On August 3, 2021, a new federal statutory holiday was created, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, to observed every September 30th.
The purpose of the new statutory holiday is to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors and their families and communities and to ensure that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
For now, the statutory holiday only needs to be recognized by the federal public sector and federally regulated private employees, which include employers in the following industries:
- Air transportation, including airlines, airports, and aircraft operations;
- Banks, including authorized foreign banks;
- Grain elevators, feed and seed mills, feed warehouses and grain-seed cleaning plants;
- First Nations Band Councils (including certain community services on reserve);
- Port services, marine shipping, ferries, tunnels, canals, bridges and pipelines (oil and gas) that cross international or provincial borders;
- Radio and television broadcasting;
- Railways that cross provincial or international borders and some short-line railways;
- Road transportation services, including trucks and buses, that cross provincial or international borders;
- Telecommunications, for example, telephone, internet, telegraph and cable systems;
As with any other federal statutory holiday, those employees will be entitled to paid time off for the holiday and stat holiday premium pay for time worked on a stat. If the holiday falls on a non-working day that is a Saturday or Sunday, then the employee is entitled to a paid day off on the working day preceding or following the holiday. If the holiday falls on any other non-working day, then the employee is entitled to a paid day off on a mutually agreeable working day.
As a reminder, the vast majority of employers are governed by provincial Employment Standards legislation and thus are not required to recognize this new statutory holiday, at least for the moment. For example, the BC government has not amended the provincial Employment Standards Act to include the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a provincial statutory holiday. However, it has announced that some public sector employers and services will honour the new holiday.
Some non-federal employers are planning to honour Truth and Reconciliation in their workplaces on September 30 to express their support for the reconciliation process.
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