September 30th National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Also known as Orange Shirt Day

The Government of Canada recently passed legislation making September 30th a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Bill responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action # 80 which calls on the Federal Government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish the holiday to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools and honour the survivors, their families, and communities.

When it was first announced, the holiday only applied to federally regulated employees. The United Church of Canada and its communities of faith are not federally regulated employers. They are governed by provincial employment statutes. The General Secretary, Michael Blair, has decided that the General and Regional Council Offices will be closed on September 30 this year while conversations with the National Indigenous Council and the National Indigenous Elders Council determine future practice.

Communities of faith are encouraged to offer September 30th as a designated paid holiday for their ministry personnel and employees at the discretion of their governing body and the guidance of their regional council.

Education and Reflection Opportunities

Most importantly, this day provides an opportunity for Canadians to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools.

Indigenous Ministries are curating an online event and offering some resources for Orange Shirt Day. This will include an Online Event by Chinook Winds Indigenous Minister Tony Snow at 7 pm on September 30. More details and registration to follow.

This may present itself as a day of quiet reflection or participation in a community event.