Good morning — Welcome to Narcity's Canada Morning Brief.
In place of our usual newsletter, today we're marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Below you will find information on the historical significance of this day as well as notes on how different provinces are commemorating the occasion.
The content of today's newsletter may be upsetting to some readers.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a federal statutory holiday established to recognize and commemorate the multi-generational impact of residential schools in Canada.
Starting in the 1600s, the residential school system subjected First Nations, Métis and Inuit children to cultural assimilation designed to "destroy their rich cultures and identities and suppress their histories," according to Parks Canada. The schools were funded by the federal government and predominantly run by churches and religious organizations.
In addition to multitudinous first-hand accounts of physical and sexual abuse by the operators of these schools, mass unmarked graves containing the remains of children have been discovered at numerous former residential school sites across Canada.
Canada's last operational residential school closed in 1997.
Prior to officially being recognized as a federal holiday starting in 2021, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was and continues to be known colloquially as Orange Shirt Day. Canadians are encouraged to wear the colour, which symbolizes the forced assimilation of the country's Indigenous peoples.
For more on the history and context behind the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, here's Narcity's Helena Hanson.
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What's Open & Closed Across Canada
Federal public service workers and employees in federally regulated industries (think: banks, airlines and telecom firms) are entitled to receive a paid holiday for National Truth and Reconciliation Day, Tristan Wheeler writes. Banks across the country are closed. Here are the other workers who get the day off.
Ontario does not currently recognize September 30 as a provincial holiday, meaning provincial services like schools will remain open. Many businesses from grocery stores to movie theatres will remain open, too, as will transit services. The LCBO will open at noon but the hours at the Beer Store are unchanged. Lest you have any doubts, Brooke Houghton takes us through all the openings (and minimal closures) in Ontario.
Last year, Premier François Legault declared that Quebec needed "more productivity" — hence, there would be no provincial holiday in conjunction with the September 30 federal holiday. It's little surprise then, as Mike Chaar writes, that la belle province will more or less be fully operational today. Here's the rundown for Quebec.
🔸 BRITISH COLUMBIA
B.C. will mark September 30 as a "commemoration." As with everywhere in Canada, federal workers and those in federally regulated industries are entitled to a statutory holiday. However, provincial public sector employers in B.C. — including K-12 public schools — are also entitled to have the day off. While B.C. will maintain the same framework for the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation as 2021, the province is deliberating over potentially making September 30 a province-wide statutory holiday starting in 2023.
Today is designated an "optional general holiday" in Alberta, on equal standing with Easter Monday, Heritage Day and Boxing Day; employers dictate whether their employees are entitled to holiday pay. For a breakdown on what's open and closed in Alberta today, here's Charlie Hart.
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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We will return to our regular programming on Monday. Have a good weekend and we will see you back here in October.