The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is urging the Sask. Party government to honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action and recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th as a provincial statutory holiday.
“The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for all of us to reflect upon the tragedy of the residential school system, to honour the victims and survivors of residential schools, and to commit to reconciliation,” said SFL president Lori Johb. “This year’s discovery of thousands of children’s graves at residential school sites across the country, including 751 unmarked graves at Cowessess First Nation, has been a wake up call for all of us, and has caused Canadians to face head-on the horrifying legacy of the residential school system in this country.”
Passed by the Federal Government last fall after being outlined as a call to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, September 30 is recognized as a statutory holiday for all federally regulated employees. Several provinces and many provincial organizations have indicated that they will recognize the holiday, but the Sask. Party government has said that they have no plans to legislate September 30th as a provincial statutory holiday for all workers.
“It’s past time for people across the country to recognize that the residential school system was a genocide of a massive scale- a legacy of generations of colonialism, violence, and systemic racism that is an ongoing trauma for families and communities,” Johb said. "Making September 30th a provincial statutory holiday will provide working people with the opportunity to use the day to learn, quietly reflect, or participate in reconciliation events in their communities.”
Johb has written a letter to Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Don Morgan urging the government to honour their own commitments to reconciliation and pass legislation to recognize September 30th as a provincial holiday.
“The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is committed to reconciliation and justice for indigenous peoples,” Johb said. “The provincial government must recognize the role they play in reconciliation and the importance of this day, and immediately legislate September 30th as a provincial holiday.”
Submitted by Eric Bell, Strategic Advisor
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.