In June 2021, the Government of Canada passed legislation to mark September 30, 2021 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day provides an opportunity for each individual to recognize and remember the legacy of residential schools. This may present itself as a day of quiet reflection or participation in a community event.
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. This day is intended to educate and remind Canadians about the history of residential schools and honour the victims.
Background of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is set aside to “recognize and remember the legacy of residential schools.” It was first suggested in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which, under Action 80, called on the federal government to establish an official holiday “to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process”, in conjunction with Aboriginal peoples.
In June 2021, a bill creating a statutory holiday to commemorate the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada received royal assent after passing unanimously in the Senate.
The goal, according to Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, is to give Canadians the opportunity to learn about and reflect on a dark chapter in their country’s history, as well as to commemorate the survivors, their families, and their communities, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Indigenous leaders have demanded.
Over the course of more than a century, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were separated from their families and forced to attend church-run residential schools, where many were subjected to physical and sexual abuse, hunger, and neglect. More than 4,000 people are said to have died.
September 30 and the Orange Shirt Day
Since 2013, September 30 has been recognized as Orange Shirt Day, a movement to acknowledge the colonial history of residential schools and commit to the ongoing reconciliation process. Phyllis Webstad, a residential school victim, was deprived of her sparkling new orange clothing on her first day at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School (near Williams Lake, B.C.) when she was six years old. The date of September 30 was chosen because it was the time of year when Indigenous children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in British Columbia
This will be a day of commemoration, according to the provincial government of British Columbia. They have recommended provincial public-sector employers to observe this day in honour of the vast majority of collective bargaining agreements’ commitments. Many government services will remain available, but at reduced capacity. The majority of schools, post-secondary institutions, and some health sector workplaces, on the other hand, will be closed.
For CCC students, staffs, and instructors, if you have any question regarding the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, feel free to contact us.