Call to Action # 80: Actions and Commitments

Provinces/Territories Opposed to the National Day

September 30, 2022


B.C. First Nations concerned that Sept. 30 isn’t a provincial statutory holiday

Global News: British Columbia’s First Nations say they’re deeply concerned that B.C. hasn’t made Sept. 30 a statutory provincial holiday. On Friday, the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) issued a statement regarding National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

Specifically, it said that B.C. “has so far failed to designate September 30th a statutory holiday marking the profound horrors of residential schools, and the enduring needs for healing and honour of survivors, commemoration and widespread public education.”

However, in B.C., Sept. 30 is mixed, with some people getting the day off while others don’t.

The government says public-sector employers should follow the same process as last year, though ultimately, “it will be at the discretion of other workplaces how to recognize the day. Some collective agreements, including provincially regulated employees, may already recognize the federal holiday as a paid day.”

The province also says it’s engaging various groups on how Sept. 30 should be observed each year in B.C., adding the earliest it could be named a holiday would be 2023.

Potentially marking it a holiday one year from now isn’t good enough, says the FNLC. “B.C.’s immediate response to the passing of the Queen was a prompt provincial memorial holiday, despite her being the head of the colonial institution that spearheaded and perpetuated the continued oppression, subjugation, forced assimilation and genocide of Indigenous people in these lands,” said Stewart Philip, Grand Chief of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

“The fact that B.C. has not afforded Indigenous people the same dignity and time for reflection and healing on September 30th is unconscionable.

“One day a year for truth and reconciliation is a bare minimum for the thousands of lives that were lost or have been impacted by residential and day schools, and the continued delay and denial for survivors’ healing demonstrates the lasting inequity and blatant racism in this province.” “The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an important opportunity for all Canadians to remember and recognize this horrific time in our history,” added Cheryl Casimer of the First Nations Summit.

“The B.C. government should elevate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation from observance to a statutory holiday as an important commitment to continuing to walk down a path toward reconciliation.”

B.C. Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee said it’s been nearly three years since the province adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a shared framework for reconciliation. “However, the province’s continued failure to designate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday is a grave impediment to this progress,” said Teegee.

“September 30th is a day to honour residential school survivors, their families, and their communities. As First Nations, we have been grieving and processing the history and ongoing legacy of Canada’s horrific residential school system for many generations. “One day out of the year dedicated to honouring survivors and sitting with their stories is not too much to ask. If the province of British Columbia is genuinely committed to reconciliation, they must prioritize public commemoration of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a vital part of our society’s reconciliation process.”

On Friday, at noon, B.C.’s Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation issued a statement, saying it’s focused on working with Indigenous leadership and communities regarding National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.“We have heard clearly and consistently that September 30th is a day to honour the resilience, strength and dignity of residential school survivors and intergenerational survivors, and to remember the children that never came home,” said the ministry. “This year, we are marking the day the same way we did last year.

“We are engaging with Indigenous leadership and Indigenous communities on what this day will look like in future years. Additionally, a public engagement survey just closed that sought feedback from workers and employers on how they would like to see the day marked.”

September 30, 2022


Calls for the Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be a provincial holiday in Sask.

Global News: “The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for all of us to reflect upon the tragedy of the residential school system, to honour the victims and survivors of residential schools, and recognize the trauma it continues to inflict upon families and communities, as well as to commit to true and meaningful reconciliation,” said Lori Johb, SFL president.

“We encourage all workers and community members to sign onto our petitionand call on the government to honour the TRC and make September 30 a provincial statutory holiday.”

The day is already recognized as a statutory holiday for all federally regulated employees.

READ MORE: Why some Indigenous leaders are concerned about reconciliation with King Charles

SFL said the Saskatchewan Party government had said it has no plans to legislate Sept. 30 as a provincial statutory holiday for all workers, but added many provinces and provincial organizations recognize the holiday.

“The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an important day for workers to be able to take the opportunity to learn, quietly reflect, or participate in reconciliation events in their communities,” Johb said.

“The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is committed to reconciliation and justice for Indigenous peoples. The provincial government must recognize the role they play in reconciliation and the importance of this day, and legislate September 30 as a provincial holiday.”

September 15, 2022


Manitoba Government Acknowledges Sept. 30 as Day for Truth and Reconciliation

NationTalk: For a second year, the Manitoba government will recognize Sept. 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Labour, Consumer Protection and Government Services Minister Reg Helwer said today.

“Like last year, Manitoba’s public servants will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, and non-essential government services and offices will be closed,” said Helwer. “The Manitoba government is committed to advancing truth and reconciliation. The day is a time for truth-telling and learning in order to lead us into action to build a more inclusive and brighter future for all.”

Schools in Manitoba will be closed on Sept. 30. Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning encourages all licensed early learning and child-care facilities to remain open on Sept. 30 as essential services supporting Manitoba families. Centres that decide to close are to notify families directly.

Helwer added that legislation officially making the day a statutory holiday in Manitoba has not yet been introduced as consultations with Indigenous leadership, residential school survivors and other stakeholders continue.

The government has held consultations with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the chief and council of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, the Manitoba Inuit Association, the Manitoba Métis Federation and the Treaty Commission of Manitoba, as well as others during March, May and June of this year. Additional fall meetings are scheduled.

A further broad-based engagement with residential school survivors took place in March at the Survivors Legacy Conference organized by the Wa-Say Healing Centre and was attended by approximately 600 survivors.

In March, Manitoba Labour, Consumer Protection and Government Services requested the province’s Labour Management Review Committee discuss considerations for the recognition of Sept. 30 as a statutory holiday in Manitoba. The committee submitted a joint recommendation that month after consulting Murray Sinclair, former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Since 2013, Sept. 30 has also been recognized in Canada as Orange Shirt Day. This began as a grassroots, Indigenous-led initiative to acknowledge the journeys of residential school survivors and their families, to remember those who did not survive and to recognize that every child matters.

Indigenous-led events are taking place throughout the province during the month of September to provide Indigenous and non-Indigenous Manitobans with an important opportunity to advance reconciliation, to listen and to learn about Indigenous stories and experiences, noted Helwer.

Sept. 30 will also see flags at all provincial government buildings lowered to half-mast in observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

– 30 –

For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications and Engagement:
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-451-7109.

September 29, 2022


Province says not today to Orange Shirt Day stat bill

The Free Press: The Manitoba government has voted against a private member’s bill declaring Sept. 30 a provincial statutory holiday, saying it needs more time and consultation to get it right.

“There certainly is disagreement among everyone we’re consulting with about what the details should be,” Labour Minister Reg Helwer told reporters after question period Thursday. “We’re trying to find the common ground (and) to present that to Manitobans.”

In 2021, Ottawa proclaimed Sept. 30 the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (also known as Orange Shirt Day, to recognize the impact of the residential school system) and made it a statutory holiday for federal workers.

MIKE DEAL / FREE PRESS FILES“There certainly is disagreement among everyone we’re consulting with about what the details should be,” Labour Minister Reg Helwer told reporters after question period Thursday.

After they dismissed the bill introduced by New Democrat MLA Ian Bushie (Keewatinook) seeking to do the same for Manitoba, the Progressive Conservative majority, including Premier Heather Stefanson, were chided Thursday for joining MLAs who supported the Orange Shirt Day bill in wearing orange shirts.

“I wonder why the premier wears an orange shirt?” NDP Leader Wab Kinew told the house. “Specifically why, when she voted against making Orange Shirt Day a provincial statutory holiday, earlier today? Presumably, the premier has some desire to honour residential school survivors.”

Kinew said the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called years ago for the acknowledgment of a day to honour residential school survivors and reflect on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

The consensus among Indigenous, business and labour leaders and most Manitobans is Sept. 30 should be recognized as a provincial stat, the NDP leader added. “To ignore that consensus seems to be an echo of that attitude where ‘government knows best.’”

Helwer told reporters after question period the government is consulting with Indigenous leaders and others about what they want the potential stat holiday to look like — in terms of what should be opened or closed and if hours should be limited — and there hasn’t been a consensus.

“When I started to look at drafting legislation for this last year, questions were coming to me about how that day would look without consultations,” the labour minister said. “It is not appropriate that I am going to answer that question without consultation,” Helwer said. “Then we are just perpetuating the colonialism that this day addresses.”

Helwer described some of the differing views as coming from a “wide variety of industry.”

Some employers gave their staff Sept. 30 off last year to recognize National Truth and Reconciliation Day; not everyone embraced it, he said. “If they were doing work on a First Nation, the call was from the First Nation chief saying, ‘Why aren’t your staff working here?’” Helwer said as an example.

“If this bill passed today, it would mean all those consultations were not necessary and it would be very difficult to have future consultations if I didn’t take those into account in legislation.”

MIKE DEAL / FREE PRESS FILESThe consensus among Indigenous, business and labour leaders and most Manitobans is Sept. 30 should be recognized as a provincial stat, Wab Kinew said.

One northern First Nations leader, who said his organization was consulted by the province about making Orange Shirt Day a stat holiday just once — in March — put the government on notice. “The premier and ministers with whom I have worked have made it clear they wish to commit to a journey of reconciliation,” Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Garrison Settee said in a late Thursday news release.

“We will be watching to see whether their words match with their actions.”

During members statements in the house, the premier said her government is committed to reconciliation.

The government proclaimed this Truth and Reconciliation Week, to recognize the harmful legacy of residential and day schools and their traumatic impact on Indigenous people, Stefanson said. Memorial Park fountains are lit up in orange, flags are flown at half mast and she’s to attend a healing ceremony and survivors’ walk Friday.

“I hope every Manitoban takes time tomorrow and this week to learn about residential schools and the impact they had on Indigenous people,” the premier said.

September 9, 2021

Provincial opposition to Bill C-5 “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation” as a statutory holiday

Those provinces who will not recognize Sept 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as a statutory holiday:

Party in PowerDateComment
BC270,585NDPAug. 3Our government is calling on all of us who deliver services to the public to use this opportunity to consider what each of us can do as individuals to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and to recommit to understanding the truth of our shared history, to accept and learn from it and in doing so, help to create a better, more inclusive British Columbia.”
Alberta258,640ConservativeAlberta told CTV Edmonton it won’t legislate the holiday, but that provincial government flags will be lowered.
Saskatchewan175,015ConservativeOct. 3, 2018There are no plans to make changes to the province’s employment act to make Sept. 30 a public holiday for workers in provincial workplaces
Manitoba223,310ConservativeSept, 30, 2021“We can all listen, learn and support the healing needed to address the intergenerational trauma caused by the residential school system. ”Indigenous Reconciliation Minister Alan Lagimodiere
Ontario374,395ConservativeSept 8, 2021Ontario Public Service employees will be observing a day of commemoration, similar to Remembrance Day and Easter Monday,” said spokesperson Curtis Lindsay (Toronto Star)
Québec182,890ConservativeQuebec Premier Francois Legault said in June there were no plans to add a statutory holiday. That position hasn’t changed, said Mathieu Durocher, spokesman for Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafreniere.
New Brunswick29,380ConservativeIndicated they would not be observing the holiday at a provincial level
Nfld. & Labrador45,725LiberalSept. 9Indicated they would not be observing the holiday at a provincial level
1,559,94093.2% of the Indigenous population in Canada

Yukon said in a news release that it will be working with First Nations, businesses and communities over the next few months on how to best mark the day with respect and compassion.

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