How employers can support and facilitate learning about the inter-generational impacts of residential schools
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.
September 30th (which, historically, has and continues to be known as Orange Shirt Day) is a statutory holiday for federally regulated employers within Canada, including Indigenous administrations, banks, public schools, universities, government, etc. At the provincial level, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon formally recognize the day as a statutory holiday for all employees. At this point, no other provinces have declared the day as a statutory holiday; however, the choice is up to individual employers to recognize it and many unions have worked/are working in consultation to have the day observed.
As September 30th falls on a Saturday this year, most ‘Monday to Friday’ workplaces will recognize the statutory holiday on Monday, October 2nd.
Whether or not your organization is closing for Truth & Reconciliation Day, there are several ways that you can both acknowledge it (on September 30th and beyond) and encourage your employees to do so. These include:
- Beginning the day with an 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 conversation 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, 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
- Donating to 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
- 12-series free online courses 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
Based in BC and with consultants in/operating across Canada, the Jouta office will be closed on Monday, October 2nd in recognition and honour of 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.