Canada is a big happy family - just not on Family Day

As I write this, it's Family Day. But not our Family Day, everyone else's Family Day. I have to work. On top of that, it's President's Day in the U.S. In other words, we are the only people in North America who don't have a holiday today. The markets are closed, but my office isn't.

Oh, sure, we had our Family Day a week earlier. So when everyone else was working, we were slacking off. Granted, we did get a day of after Super Bowl that no one else got. Or maybe they did if they called in sick (which I could see if you were a Carolina fan). And it was Chinese New Year this year. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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Every year, there are calls to change our Family Day to match the rest of the country, but it fizzles out quickly. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the day off, but I think it's time we get in step with the rest of the continent.

I work for a national charitable organization that has a call centre in Vancouver. We close for holidays, but in this case, we don't - we have to be open both days. People don't expect us to work on a holiday, but they do expect us to be available on regular work days. So that means we have to be open both days, and balance our staffing requirements accordingly. So why is our holiday different? I did a little digging. The tourism industry really wanted a different day so that British Columbians could populate one weekend and tourists could fill up the next. In the premier's announcement for the holiday, she said, "British Columbians will be able to enjoy all kinds of local attractions with fewer lineups and less out-oftown traffic."

There was even an online poll, with the different day winning two-to-one. But online polls can't really be trusted. If you need to check that one, just look at the results of the last B.C. election.

Now that we've got a couple of these holidays under our belts, we need to take stock of the outcome, and I go back to the public outcry to line it up with everyone else.

In this instance, it does not serve us well to be unique. B.C. has done a great job of attracting large, multi-national companies (sorry, make that employers with good salaries) to our province. Being out of step with the rest of the continent might be great for a shorter line-up at Whistler, but it won't help us bring more head offices to our province. And you can bet that no other jurisdiction cares at all that we are working today - they are closed. Sorry B.C., deal with it.

I don't see it as a sign of weakness to change Family Day to align with everyone else. On the contrary, I see it as a sign of leadership - listening and adjusting. There may be other issues to dig your heals in on, but this one isn't one of them.

I don't think there will be a huge backlash if we did change it, but it's a great example of being stubborn if we don't consider it.

Now, I have to get back to work.

Brad Sherwin, MBA has over 25 years' experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He is currently the director of marketing for a national non-profit organization.

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