British Columbia has introduced legislation to make the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a statutory holiday.
If the legislation passes, B.C. would become the sixth province or territory to designate Sept. 30 as a holiday. Here is a list of how provinces, territories and Canada mark the day.
The federal government in 2021 designated Sept. 30 a national statutory holiday, with paid leave for all its workers.
It says the day is an opportunity for public workers and all Canadians to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools, suggesting “a day of quiet reflection or participation in a community event.”
The province has left it up to employers to implement Sept. 30 as an optional holiday. A spokesman with Indigenous Relations, Ted Bauer, says the province has chosen to commemorate the day through education and action, as work is being done to create a residential school monument and garden.
Legislation has been introduced to make Sept. 30 a paid statutory holiday starting this year. Labour Minister Harry Bains said the move follows the federal government’s decision, while Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, the president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said the recognition is welcome.
National reconciliation day to become September statutory holiday in B.C.
The Manitoba government said in September that discussions continue about making Sept. 30 a statutory holiday. Schools and non-essential government services are closed for the day.
Sept. 30 was declared a provincial holiday last year. Premier Blaine Higgs urged New Brunswick residents “to pause and reflect upon what we can do as individuals to advance reconciliation.” The holiday is optional for private sector businesses.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The government said last year that consultations continued with Indigenous governments and organizations and the business and labour sector about making the day a public holiday under the Labour Standards Act. Provincial government offices, schools and other entities close for the day, while the province encourages businesses and other organizations to commemorate the day.
The government of the Northwest Territories added Sept. 30 to the list of statutory holidays last year, in what the Education Ministry said was “a significant step toward reconciliation.”
Provincial government offices, public schools, regulated child-care and other non-essential public services are closed on Sept. 30. Businesses have the choice to remain open. The day is not a general paid holiday.
The territory announced last year that changes had been made to the Labour Standards Act, Legislation Act and Public Service Act to make the day a statutory holiday, which applies to public service employees and those with territorially regulated businesses.
Sept. 30 is not a statutory holiday in Ontario. Schools remain open and operate as usual. Erika Robson, a spokesperson for Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford, said in September the day was for schools, workplaces and communities to honour those affected by the legacy of residential school policies, similar to how Remembrance Day is observed across the province.
Sept. 2022: Most provinces have not made Sept. 30 a stat
Prince Edward Island
P.E.I. announced in 2021 it would recognize the day as one of eight paid holidays in the province under the Employment Standards Act. Provincial government offices and schools are closed.
The day is not a statutory holiday in Quebec. In 2021, the government said it had no plans to make it one.
The province said last year it was not considering additional statutory holidays at this time. Matthew Glover, director of media relations with the government, said Sept. 30 would continue to be an important day for reflection, recognition and an opportunity for all citizens to learn more about the legacy of residential schools.
A bill declaring National Truth and Reconciliation Day as a statutory holiday in Yukon was unanimously approved by the territory’s legislature in November. Bill sponsor Annie Blake said the holiday was to ensure everyone in the territory can reflect on the “shared history of colonialism and commemorate the legacy of residential schools.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2023.