations such as the Société nationale de l’Acadie and the Université de Moncton Students’ Federation (FÉÉCUM) want to set an example by recognizing August 15th as a public holiday for their employees.
For Kevin Arseneau, President of the Acadian Society of New Brunswick (SANB), this recognition is obvious. “The boots must follow the chops,” he said.
Acadian businesses are encouraged to give their employees a holiday, and the government is told when they meet that August 15 should be a holiday.
Some Acadian Regions Only
The leave granted on August 15 mostly remains imitated in eastern New Brunswick. In other employers in Acadia, as the City of Edmundston, in the northwest on August 15 does not lead to paid leave.
Same for the Acadian region of Clare, Nova Scotia. The municipal offices remain open, even if the national holiday is emphasized for an hour and a half during the day.
Université Sainte-Anne, Nova Scotia’s cousin of the Université de Moncton, also does not recognize this leave, although its campuses are present in many of the Acadian regions of the province.
The Acadian Federation of Nova Scotia (FANE) yet, based in Dartmouth, a public holiday on August 15th.
At the SANB, the 15th of August is not one of the main battlegrounds. Barely a year after he began his mandate, the president acknowledged that he had plenty of work to do.
We do not have a campaign in place to move this issue forward. There are a lot of files, but [this one] has been there in the past, it’s still there today, and it will be there until we get a holiday on August 15th.
It does not, however, exclude the possibility of a 15 August holiday for all New Brunswickers. “Acadia has already proved to be a distinct culture. It would be a good day to invite our Anglophone and Aboriginal cohabitants to events to talk about Acadian culture. ”