Canada designated September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021, acknowledging the atrocities committed against Indigenous peoples. This federal statutory holiday aims to reflect on the country’s history and legacy of the residential school system. While the day was previously known as Orange Shirt Day, its transformation into a holiday was one of the recommendations put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015.
On Truth and Reconciliation Day, schools across the country will close, and many employees will have the day off with pay. However, the holiday does not apply to all workers. Postal workers, federal government staffers, and bank employees are entitled to the day off, but the decision to grant the day off to employees in other sectors lies with employers. Only four provinces/territories—British Columbia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and Yukon—have made September 30 a statutory holiday for all workers.
Each province and territory approaches the day differently:
– British Columbia: BC passed legislation to enshrine the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday for all workers. This move allows eligible BC employees to observe the day with a paid day off or receive payment at premium rates if required to work.
– Alberta: September 30 has not been designated a statutory holiday, but the Alberta government encourages commemoration and participation in local events.
– Saskatchewan: Not a statutory holiday in Saskatchewan, it nonetheless provides an opportunity for reflection and continued reconciliation efforts. Municipal governments in Regina, Saskatoon, and St. Alberta recognize the day as a holiday.
– Manitoba: The province’s public servants and schools will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with closures, while licensed early learning and childcare facilities may remain open as essential services.
– Ontario: Employers in Ontario may choose to give staff the day off, particularly if required in collective agreements. It is a day for reflection on the legacy of the residential school system and to honor survivors and their communities.
– Quebec: September 30 is not a provincial holiday in Quebec, but financial institutions will be closed.
– New Brunswick: While the provincial government has not designated it as a holiday, city governments in Moncton and Fredericton have given municipal workers the day off.
– Nova Scotia: September 30 is officially recognized as a holiday in Nova Scotia, with provincial government offices, public schools, and regulated childcare closed.
– Prince Edward Island: The island province recognizes Truth and Reconciliation Day as a statutory holiday, with closures for schools and government offices.
– Newfoundland and Labrador: September 30 is a government holiday, but not a statutory holiday. Schools and government offices will close, while private-sector workplaces can choose to remain open and are encouraged to commemorate the day.
– Yukon: September 30 is a statutory holiday for all workers in Yukon, with government offices, schools, and courts closed. Private-sector employers have discretion in observing the day.
Truth and Reconciliation Day serves as an opportunity for Canadians to come together, learn, reflect, and take part in events that acknowledge the significance and impact of the residential school system on Indigenous communities. It is a step towards healing and understanding, promoting reconciliation and justice for all.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Truth and Reconciliation Day?
Truth and Reconciliation Day is a federal statutory holiday in Canada, designated on September 30 to reflect on the history and legacy of the residential school system and promote healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
2. Which provinces have made September 30 a statutory holiday for all workers?
British Columbia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and Yukon have made September 30 a statutory holiday for all workers.
3. Are schools closed on Truth and Reconciliation Day?
Yes, schools across Canada are typically closed on Truth and Reconciliation Day to observe and participate in events related to the day’s significance.
4. Do all employees get the day off work on Truth and Reconciliation Day?
No, the entitlement to the day off work varies depending on the sector and province/territory. Postal workers, federal government staffers, and bank employees are generally granted the day off, while in other sectors, the decision lies with employers.
5. How can individuals commemorate Truth and Reconciliation Day?
Individuals can commemorate Truth and Reconciliation Day by participating in local events, reflecting on their experiences, learning more about the history of residential schools, and honoring survivors, their families, and Indigenous communities.