The City of Trail is hosting an all-ages event in Jubilee Park on Sept. 30 to acknowledge National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, now in its second year.
Friday, Sept. 30 is meant to honour the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the public is invited to join an action walk, and to reflect, learn, and engage with others.
The city encourages everyone to wear orange to the Friday event to show their support.
September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots campaign founded by Phyllis Webstad. Orange Shirt Day grew out of her own experiences and the experiences of other residential school survivors who attended St. Joseph’s Mission near Williams Lake. It’s a day to honour the healing journeys of residential school survivors and their families and a time to engage in meaningful discussions about the history and legacy of the residential school system.
Orange Shirt Day has become an important opportunity to open up dialogue on anti-racism and anti-bullying. This day is meant to also encourage deeper reflection, learning and public dialogue on the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
In June 2021, the Government of Canada passed Bill C-5 to name September 30 as a federal statutory day. It is observed as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This directly responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #80. Action #80 calls upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, “to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour survivors, their families and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
Currently, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a federal statutory holiday. It only applies to federally regulated workplaces, which includes organizations such as banks, airlines and the post office.
Update on B.C. consultations
In spring 2022, government consulted with B.C. residential school survivors, Indigenous partners and communities. These groups communicated that the creation of a new provincial statutory holiday is a way for British Columbians to participate in events on the day, publicly acknowledge the history of the residential school system, and commit to deepening their own understanding of how these institutions continue to impact Indigenous communities.
Government is now expanding this engagement by seeking input from B.C. employers and employees. This includes whether to establish September 30 as a statutory holiday under the Employment Standards Act, starting in 2023, so that employees have time to personally commemorate and reflect on the meaning of the day.
For 2022, the province has advised public sector employers, including K to 12 public schools, that the same process should be followed as last year. September 30 should again be observed as a statutory day of remembrance for those employees who are normally entitled to federal and provincial statutory days. This supports these employers to plan ahead, manage their workplaces and ensure service delivery is maintained where required. As with other statutory days, essential services that people depend on will continue to operate such as health and social services.
It will be at the discretion of other workplaces how to recognize the day. Some collective agreements, including provincially regulated employees, may already recognize the federal holiday as a paid day. Private sector employers with provisions on statutory days may also want to observe the day as they did last year, while consultations continue on the best way to observe the day moving forward.