Latest update: British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon recently joined Canada’s federal government in observing September 30 as a statutory holiday to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The Canadian government approved Bill C-5 introducing a new federal holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to commemorate the victims and survivors of the indigenous residential schools. The new federal holiday is observed on 30 September each year, with the first being 30 September 2021.
Bill C-5 received royal assent on 3 June 2021 and entered into effect on 3 August 2021.
The legislation was introduced as a response to the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRCC) which:
- denounced the injustices and abuse perpetrated on First Nations, Inuit and the Métis (aboriginal) Nation children in residential schools in the 1800s and the 1900s and,
- urged the federal government to commemorate their history and legacy.
The bill was fast tracked after the remains of 215 children buried in unmarked graves were found on the site of a former residential school in British Colombia. The bill states that its goal is to “honor First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors and their families as well as their communities, and to ensure that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
Bill C-5amends Canada Labour Code to create a new federal holiday that applies to employees working in the federal government and in federally regulated workplaces which include, among others, banks, air transportation, railways, and telecommunications.
When the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation falls on a Sunday or a Saturday that is a non-working day, the employee is entitled to a holiday with pay on the working day immediately preceding or following the holiday.
Bill C-5 – An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code