Ford won’t have Ontario mark Day of Reconciliation stat holiday; B.C., Manitoba, N.S. will

Ford won't have Ontario mark Day of Reconciliation stat holiday; B.C., Manitoba, N.S. will

Most jurisdictions left to make their own decisions over Sept. 30. Calgary, for example, will honour the day while its province won’t

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We’re just three days into the short week, having just marked Labour Day on Monday, and most people are already looking forward to the next long weekend, Thanksgiving, now just over four weeks away. Then there’s a break for some folks for Remembrance Day. And not long after, it will be time for the Christmas statutory holidays.


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But some lucky people will also get to sleep in on Sept. 30, recently designated National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, another stat holiday.

It is becoming clear that some people will get the break and not others. Why this is the case depends where you live and what your local government has decided. Here’s a cross-country look at the current status.

Yukon said it will be working with First Nations, businesses and communities on how to best mark the day with respect and compassion.

The Northwest Territories‘ public servants, including teachers, will observe the holiday.

Nunavut said the legislative assembly in 2018 discussed making the day a holiday, but to date has not passed legislation to do so.

British Columbia‘s public services will operate at reduced levels, but most schools, post-secondary institutions and some health-sector workplaces and Crown corporations will close.


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While provincial government flags will be lowered in Alberta, the UCP government has elected to leave it up to employers in provincially regulated industries to decide whether to give workers the day off — but Calgary will definitively mark the day with a statutory holiday.

“This National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is incredibly important to reflect on a relevant issue in our society,” city manager David Duckworth told the Calgary Herald. “It’s an opportunity for us to understand, grow and to build bridges with Indigenous people.”

Duckworth said the city will encourage staff to take the day to learn more about Canada’s assimilation policies, including residential schools, and the resulting intergenerational trauma caused to Indigenous people. That aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call for all levels of government to provide education to public servants on the history of Indigenous peoples.


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Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Labour Relations said changes would have to be made to the province’s employment act to make Sept. 30 a public holiday for workers in provincial workplaces; there are no plans to make those changes at this time.

Manitoba‘s Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Alan Lagimodiere says non-essential government services and offices will be closed, as will schools.

Cindy Woodhouse, the Assembly of First Nations regional chief for Manitoba, said there would be no excuse for a province not to follow the federal government’s move.

“We cannot have reconciliation without truth and we cannot have truth without accountability,” she told the Canadian Press.


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has decided to opt out.

Curtis Lindsay, press secretary for Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford, told the day will not be a holiday for the province.

“Ontario is working in collaboration with Indigenous partners, survivors and affected families to ensure the respectful commemoration of this day within the province, similar to Remembrance Day,” Lindsay said.

In an email to the broadcaster, he said “employers and employees may agree to treat this day as such, and some may be required to do so if it has been negotiated into collective agreements or employment contracts.”

Quebec Premier François 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.


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Some of the Atlantic provinces have said they will be observing the day at a provincial level.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the day will not be a statutory holiday in that province.

“Our government encourages everyone to use this day as an opportunity to consider what each of us can do as individuals to advance reconciliation and help to create a better more inclusive province,” Higgs said in a statement.

He urged all New Brunswickers to wear orange to honour Indigenous children who were taken from their families and to be reminded of their continuing strength and resilience.

Nova Scotia‘s provincial government offices, public schools and regulated child care will be closed, although businesses will have the choice to remain open.

Prince Edward Island has not yet changed its Employment Standards Act to adopt the Sept. 30 holiday.

Newfoundland and Labrador said it’s monitoring how the federal legislation will be brought in and will review discussions and actions in other jurisdictions.

— with additional reporting by The Canadian Press



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