David M. Brown
In recent months, Canadians have become increasingly outraged as they have come to terms with what Indigenous populations and survivors of residential schools have always known. To recognize and commemorate the atrocities and the legacy of residential schools, the Government of Canada recently adopted September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
In recent years, September 30 has been known as Orange Shirt Day, and provides an opportunity for quiet reflection on Canada’s colonial history or a day or participation in community events. We feel that a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is noble and worthwhile, and we outline below some important questions about it.
When is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a statutory holiday for employees in the federal government and federally regulated workplaces in Canada on September 30th of each year.
Who is eligible for this National Day?
The new statutory holiday applies to all federally regulated public and private sectors covered by the Canada Labour Code. This includes the Canadian public service, the military, and private sector employers in specific industries, including:
· Air transportation;
· Crown corporations such as Canada Post and the Business Development Bank of Canada;
· Interprovincial and international trucking;
· Ports and shipping;
· Telecommunications, such as telephone, internet, and cable systems.
What about British Columbia?
The BC provincial government has said that it will commemorate the day and will be recognized by provincial public-sector employers. Many public services will remain open but may be operating at reduced levels. Most schools, post-secondary institutions, some health sector workplaces, and Crown corporations will be closed.
Private sector employers may voluntarily recognize the holiday, but are not currently required to. However, in future years provincial legislatures may follow suit by amending their employment standards legislation and formally recognizing September 30th as a provincial holiday.