The Government of Canada recently passed legislation making September 30th a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Bill responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s call to action number 80 which calls on the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish the holiday to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools and honour the survivors, their families, and communities.  On September 03, 2021 the Province of Manitoba announced that September 30 will be a holiday for schools and non-essential government services.

The new holiday only applies to federally regulated employers. The United Church of Canada and its communities of faith are not federally regulated employers. They are governed by provincial employment statutes. The General and regional councils will be closed on September 30 this year while conversations with the National Indigenous Council and the National Indigenous Elders Council determine future practice. Communities of faith may offer September 30th as a designated paid holiday for their ministry personnel and employees at the discretion of their governing body and the guidance of their regional council. Prairie to Pine Regional Council encourages Communities of Faith to offer it as a holiday for those staff for whom September 30 is a regular work day.

This day provides an opportunity for Canadians to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. As this day also coincides with Orange Shirt day, Indigenous Ministries and Justice will be curating an online event and offering some resources for Orange Shirt Day. This day is not limited to the school-aged  children in your life! This day is for everyone. Please consider looking into plans at your local school and within the community; and planning on how your community of faith or ministry can use its resources to hold space for an all-ages focus on truth-telling and learning about residential schools. Click here for a prayer and resources from Indigenous Ministries and Justice.  Click here for information on a full week of online learning events from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

This may present itself as a day of quiet reflection or participation in a community event. Here are some important spaces:

Indigenous Children Then, Now, and Tomorrow: Online Panel, 29 September: Indigenous Ministries and Justice is hosting an Orange Shirt Day panel on September 29, 2021 at 3:30 – 5:00 p.m SK time. Panelists Allison Forsberg, Jocelyn Formsma, Leeann Shimoda, and the Rev. Murray Pruden will explore how Indigenous children and families were and continue to be impacted by colonialism. They will touch on a range of topics including Indigenous Children in Residential Schools, Sixties Scoop, Millennial Scoop, and bringing our children home. For more information or to sign up please visit the United in Learning website.

Orange Shirt Day vigil, September 30, 3:00PM in SK: Executive Minister Murray Pruden will be hosting a candle light vigil to honour the children who never made it home from Residential Schools and survivors. Please join us for an evening of remembering and please bring a candle or a light. This gathering will be live broadcast on the Indigenous Ministries and Justice Facebook page, which is accessible to all: