Manitoba recognizing Orange Shirt Day as talks continue about creating stat holiday

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WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is planning to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for a second year while discussions continue about making it an official statutory holiday.

The province says in a new release that non-essential government services and offices are to close on Sept. 30, also known as Orange Shirt Day.

Schools in the province will also be closed for the day.

The government is encouraging all licensed early learning and childcare facilities to remain open as essential services supporting families.

Labour Minister Reg Helwer says legislation to make the day an official statutory holiday in the province has not yet been introduced as consultations with Indigenous leadership, residential school survivors and other stakeholders continue.

The federal government made the day a statutory holiday for its workers and federally regulated workplaces last year.

The province says it has held consultations with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the chief and council of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, the Manitoba Inuit Association, the Manitoba Métis Federation and the Treaty Commission of Manitoba.

"The Manitoba government is committed to advancing truth and reconciliation. The day is a time for truth-telling and learning in order to lead us into action to build a more inclusive and brighter future for all," Helwer said in a release Thursday.

An engagement session was held in the spring with residential school survivors.

The province's Labour Management Review Committee was tasked with providing recommendations for the recognition of Sept. 30 as a statutory holiday, the release said.

Orange Shirt Day was established in honour of Phyllis Webstad, whose gift of clothing from her grandmother was taken away on her first day at a residential school.

The province says flags on all provincial government buildings will be lowered to half-mast that day.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2022.

The Canadian Press