BC to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day at stat holiday
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be enshrined in B.C. law to honour the strength and resilience of residential school survivors and remember the children who never came home.
This new provincial statutory day of commemoration responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action No. 80, which called on the federal government to establish a holiday to honour survivors, their families and communities.
If passed, British Columbia will join Canada, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon as jurisdictions that have designated Sept. 30 as a statutory holiday.
“One day there will be no survivors left in Canada. What is forgotten is often repeated,” said Phyllis Webstad, Orange Shirt Day Society.
“With the federal government passing legislation to make Orange Shirt Day, September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and now the B.C. provincial government announcing this legislation today, it will help to ensure that what happened to us will never happen again and will never be forgotten.”
If passed, more British Columbians will be able to get involved in advancing reconciliation by participating in local commemoration or education events, having important conversations with their families, their friends and their communities, and finding meaningful ways to learn more about shared history.
“Many British Columbians have been marking Orange Shirt Day with humility, respect and reflection in their own ways for years,” said Premier David Eby. “Today, we are taking the important step to enshrine this day in law to acknowledge the wrongdoings of the past, and to take meaningful action toward reconciliation.”
Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, said:
“This is an important step in our commitment to lasting reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in B.C. Having a provincial statutory holiday means more workers across the province will now be able to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, joining those in the public sector and in federally regulated jobs who already had this opportunity.”
The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation sought feedback from Indigenous Peoples on how best to observe this day in B.C. The Ministry of Labour also consulted with employers and workers.
“UBCIC welcomes and heartily applauds this critically meaningful step by the Province of B.C. to join the federal government in observing September 30th as a provincial statutory holiday for Truth and Reconciliation,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president, Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBIC).
“UBCIC stands with the survivors, intergenerational survivors, and B.C. First Nations who have advocated for the adoption of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action No. 80 in B.C.
“For this day to truly be meaningful, it requires healing and capacity for change; we still need to see broader acknowledgment of the harms of the residential school system along with significant investments into public and private education, former residential school site investigations, and into commemoration, remembrance events and memorials led by First Nations to bring healing to our people and change for our future generations.”
Angela White, executive director, Indian Residential School Survivor Society thanks the province for its continued efforts toward truth and reconciliation.
“This day provides a collective commitment for all British Columbians to learn through truth telling, and in many cases, for people to re-learn and reflect on the history of First Nations people. Every healing journey is sacred, and the healing will continue for First Nations people,” White said.
“Let’s go beyond the 94 calls to action and be inclusive to Indigenous people beyond September 30.”
For more information about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/indigenous-people/national-day-for-truth-and-reconciliation
Read the federal government’s initiative here: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/national-day-truth-reconciliation.html
Learn more about obligations for employers: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards/statutory-holidays/qualify-for-statutory-holiday-pay