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  • Kristan Strate

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - A powerful day for reflection & understanding

Updated: May 17

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – September 30th , is a day for all Canadians to recognize and commemorate the history and legacy of the residential school system. It's a day to reflect upon and honour the resilience, dignity and strength of survivors and remember the children who never came home to their families.

People have to respect that it is a difficult day for a lot of people that brings up a lot of things…

- Emily Riddle, Indigenous relations at Edmonton Public Library

As a key partner to our clients’ businesses we are often asked how to best commemorate this important day.

Some provinces (Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, Nunavut, New Brunswick and British Columbia), federal government workplaces and federally regulated workplaces recognize September 30th as a mandatory statutory holiday and provide their employees with a paid day off.

For those businesses not mandated to provide a statutory holiday we, as business owners and operators, have an opportunity to engage and educate our employees on the significance of this important day.

Following are some great ways to reflect upon and honour September 30th – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

  1. Give your employees with a day off with pay anyway! This will send a strong values based message to your team and demonstrate your respect for Canadian Indigenous peoples.

  2. Invite your employees to wear “orange” shirts to work on this day to honour the Indigenous children where were taken from their homes and placed in the residential school system.

  3. Offer your employees paid time off to attend significant cultural events and activities that commemorate and honour the suffering experienced by our Indigenous communities.

  4. Promote learning by hosting a guest speaker to present to your team on their understanding and experience with the residential school system.

  5. Facilitate a discussion amongst your employees to share experiences, learnings and reflect on the suffering experienced by Canadian Indigenous peoples.

  6. Take a field trip and attend an event as a group on September 30th .

  7. Encourage your employees to volunteer at an Indigenous not for profit organization.

  8. Consider matching donations made by employees to an organization that supports Indigenous Communities and reconciliation efforts.

Whatever you choose to do to commemorate this important day in your workplace it is important to remember that National Day for Truth and Reconciliation should be a solemn day to reflect, watch and listen. If you are mandated to provide a statutory holiday or are recognizing this day while continuing your business operations there is much you can do to support your employees in their learning.

Additional resources:

Need help communicating the importance of this day with your team…click here to connect with us!

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