Ottawa – September 24, 2021 – In June of this year, the federal government proclaimed September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day calls for recognition and reflection of the ongoing legacy of Canada’s residential school system. As a paid statutory holiday, it covers all federally regulated employees working in the public and private sector.
In representing Indigenous members, we remain committed to increasing awareness within workplaces about the impact of residential schools and the ongoing discrimination faced by Indigenous peoples.
We commend the federal government for acknowledging this day and call on all provinces and territories to follow suit and proclaim September 30 as a statutory holiday in recognition of Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
We remain vigilant that a vast majority of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action remain unmet. This legislation (Bill C-5) received royal assent almost six years following the release of the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action in 2015 and following the discovery by the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation of approximately 215 child remains on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The TRC’s Calls to Action 71-76 speak to missing children and burial information.
Today there are more First Nations children in care than at the height of the residential school system. Twenty non-compliance orders have been issued since the 2016 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the federal government underfunded child welfare services on First Nations reserves constituting discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Throughout the year UFCW Canada’s Human Rights, Equity and Diversity, Sub-Committee of Indigenous members have consistently met with officials in the federal government to speak about these and other inequities such as the lack of clean and accessible drinking water on reserve and the underfunding of First Nations education. UFCW Canada also released its 2021 report, Our Commitment to Reconciliation.
This September 30 let us reflect on the continued ways we can support Indigenous sovereignty as we participate in truth-telling regarding the legacy of residential schools.
To learn more about our work to advance Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, visit our Indigenous Issues website.