How employers can support and facilitate the learning and commemoration of the residential schools legacy
National Day for Truth & Reconciliation takes place annually on September 30th. The day was established in 2021 to provide an opportunity to learn about, recognize, and commemorate the legacy of residential schools in Canada.
Truth & Reconciliation Day
September 30th (which historically has and continues to be known as Orange Shirt Day) is a statutory holiday for federally regulated employers, including Indigenous administrations, banks, public schools, universities, government, etc.
At this time, only Nova Scotia, the Northwest Territories, and Prince Edward Island are formally recognizing the day as a statutory holiday for all provincially regulated employees and in Manitoba, government/public-sector employers are recognizing it.
While the day is not currently a statutory holiday in BC or other provinces, some private/non-profit organizations are choosing to recognize it as one, and many unions are working in consultation to have the day observed.
Additionally, In an effort to decolonize statutory holidays, some organizations are also allowing employees to exchange other statutory holidays for Truth & Reconciliation Day.
How to acknowledge Truth & Reconciliation Day
All in all, whether or not your organization is closing for September 30th, there are several ways that you can both acknowledge this day and encourage your employees to do so. These include:
- Beginning the day with a brief all-team meeting to honour and hold space for those who have been and continue to be impacted by the residential school system
- Hosting and actively promoting open and honest conversations with your teams
- Reflecting on/committing to addressing racial injustice, equity, and inclusion within your workplace
- Reviewing and rethinking your hiring processes at a systemic level (refer to our 2020 September post), including understanding/breaking down barriers that Indigenous people face at work
- Learning about and educating your teams on ways to acknowledge, honour, and celebrate Indigenous culture, diversity, strength, and resiliency
- Wearing orange – encouraging and/or providing orange shirts for your team
- Taking part in and/or promoting community events occurring on September 30th, including the intergenerational march and other events hosted by UBC
- Donating and supporting the Legacy of Hope Foundation or the Indian Residential School Survivors Society
- Supporting education about Indigenous history and providing/allowing time for your teams to do so while at work; some options include:
- Mobile app focused on learning about reconciliation
- Read the overview of the history of residential schools and/or watch a video
- 12-series free online course related to Indigenous history and the truth and reconciliation commission
- Reconciliation through Indigenous education (online, free) focused on advancing reconciliation through the teaching and learning of Indigenous ways of knowing
Above all, as a team and individually, the Jouta team will recognize and honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
We encourage you and your teams to acknowledge the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation in a way that aligns with your organizational values and culture.