National reconciliation day to become September statutory holiday in B.C.

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has introduced legislation to make Sept. 30 a paid statutory holiday marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Labour Minister Harry Bains introduced a bill in the legislature today, saying the holiday will be observed this September and every Sept. 30 afterwards.

He says the B.C. holiday follows the federal government's decision in 2021 to declare Sept. 30 a national truth and reconciliation holiday for its workers.

Bains told the legislature the government's decision on the holiday is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action No. 80, which requested the federal government establish a holiday to honour residential school survivors, their families and communities.

B.C. will join Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon and Canada as jurisdictions that have already designated Sept. 30 as a statutory holiday, if the legislation passes.

Bains says the B.C. law honours the strength and resilience of residential school survivors and remembers the children who never came home.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2023.

The Canadian Press