The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: A New Federal Statutory Holiday

The Federal Government recently passed legislation to create a new annual federal statutory holiday on September 30th.  Named the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the statutory holiday was created as a step in the reconciliation process and in response to call to action number 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. According to the Government of Canada website, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation “provides an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and to honour their survivors, their families and communities.”

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a paid federal holiday. It only applies to employers and employees subject to the Canada Labour Code, such as banks, radio and television broadcasting, air transportation, first Nations band councils, crown corporations, and road transportation services, including trucks and buses, that cross provincial or international borders. Employees are entitled to paid time off similar to other general holidays like Labour Day or Christmas Day. While the new statutory holiday does not apply to provincially regulated organizations (i.e., those governed by provincial employment standards legislation like the British Columbia Employment Standards Act), organizations should be cognizant that banks will be closed on September 30th and plan accordingly. In addition, some provincially regulated employers, like Pushor Mitchell LLP, will voluntarily close on September 30th to honour the victims and survivors of residential schools.

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