Sept. 30 Won't Be A Stat Holiday For Everyone In Ontario But Some Will Still Get It Off

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a new holiday honouring the survivors of residential schools.

Toronto Associate Editor
Sept. 30 Won't Be A Stat Holiday For Everyone In Ontario But Some Will Still Get It Off

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation isn't going to be a statutory holiday on September 30 for Ontarians this year.

"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," Curtis Lindsay, the press secretary for Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford, told Narcity in an email.

The holiday was introduced in June to commemorate the legacy of the residential school system in Canada as part of the country's reconciliation process. This day is also meant to honour all of the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit survivors of these residential schools, as well as their communities.

"While the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is not a provincial public holiday this year, 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," Lindsay said.

Only federally regulated employees and businesses will get the day off, which are those governed by the Canada Labour Code. These include those who work in banks, Canada Post workers, railways, First Nations Band Councils, and more.

Union says Loblaw refused to recognize the holiday

Some businesses have refused to recognize September 30 as a statutory holiday.

One of Ontario's largest private sector local unions, UFCW Canada Local 1006A, reported that supermarket chain Loblaw has "repeatedly refused" to recognize the day. In a press release issued on September 9, the union said it was "shocked" by Loblaw's decision and how it'll affect the union's members.

UFCW Canada Local 1006A President Wayne Hanley said, "the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is important for Canadians because of its significance to our country's history and future, and Loblaw, as a national company, needs to do better."

"We urge Loblaw to honour the history and struggles of Indigenous people, honour our members and union contract and recognize this day as a statutory holiday for our members," he added. "Loblaw, who wants to be recognized as a leading national employer, is showing their lack of corporate social responsibility. This is shameful."

"As with any federally regulated holiday, such as Remembrance Day, provincially regulated businesses like ours are not expected to close," a Loblaw spokesperson told Narcity in an email.

"That said, the purpose of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is to recognize and reflect on the continued impacts of residential schools and honour Indigenous survivors, their families and communities, and we have taken a number of steps to support our colleagues to do this on September 30 and every day," they concluded, adding that more information about Loblaw's actions can be found on their website in a news release from July.

On top of calling on other retail businesses to recognize the holiday, the union is also looking to the Ontario government to make the day a provincial statutory holiday for truth and reconciliation.

Some provinces like Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Yukon, and Northwest Territories, are observing the holiday this year.

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.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor
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