This Friday marks Canada’s second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. While its significance will be felt deeply across the country, every province will be commemorating it differently.
The day will pay tribute to the lost children and survivors of Canada’s residential schools, with Indigenous-led events dedicated to mourning, reflection, and reconciliation.
Despite it being a federal statutory holiday, provinces and territories have made their own decisions about whether or not to give their public sector employees the day off.
Here’s a look at what to expect from coast to coast this Friday.
Similarly to last year, September 30th will be observed as a statutory day of remembrance in BC for those employees who are normally entitled to federal and provincial statutory days.
Most schools and post-secondary institutions, including UBC, will shut down. The province is now seeking input from employers and employees about whether or not to make September 30th a statutory holiday in 2023.
In Vancouver, you can attend a number of events dedicated to commemorating and reflecting on the meaning of the day.
The Alberta government has classified September 30th as an optional general holiday, meaning that employers can choose whether or not to designate it as a holiday for their employees.
City employees in Calgary in Edmonton will be given the day off and both cities will be hosting commemorative events dedicated to Indigenous reconciliation and education.
Some employers in Saskatchewan are offering a paid day off on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, but the province has not made it a statutory holiday, meaning that provincial employees who aren’t regulated by the federal government will still have to work.
Commemorative events will be held throughout the province, including a MIYO-WÎCÎWITOWIN DAY special event at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium.
Unlike Saskatchewan and Alberta, Manitoba plans to recognize September 30th as a stat holiday. However, plans have not been finalized yet, meaning that the stat holiday will not be recognized this year.
However, non-essential government offices will be closed and flags at all provincial government buildings will be lowered to half-mast.
The Manitoba government is supporting community events and programming that promote awareness of the history and legacy of residential schools, many of which are listed here.
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Ontario has not made September 30th a statutory holiday, but “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,” said the Ministry of Labour in a statement to Curiocity last year.
Federally-regulated workplaces including banks, mail delivery and government agencies will be closed in Ontario, and all LCBO locations will open at noon on September 30th.
Cities around the province, including Toronto, will have various events dedicated to learning, remembrance, and reconciliation. Landmarks like the Toronto sign and Niagara Falls will also be lit orange, and flags lowered to half-mast.
Quebec also will not be observing it as a statutory holiday, however, banks and federally-regulated workplaces will be closed.
An “Every Child Matters” march will begin on the afternoon of September 30th at Montreal’s Monument George-Etienne-Cartier. Participants are encouraged to wear orange shirts and bring their drums.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that the province will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, with all schools, government offices, and entities closed for the day.
St. John’s will also be observing the holiday, with municipal buildings and services closed and regular services suspended. The City will be posting community events and resources on its website ahead of September 30th.
Nova Scotia will recognize September 30th as a statutory holiday this year. Provincial government offices, public schools, regulated childcare and other non-essential public services will be closed.
However, businesses have the option to stay open and it will not be recognized as one of the paid holidays in Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Code.
The provincial government of New Brunswick has declared September 30th a provincial holiday in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Central government departments and agencies, as well as the anglophone and francophone school systems will be closed. Private sector businesses have the option to stay open. All essential services, including health care, will remain open.
Prince Edward Island
P.E.I. has chosen to honour the stat holiday this Friday, which means that government offices, non-essential services and schools will close for the day.
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The Government of Northwest Territories will mark September 30th as a holiday for the territory’s public service, who will get a paid day off to reflect on the legacy of residential schools and consider ways to advance reconciliation.
September 30th is now a designated statutory holiday in Nunavut, which means Nunavut public services employees and employees of territorially regulated businesses will get the day off.
“Observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, acknowledging the harm from residential schools, and ensuring there is a day to remember and reflect on this dark period of Canada and Nunavut’s history is consistent with Inuuqatigiitsiarniq and promotes reconciliation and healing,” says a statement from Nunavut’s Department of Justice.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be recognized as a federal statutory day, meaning that the Government of Yukon offices, schools and courts will be closed.
Earlier this year, Yukon conducted a public engagement on creating a new statutory day to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to assess the impact that a statutory day might have on the economy.