Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken 680 “personal days” since he was elected in 2015, according to his public itineraries and a data analysis by the National Post.
Excluding election campaigns, Trudeau has spent 24% of his time in office, the equivalent of almost two years, taking personal days.
True North did the first published analysis of Trudeau’s personal days in 2020, and found he had taken 48 personal days by August of that year and 91 the year prior.
This includes vacations he took with his family, the holiday seasons, out-of-town weekend getaways and summer breaks.
However, the PMO rejects the notion that the prime minister is not working on days listed as personal, telling the National Post such a notion “false and absurd.”
“The Prime Minister routinely and regularly works on days listed ‘personal’ in the itinerary,” wrote the PMO in an emailed statement.
“This can include calls with staff, calls with stakeholders, or briefings with officials.”
Among the 680 days, 31 were spent in Costa Rica, 9 in Jamaica, eight in the Bahamas, where Trudeau made a trip to the Aga Khan’s private island, which would later be found to violate the conflict-of-interest rules by the federal ethics commissioner.
Trudeau also often vacations in British Columbia, where he spent a total of 88 personal days in Tofino, Whistler, Revelstoke and elsewhere in the province.
Trudeau has spent more vacation time in B.C. than he has in Alberta on official business, despite the fact that he also took time to vacation in Lake Louise in 2017.
According to the itineraries, he has also taken several vacations south of the border, spending time in New York, Vermont and Florida.
His longest stretch of consecutive personal days was 17, during the holiday season in 2016 and the majority of his personal days, 68%, were taken on weekends and spent in the Ottawa region.
Trudeau’s personal day rate of 24% is still below how much time the average Canadian worker takes off annually, which is about 34%, including two weeks paid vacation and statutory holidays.
The PMO said that Trudeau was engaged for every day of the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and is so for the current Israel-Hamas conflict.
In a 2015 interview with CBC, Trudeau spoke about the need to properly balance his work and personal life, saying that he planned to spend as much time with his family as his job would allow.
“I need to be really ruthless to ensure I have time with family, time with Sophie and time to decompress,” he said, referring to his wife at the time, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. The pair legally separated in August.
While on a trip to Japan for a G7 leaders summit in 2016, Trudeau took another personal day to celebrate his 11th wedding anniversary with Grégoire Trudeau, however there is no note of it in his official itinerary.
“This is the kind of work-life balance that I’ve often talked about as being essential in order to be able to be in service of the country with all one’s very best,” said Trudeau in 2106.
Additionally, he took personal time for his anniversary in 2022 and 2023.
The analysis of Trudeau’s time off was compiled by Glen McGregor for the National Post from 2,900 itineraries published on the prime minister’s website.
This does not include days where Trudeau was campaigning for re-election in 2019 and 2021.
Trudeau’s itineraries are made public “in the spirit of openness and transparency,” wrote the PMO. “Canada is one of the few countries in the world to provide this level of daily transparency with the leader’s schedule,” the statement said.