There’s a new holiday to make note of in your calendar as of this year. The Government of Canada has passed legislation to make September 30th a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day invites Canadians to recognize, commemorate and reflect upon the tragic history and legacy of residential schools, as part of the country’s efforts towards reconciliation.
“This may present itself as a day of quiet reflection or participation in a community event,” the government said in a statement. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a designated paid holiday, meaning that federal employees will be given the day off work to observe the important day.
Canada’s federal workplaces include banks, airports, Crown corporations like Canada Post, and more — you can see a full list here. “Employees do not have to take any action to request this leave (no system entry) – it is to be treated in the same manner as all other statutory holidays,” says the statement.
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Curiocity reached out to the Ministry of Labour about what the September 30 holiday means for Ontario residents. A spokesperson for the Ministry said that while this is not a provincial public holiday, like Labour Day, for example, some employers may agree or be required to treat it as one.
“The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is not a provincial public holiday. However, employers and employees may agree to treat this day as a public holiday, and some may be required to do so if it has been negotiated into collective agreements or employment contracts,” they said.
On September 8th, the provincial government confirmed to CTV News that the “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is not a provincial public holiday this year,” however the province will work with Indigenous partners, survivors and affected families to ensure that the day is commemorated respectfully.
Provinces can also mark it as a day of commemoration. British Columbia Minister of Finance and Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation released a statement earlier this month asking provincial public employers to honour the holiday, also stating that public services will remain open, but will operate at reduced levels — one university has even cancelled all of its classes.