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The BC Government has introduced a bill to make September 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a provincial statutory holiday. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was first recognized by Canada in 2021 and is already recognized as a federal statutory holiday.
History of the Statutory Holiday
Establishing a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was on the federal government’s radar since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its Calls to Action in 2015. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (the “Commission”) was established as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Part of the Commissions’ mandate was to contribute to truth, healing and reconciliation by giving those affected by residential schools the opportunity to share their stories.
In particular, Call to Action 80 required the establishment of a statutory holiday, to “honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools” noting that the introduction of such a statutory holiday “remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” The creation of a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was fast-tracked after the remains of 215 children were found in unmarked graves at a former residential school in Kamloops.
What does this mean for your business?
As September 30th will now be a provincial statutory holiday in British Columbia, it will be added to the list of general holidays observed under BC’s Employment Standards Act . Employers will therefore be required to provide employees with paid time off beginning on September 30, 2023.
We encourage all employers and employees to take time each September 30th to learn about Canada’s tragic history of residential schools, to honour their survivors, and to contribute to the reconciliation process.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact a member of Miller Thomson’s Labour & Employment team.