In a recent town council meeting, the Village of Burns Lake approved a motion to recognize Sept. 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. According to District of Houston (DOH) Director of Corporate Services Holly Brown, the DOH will also be recognizing the day in alignment with the terms in their collective agreement.
The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) has also recognized the holiday, and all RDBN employees will receive an paid day off.
Legislation was passed by the federal government in June to create the statutory holiday, and on Aug. 3 the B.C. provincial government announced that they intend to honour the day as well in alignment with the federal government.
Though this is a national statutory holiday, the provincial government has not officially made it a statutory holiday for B.C. public sector workers, despite their recognition of the holiday. This means that federal employees will receive an off day with pay, however the regular statutory rules don’t apply to public service workers.
Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance released a statement on the B.C. government website regarding the province’s decision to recognize the holiday.
“The national holiday will be observed this Sept. 30 by federal employees and workers in federally regulated workplaces. We have advised provincial public-sector employers to honour this day and in recognition of the obligations in the vast majority of collective agreements. Many public services will remain open but may be operating at reduced levels. However, most schools, post-secondary institutions, some health sector workplaces, and Crown corporations will be closed,” they said in the statement.
The statement also outlined the importance of B.C. recognizing the holiday with regards to the Indigenous community.
“We share the grief, the pain and the outrage and understand that we have a painful but necessary road ahead of us to walk together, to right wrongs and to support Indigenous communities who are carrying this ongoing burden with strength, resilience and leadership. The need has never been greater to listen and to learn about B.C.’s colonial history and to seek truth, justice and reconciliation. As government, we have an important role in this process, and we know that non-Indigenous British Columbians throughout the province want to play an active part in this critical work.”
In recent years, Sept. 30 has been known as Orange Shirt Day; a day where the children who suffered in residential schools are honoured. It was not considered a statutory holiday, though some schools and workplaces did close for it.
Have a story tip? Email: