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Members of the public leave flowers and tributes in front of Windsor Castle on Sept. 13, 2022.Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images

Canada’s banks will stay open on Sept. 19 after the federal government declared a national day of mourning to mark Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.

Banks will open for normal business on Monday, with regular hours, but will observe a moment of silence to honour the Queen, according to the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA).

“By keeping the banking system open, banks ensure the continuous functioning of payroll for workers, scheduled bill payments, child support, and mortgage closings,” the CBA said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the country’s financial sector scrambled to decide how to respond to a federal holiday declared by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Banks had no warning about the decision to hold a day of mourning, and were concerned about the degree of co-ordination that would be required between financial markets operators, payment providers and financial institutions to close at short notice.

Monday will be a holiday for federal civil servants. B.C. and all four Atlantic provinces will close government offices and schools for the day. Other large provinces such as Ontario, Alberta and Quebec elected not to declare a public holiday.

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Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan clarified on Tuesday that federally-regulated companies such as banks and telecommunications companies were invited to mark the day, but not required to observe it as a holiday or close their doors.

Stock markets including the Toronto Stock Exchange will remain open, and Payments Canada confirmed its systems and operations will be running Monday, which allows a wide array of financial transactions to clear and settle.

The Bank of Canada will postpone an auction of 10-year government bonds that had been scheduled for Monday until Sept. 22, but will maintain regular operations that support payment and settlement systems as well as financial markets.

Those decisions set the stage for banks to stay open as well. On Tuesday afternoon, the CBA sent an internal note, obtained by The Globe and Mail, to senior bankers recommending that banks operate on a “business-as-usual basis” on Monday.

Anticipating that financial markets would remain open, CBA chief executive Anthony Ostler suggested in the note that “the risks of operational errors to the industry are far greater than the reputational risks with remaining open.”

Business advocacy groups including the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers urged provinces to commemorate the day but not make it a statutory holiday. They argued that such a holiday would result in lost productivity or higher wage costs for businesses.

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SymbolName% changeLast
Toronto-Dominion Bank
Royal Bank of Canada
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Bank of Nova Scotia
Bank of Montreal
National Bank of Canada

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