BC Family Day Being Moved to Third Week in February, Effective 2019

(Credit: Kimberley Alpine Resort)

The Kimberley Chamber of Commerce believes the move will be bad for resort towns like many of those in the East Kootenay.

Premier John Horgan announced Friday that, beginning in 2019, BC Family Day will move from the second week of February to the third.

This will put the holiday in line with nearly all of Canada, as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, PEI, and Nova Scotia all celebrate Family Day on the third Monday in February.

Americans also have this day marked as President's Day.

While the change will allow families across borders to be able to spend the same long weekend together, Kimberley Chamber Executive Director Mike Guarnery believes tourism operators in communities near the Alberta border will suffer.

"The lineups at the ski hills are plenty enough on [BC Family Day] and we have lots of activities in town. The BC Family Day allowed BC residents to have time to staycation and do things around here. Not that they can't, but it's going to be an addition onto an already-busy weekend."

He says tourism companies are better able to give their staff consistent hours when there are two long weekends in a row.

While many resort towns closer to border have advocated for keeping the holidays separate, Guarnery says some in the province wanted the change.

"A lot of the advocacy for this has been from Lower Mainland areas and populations that don't have the tourism influx we do during that weekend."

The provincial government made the change after launching consultations in 2013.

Guarnery says he wishes places like the East Kootenay could have been more heavily consulted first.

- David Opinko

Audio: Mike Guarnery, Executive Director, Kimberley Chamber of Commerce

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