It's Canada's National Day For Truth & Reconciliation On Friday & Here’s What You Should Know

Multiple provinces do not recognize September 30 as a statutory holiday.👇

Canada’s National Day For Truth & Reconciliation Is Coming & Here’s What You Need To Know
Senior Editor

On Friday, September 30, Canada will formally recognize its second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The statutory holiday, which was first honoured in 2021, is described by the feds as an opportunity to "recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools" in Canada. It is also a day to honour all of the First Nation, Métis and Inuit survivors of residential schools, as well as their communities.

The holiday — which coincides with Orange Shirt Day — follows a call to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, back in 2015. The commission called on the feds to create a day that would publicly commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada, as a key part of the reconciliation process.

For the first time in 2021, Canada declared September 30 as a federal holiday. Speaking last year, the prime minister described it as "an important moment for all Canadians to reflect on both the historic legacy of harm that residential schools have created but also the very current echoes in the present and in the future that those harms and those mistakes made by Canada in the past continue to deliver."

On the same day, Canadians are encouraged to wear orange to honour the thousands of survivors of residential schools. Wearing an orange shirt is considered to be a symbol showing "the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations."

All federal employees and workers in federally regulated workplaces will be given the day off and private companies and organizations are able to decide how they want to honour September 30.

While it is a federal holiday, some Canadian provinces have chosen not to recognize Orange Shirt Day as a provincial one.

This includes Quebec, Saskatchewan and Ontario, although individual employers in some regions have been encouraged to treat it as a provincial public holiday.

B.C. is calling it a day of "commemoration," rather than a provincial holiday, while Alberta is calling it an "optional general holiday."

On the other hand, P.E.I., the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have followed the federal government's lead and will recognize the holiday for many workers. Schools will be closed in most cases and many employees will have the day off work.

In Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador, government offices, schools and other entities will be closed on September 30, although businesses and other organizations may remain open. It is not a paid holiday, though.

New Brunswick did not recognize September 30 as a statutory holiday in 2021, but have decided to do so this year.

From 7:00 p.m. on Friday, buildings across Canada will be illuminated in orange until sunrise on October 1. This will include federal buildings like the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

A full list of events taking place all over the country to commemorate Orange Shirt Day can be found online.

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available across Canada 24/7. Those who may need support can call 1-866-925-4419.

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Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.