On May 28, 2012 Premier Christy Clark announced that B.C.’s Family Day would take place on the second Monday in February each year, beginning in 2013. B.C.’s first Family Day was held on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.
To quote from the news release on the announcement:
“Creating a Family Day in B.C. was an important priority for me. Today, my government is following through on that commitment and I am proud and delighted to let families across B.C. know that our very first Family Day will be on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013,” said Premier Christy Clark. “Having our own unique day in B.C. creates distinctive opportunities for families and local businesses. British Columbians will be able to enjoy all kinds of local attractions with fewer lineups and less out-of-town traffic.”
Between May 8 and May 22, 2012, British Columbians were asked to provide input into whether they prefer the second or third Monday in February for the observation of the new Family Day statutory holiday. The report below summarizes some of the details of what we heard.
The public were engaged via an online poll, Twitter and email; consultation with various business and industry stakeholders, as well as school superintendents were also held.
Results of Online Engagement:
- The question asked on the website was:
What day should B.C.’s Family Day be?
- The public was asked to indicate a preference for the either the second Monday in February, the third Monday in February or, if no preference, to indicate that either one is fine. The public was also encouraged to provide their comments to explain the reasons for their preference
- Between May 8 and May 22, the web poll component of the Family Day website gathered a total of 31,146 votes, along with 3,069 comments – the most activity of any similar engagement program government has undertaken.
- Of those, 18,202 votes were registered for the second Monday in February to celebrate Family Day while 9,436 votes were counted for the third Monday in February and 3,508 did not have a preference.
- While the outcome of the web poll was taken into consideration, close attention was paid to the rationale users gave for their preference.
- Of those more than 3,000 comments made online, among those who expressed support for the second Monday in February, the reason most commonly cited was to avoid overcrowding at tourism destinations throughout B.C. A significant number of those who commented in support of the second Monday believed that having a statutory holiday on a different weekend than Alberta and Washington State would provide tourist destinations with the opportunity to capitalize on two weekends of increased traffic in February.
- Of those who expressed support for the third Monday in February, the most common reason cited was to allow for individuals with family members in other jurisdictions the opportunity to share a long weekend. A lot of comments also noted that businesses that operate across jurisdictions could benefit from having a common holiday.
- Comments made via Twitter appeared to be more supportive of the new holiday aligning with other jurisdictions, on the third Monday in February.
- Between May 14 to May 22 use of the #mybcfd hashtag on twitter reached 297,735 accounts, and registered 613,448 impressions (source: TweetReach)
Of the 3,071 comments provided on the BC Family Day Consultation website, the reasons provided can be broken down as follows (note: some comments gave more than one reason):
|Support for 2nd Monday||1733|
|Support for 3rd Monday||970|
|Align with other jurisdictions – business reasons||229|
|Align with other jurisdictions – family reasons||497|
|Don’t align with other jurisdictions – business reasons||611|
|Don’t align with other jurisdictions – avoid crowds, unique BC experience||1117|
|Community event alignment||145|
|Oppose new holiday||32|
|Other reasons (alignment with birthday, anniversary, etc)||104|
Results of Industry and Business Consultations:
- Key business and industry stakeholders, as well as school officials, were invited to participate in calls organized by region. The question posed to the participants was:
Do you favour the 2nd or the 3rd Monday of February for the new holiday, and is there any particular reason for your choice?
- There was strong support for the 2nd Monday of February from the ski and tourism sectors. Ski resorts and other tourist destinations are full on the third weekend of February due to increased travel from those celebrating President’s Day or Alberta’s Family Day. Having the holiday on this date would also mean a greater economic opportunity to accommodate more people, which will increase the economic benefit to the resorts, in addition to a potential increase to tax intake for government, by having two days of increased consumer spending instead of one really busy day.
- It was noted that sharing the same date with the U.S., Alberta and other jurisdictions could lessen tourism organizations’ efforts to market the day as unique.
- Businesses that have to increase short-term staff due to increased volume from President’s Day and Alberta’s Family Day would be able to keep the short-term staff on longer, which benefits those employees.
- Responses in favour of 3rdweekend of February were not as united in terms of how strongly they favoured the date. Reasons given in favour of aligning with other jurisdictions included:
- For businesses that interact heavily with the U.S. and internationally, there were concerns about complications that could arise by not aligning with President’s Day. Those who work inter-provincially also indicated their preference was for the third weekend in order to align business processes across jurisdictions.
- It was also noted by some Universities that the third weekend of February aligns with the student break on both sides of the provincial border and would be less disruptive to schedules.
- There was concern from some businesses about aligning the new holiday too closely to other significant calendar days such as Valentine’s Day.
- The public engagement and consultation process concluded on May 22 and government then decided the date on which the Family Day holiday will be observed.
- Ultimately the opportunities and benefits we saw for families and businesses with having our own unique day outweighed any potential challenges we might face by not aligning with other jurisdictions.
- Based on the results of our public engagement and consultation process, a decision was made to hold the holiday on the second Monday of February, beginning in 2013.