A 4-Day Workweek Is Being Tested All Over Canada Right Now & Here's How It's Going

"I will never revert back to a traditional five-day work week."👇

A 4-Day Workweek Is Being Tested All Over Canada Right Now & Here's How It's Going
Senior Editor

Employers and employees are testing out a four-day workweek across Canada and it sounds like many of the pilot projects are going really, really well.

One of the first places in Canada to formalize a longer weekend was the Nova Scotia municipality of Guysborough.

The region implemented a four-day workweek back in 2020 for around 60 employees in the town. The schedule allows them to take either Monday or Friday off every week.

In October, the municipality's chief administrative officer Barry Carroll told Narcity that the nine-month trial went so well that councillors approved a policy to keep the shorter schedule in place for another year. They expect it’s likely to become permanent, eventually.

"I'm seeing people have a bounce in their step. It seems like they have something to work for and they want to be successful," he said. "They see the advantages of having that extra day."

He added, “A big, big positive coming out of this is that our sick leave in the organization is way down compared to what it was.”

"The morale boost in our workplace alone has been enough to warrant what we've done," he concluded.

Over in Ontario, the township of Zorra began testing a similar schedule in September 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, the eight-month initiative allowed municipal staffers to take Monday or Friday off each week.

Don MacLeod, Zorra's chief administrative officer, told Narcity at the end of October that employees are really enjoying the change to their schedules.

"[...] Definitely from a work-life balance [perspective], I think everyone loves it," he confirmed. "We do have a couple of employees that have kids, so they find it's one less day of daycare for them."

He added that, “There hasn't been any negativity that I've seen personally or heard from members of council.”

It's not just towns scrapping the traditional 9-to-5, either. Ottawa-based tech consultancy firm Iversoft launched an optional four-day workweek in 2020 to give staff more flexibility.

Similarly, Toronto roofing company Situra took the plunge in April 2021 and now says its employees are more "relaxed" and "happy."

Another Toronto business owner, Jamie Savage, described her recruitment company's move to a four-day workweek as "hands down the best business decision I've ever made."

In B.C., the CEO of YLaw says a reduced workweek has meant her company’s “revenues have skyrocketed,” while another business in the province implemented a similar schedule and promised to pay staff exactly the same amount.

On an even broader scale, some countries are testing out a regular long weekend. It’s being discussed in Belgium and trials have already started in places like Spain and Iceland.

Although Canada has not shared any plans to implement a national version of a shorter workweek, Ontario's Liberal Party has actually promised to launch a four-day workweek pilot project if they get elected in June 2022.

In September, an Indeed study found that around 50% of small, medium and large companies in Canada would consider testing it out.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.