Saint John Is The Latest City To Test A 4-Day Workweek & It's Happening All Over Canada

Every weekend is a long weekend in Saint John!

Saint John, New Brunswick.
Senior Editor

Saint John, New Brunswick.

Saint John, New Brunswick, has just become the latest in a line of municipalities and cities testing a four-day workweek in Canada.

The city recently announced that it will be piloting a four-day workweek for most municipal employees, following a unanimous vote of approval on Monday.

Starting October 17, employees in the region will work a "compressed work week," which means they'll work the same number of hours they did before, but on a Monday through Thursday schedule.

While this might mean four days of the week are a little busier for staff, they will all have Friday off every single week, giving them a regular three-day weekend with no change to their salaries.

Officials leading the change say this shouldn't have too much of an impact on the general public, either.

While the shift will see most municipal offices closed on a Friday, essential operations like recreation facilities, transit, parking enforcement, public safety services and more will continue without interruption all week long.

Customer Service Centres, as well as One Stop Development Shops, will open for extended hours Monday through Thursday too, which the City says will benefit the community.

Explaining the reason for the shift, City Manager John Collin said, "As a major employer, we are continually exploring ways to improve the workplace for employees and attract talent, while continuing to serve the community at a high standard."

He added, "More and more organizations are focusing on innovative approaches to remain competitive and meet the evolving needs of employees and customers, and our research shows that they are seeing impressive results by taking the leap."

The pilot project will be tested for one year. During this time, the municipality says it will monitor and evaluate the success of the switch, before deciding whether to implement it on a permanent basis.

It's not the first place in Canada to test a shorter workweek. In fact, in New Brunswick alone, several municipalities have already made the leap, including Sackville and Quispamsis.

Elsewhere across Canada, the Ontario township of Zorra tested the project in 2020, before making it permanent in 2021.

One of the first places in Canada to formalize a longer weekend was the Nova Scotia municipality of Guysborough, where leaders say the "morale boost in our workplace alone has been enough to warrant what we've done."

Individual companies and businesses are also testing a longer weekend, with some recognizing that a reduced workweek has caused revenues to skyrocket. Many are even hiring, with the promise of a short workweek as a perk.

The move towards a four-day workweek comes as employees all over the country continue to push for a greater work-life balance.

And it's not just Canada seeing a shift. Elsewhere in the world, countries like the U.K., Spain and Iceland are trialing or have implemented a reduced workweek in an effort to improve employees' wellbeing and increase productivity.

In a statement similar to that of many employers and city officials testing the project, Collin explained, "If we can make progressive, evidence-based enhancements that are a win-win for everyone, with little to no added cost to the taxpayer or inconvenience to the customer, then we should take the opportunity."

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.