Your Guide to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

  • Employee wellbeing
Kiljon Shukullari

Kiljon Shukullari, HR Advisory Manager

(Last updated )

September 30th is observed as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.

Is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a stat holiday?

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a statutory holiday for federally regulated public and private sector employees. This means all federally regulated employees get paid time off work on September 30 every year. The industries that come under this category include public services, banks, airlines, and postal services.

What is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?

One of the 94 calls to action put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was 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.” – Call to Action #80, p.9

On June 3rd, 2021, Bill C-5 – that sought to establish September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and a statutory holiday for federally regulated staff – received Royal Assent.

Since Bill C-5 was passed, other provincial and territorial jurisdictions have also passed laws to observe National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a paid statutory holiday. These include British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Nunavut.

Why was September 30th chosen as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?

September 30th is already observed as the Orange Shirt Day in Canada. On this day, events are held to create awareness about the history and the damage done to Indigenous communities by the residential school system, and the need to take steps for reconciliation. Participants show support by wearing orange shirts.

The decision to observe this day as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation seeks to build on the work done by this popular Indigenous-led grassroots initiative.

Should provincially regulated employers give the day off to their staff as well?

Private employers in provinces where September 30 is not a statutory holiday are not required to do so. But if they wish to, they can make September 30 a paid holiday for staff.

If you’d like to observe this holiday in your workplace, you should update your workplace policies. Make it clear in your policy whether your employees will get the day off and whether they will receive pay.

Are there any other ways businesses could observe the holiday in their workplaces?

Not all businesses can afford to give their staff the day off. However, they can still observe the holiday and show support in other ways.

For instance, you could educate staff on the history behind the holiday. Or encourage your employees to wear orange on September 30th to remember and honour those who survived residential schools and those who perished.

By wearing orange on this day, you can help create awareness about the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada. Some other ways to show support include:

Informing workers about available government support

Former residential school survivors can receive mental health support by calling the 24/7 Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419. The Hope for Wellness Help Line is also available 24/7 for counselling and crisis intervention at 1-855-242-3310.

Offering an Employee Assistance Program

Offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an excellent way to support the wellbeing of your employees.  An EAP provides confidential counselling services to staff who may be going through personal hardships, such as mental health issues, domestic violence, and substance abuse. The EAP coverage usually also includes the family members of the employee.

Do you have questions related to HR and employee management?

Our specialists can help you create company policies as well as with any other HRhealth and safety, or employment advice you need. To learn more, call an expert today at 1 (833) 247-3652

Related articles

  • mental health survey at the workplace


    Peninsula TeamPeninsula Team
    • Employee wellbeing
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)


    Kiran VirkHead of Talent Acquisition
    • Employee wellbeing
  • supportive environment at work for domestic violence


    Olivia CicchiniEmployment Law Expert
    • Workplace Health & Safety
Back to resource hub

Try Peninsula Canada today

Find out what 6500+ businesses across Canada have already discovered. Get round-the-clock HR and health & safety support with Peninsula.

Speak to an expert 24/7

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.