We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusSept. 5, 2021COMPLETE
Previous StatusJune 14, 2021IN PROGRESS

Why “COMPLETE”?

June 4, 2021 – Bill C-5 “An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation)” a bill that designates Sept. 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation passed in the Senate and received Royal Assent.

Bill C-369 “An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation)” has been re-introduced as Bill C-5 on with First Reading on Sept. 29, 2020

The “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation” is proposed for Sept. 30 — also known as Orange Shirt Day which commemorates generations of children who attended residential schools”. CBC

Current Problem in Commemoration

Provincial opposition to Bill C-5 “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation”

The following come for the most part from “Two Row Time” (Sept. 8, 2021).

This provinces who will not recognize Sept 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Province/
Territory
Indigenous
Population
Party in PowerComment
Alberta258,640ConservativeAlberta told CTV Edmonton it won’t legislate the holiday, but that provincial government flags will be lowered.
Saskatchewan175,015ConservativeThere are no plans to make changes to the province’s employment act to make Sept. 30 a public holiday for workers in provincial workplaces
Ontario374,395ConservativeOntario Public Service employees will be observing a day of commemoration, similar to Remembrance Day and Easter Monday,” said spokesperson Curtis Lindsay (Toronto Star, Sept 8, 2021)
Québec182,890ConservativeQuebec Premier Francois Legault said in June there were no plans to add a statutory holiday. That position hasn’t changed, said Mathieu Durocher, spokesman for Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafreniere.
New Brunswick29,380ConservativeIndicated they would not be observing the holiday at a provincial level
Nfld. & Labrador45,725LiberalIndicated they would not be observing the holiday at a provincial level
Nunavut30,550Consensusto date no legislation has been passed to observe the holiday.
1,096,595 66% of the Indigenous population in Canada

Yukon said in a news release that it will be working with First Nations, businesses and communities over the next few months on how to best mark the day with respect and compassion.

Provinces honouring the “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation” as a statutory holiday

Province/
Territory
Indigenous PopulationParty in powerComment
B.C.270,585NDPOur government is calling on all of us who deliver services to the public to use this opportunity to consider what each of us can do as individuals to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and to recommit to understanding the truth of our shared history, to accept and learn from it and in doing so, help to create a better, more inclusive British Columbia.”
Manitoba223,310Conservative“We can all listen, learn and support the healing needed to address the intergenerational trauma caused by the residential school system. ”Indigenous Reconciliation Minister Alan Lagimodiere
Nova Scotia51,495Conservative“We are taking this step to recognize the importance of honouring First Nations, Inuit and Métis residential school survivors and their families and communities,” said Premier Tim Houston.
PEI2,740ConservativeWhat a better place than the Birthplace of Confederation to, in partnership with Indigenous people, help move forward the path towards real and lasting reconciliation,” said Senator Brian Francis. 
NWT20,860ConsensusIssued an order to mark September 30th a holiday for the territory’s public service, commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
568,99034% of the Indigenous population in Canada

Timelines for Bill C-369 and Bill C-5

June 15, 2017 – Bill C-361 “An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Aboriginal Day)” introduced for First reading. The Bill when – and if – passed will make National Aboriginal Day a statutory holiday.

June 21, 2017 – Officially changed National Aboriginal Day to National Indigenous People’s Day.

Sept. 26, 2018 – Bill C-361 passed second reading with a vote of 202 in favour and 79 against. It will now be studied by the federal heritage committee.

Feb. 9, 2019 – “Bill C-369 An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation)”. This enactment amends certain Acts to make National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, observed on September 30, a holiday.

Purpose
0.‍1 The purpose of this Act is to fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action # 80 by creating a federal holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation which seeks to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools, and other atrocities committed against First Nation, Inuit and Metis people, remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Mar. 20, 2019 – Bill C-369 passed through its final reading in the House of Commons last Wednesday. It will now go before the Senate before it becomes law. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is proposed for Sept. 30 — also known as Orange Shirt Day which commemorates generations of children who attended residential schools. (CBC)

June 21, 2019 – Bill C – 369 died in the Senate after the Conservatives stalled debate on any private member’s bill. “Any bill that hasn’t passed by the time the election is called —whether a private members’ bill or government legislation—would have to be reintroduced in the next Parliament by whoever forms government.” “Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’ office says instead of having the stat holiday, the government will fund “local Indigenous events” that day, but gave no indication this is a proposal they’ll push to revive in the future”. (CTV News).

Sept.29, 2020 – Bill C-369 “An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation)” has been re-introduced as Bill C-5

June 3, 2021 Bill C-5 “An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation)” a bill that designates Sept. 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation passed in the Senate and received Royal Assent. The federal government picked Sept. 30 because it already coincides with Orange Shirt Day, federal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said. Orange Shirt Day is an annual unofficial commemoration of survivors and victims of residential schools.

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

To enable communities to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools on the proposed National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples on National Indigenous Peoples Day, Budget 2019 announced $10 million over 2 years, starting in fiscal year 2019 to 2020, to support non-governmental and community organizations holding events in communities across Canada, through Canadian Heritage’s Celebration and Commemoration Program