Press Release | Honouring the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
(TRI-CITIES) September 21, 2021 — Thursday, September 30th, marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In observance of this day, the Tri-Cities Chamber office will be closed as we reflect upon the history and trauma of residential schools in Canada and honour those who were lost and the survivors, families and communities who continue to grieve.
This day was designated by the federal government as a new statutory holiday, in response to one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, and ensures the ongoing recognition of the history and legacy of residential schools as a vital part of the healing and reconciliation process.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for Businesses
As a federal statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation only impacts crown corporations, federal public sector workers, and businesses that are federally regulated or subject to the Canada Labour Code.
The BC Employment Standards Act, which the vast majority of provincially regulated BC businesses are subject to, has not been amended to include September 30 as a statutory holiday this year. As a result, recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be at the discretion of individual private BC employers.
Moving forward, the Provincial Government has announced that it will consult and engage with business and labour stakeholders for their perspectives on how the national day is commemorated in future years.
However, many provincial public sector workers, schools, and post-secondary institutions, along with some health sector workplaces, will be closed or operating at reduced capacity. In addition, many unionized workplaces may observe the holiday as well, depending on whether their collective agreement makes provisions for all federal holidays.
Orange Shirt Day
Also taking place on September 30, Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led commemorative day that opens the door to a global conversation on all aspects of residential schools.
This day relates to the experience of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of the culture, freedom, and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.
On September 30, in recognition of the harm of the residential school system, we encourage you to wear orange to raise awareness of the tragic legacy of residential schools and to honour the thousands of survivors.
You can help support the Orange Shirt Society in raising awareness across Canada about residential schools and their continuing impact by making a direct donation or purchasing an orange shirt from an official retailer.
This National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, explore the diverse and rich cultures, experiences, histories, and stories of Indigenous peoples and communities through:
- Resources from the Government of Canada:
- Resources from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the Univerisity of Manitoba:
- Free online courses from various Canadian post-secondary institutions:
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