Labour Day long weekend is coming up, bringing with it the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year.
It’s one last chance to go camping or fishing before the fall begins, and to spend some quality time with the family.
Most of us don’t really stop to think too much about Labour Day, apart from the fact that it marks the last weekend of summer. Unlike Remembrance Day or Thanksgiving, the history behind Labour Day doesn’t always receive much attention.
Labour Day has been an official holiday in Canada since 1894, less than three decades after confederation.
The roots of the holiday date back to the 1870s, when unions began pushing for a shorter working day.
At the time, 12-hour working days were common, leading to the creation of the so-called “Nine-Hour Movement.”
Under the existing laws in this period, union activity was illegal, but the movement led Sir John A. Macdonald to pass the Trade Union Act, legalizing and protecting union activity.
Today, the eight-hour work day is common, unions exist in many industries and professions, and Labour Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September.
The last weekend of summer gives us a great chance to sit back and reflect on the meaning of Labour Day, as well as to enjoy one last taste of summer.
There are plenty of great events coming up in the fall, including the harvest fair next week, but for now I hope you have a great long weekend!
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.