The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will not be a provincial statutory holiday in Ontario, Doug Ford’s government confirmed.
In June, the House of Commons unanimously supported the legislation, giving all federal employees and workers the Sept. 30 statutory holiday in federally regulated workplaces.
The day is meant to serve as a day of reflection so people can recognize the harmful legacy of the residential school system in Canada. The decision responds to the 80th call to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.
However, in a statement from the office of Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford, 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.
“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,” the statement says.
This means that only federally regulated businesses and organizations are required to give employees the day off. The decision not to mark Sept. 30 as a statutory holiday means that schools in Ontario will remain open.
Despite Ontario not making Sept. 30 a statutory holiday, some provinces and territories, including British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and the Northwest Territories, are observing the federal holiday.
Ontario currently recognizes nine public holidays, which include New Year’s Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News