In 2008, the Province of Ontario proclaimed Family Day, a holiday held every year on the third Monday in February. Please visit the Observed Holidays page for the dates City Hall will be closed.

Family Day is a statutory public holiday akin to other “stat holidays” such as New Year's Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Boxing Day. If a business is traditionally closed on those aforementioned holidays, it would be closed on Family Day too.

Whether a business is allowed to open on a statutory holiday is determined by The Retail Business Holidays Act.

The Act does not allow holiday openings except for certain exemptions, which are outlined in the Act.

There is a process to apply for a tourist exemption. The exemption is done through the Region Municipality of Niagara (Region) not the City. There is a fee and the Region will hold a public meeting before granting the exemption. As an aside, the Region asks the lower tier municipality to sign off on the application first.

Applications for the exemption are available through the Clerk's Office at the Region.

The regulations of the legislation state that a retail establishment has to be located within 2 km of a tourist attraction and relies on tourists visiting the attraction for business on a holiday. Most applications for such an exemption in Niagara Falls have been approved.

If you have a business and are not sure whether you have an exemption, there is a good chance you don't! Although, one should be cognizant of section 3 of the Act that exempts pharmacies, "small" stores, liquor stores, art galleries, markets and others.

Finally, the Region would do any enforcement related to statutory holiday openings.