The British, like other colonial powers, allowed the widespread practice of slavery to take place during the time of expansion to the new world. In 1772, the ruling in the case of Somerset v Stewart determined that slavery was unsupported by the common law in England and Wales. While the ruling was not clear on the situation in other parts of the Empire, this case was seen as a key turning point in the change towards emancipation.
Slavery was finally abolished throughout the British Empire by the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which came into effect on August 1st 1834.
The 1st official Emancipation Day in Canada in 2021
Ontario has been the only province to have marked Emancipation Day, but now it is officially a federal day in Canada, after members of parliament in the House of Commons voted unanimously in March 2021 to designate it nationwide for August 1st — denoting the day in 1834 that the Act came into effect. They cast 335 votes in favour and no abstentions or nay votes.