Ontario will not make September 30, National Truth and Reconciliation Day, a provincial statutory holiday, says the government.
In a statement to local media on Wednesday night, a spokesperson for Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford said “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is not a provincial public holiday this year.”
“Employers and employees may agree to treat this day as such, and some may be required to do so if it has been negotiated into collective agreements or employment contracts,” the statement said. “Federally regulated employees, such as federal government and bank employees, are governed by the Canada Labour Code.”
“Ontario is working in collaboration with Indigenous partners, survivors and affected families to ensure the respectful commemoration of this day within the province, similar to Remembrance Day.”
This means that only federally regulated businesses and organizations are required to offer employees the day off.
The federal government established the new statutory holiday in July to commemorate the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada. The decision responds to the 80th call to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.
Just last week, the Ontario government was still undecided on whether to mark the day as a provincial statutory holiday.
Last month, the British Columbia government formally recognized September 30 as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in the region and announced the closure of schools, post-secondary institutions and some health sector workplaces.
Other regions, including Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, have chosen not to make Septemer 30 a provincial statutory holiday, but will observe it in other ways, which attracted strong criticism from Indigenous communities.
The move not to mark September 30 as a statutory holiday means that schools in Ontario will stay open.
The province currently recognizes nine public holidays which include New Year’s Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.