The National Day for Truth & Reconciliation will take place on September 30th (the day that has and continues to be known as Orange Shirt Day). The day was established to provide an opportunity to learn about, recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential “schools” in Canada.
Currently, September 30th is a statutory holiday for federally regulated employers, including Indigenous administrations, banks, public schools, universities, government, etc. While at this time, it is not a statutory holiday for provincially regulated employers (i.e., most private and not-for-profit organizations), BC public-sector employers have been advised to honour the day, and many private/non-profit organizations are choosing to follow suit. Further, the province of BC has indicated that it will work with Indigenous leaders, organizations, and communities regarding how to best commemorate the day now and in the future.
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-staff meeting (virtual or otherwise) 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 and 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)
- 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
- Supporting education about Indigenous history and providing/allowing time for your teams to learn while at work; some options include:
- Mobile app focused on learning about reconciliation
- 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
As part of our annual retreat (September 30th and October 1st), the Jouta team will recognize and honour National Truth and Reconciliation Day, with a focus on conscious allyship.