A Day of Observance
Selkirk College will be observing this day as a holiday. Classes will be cancelled and employees who are normally entitled to provincial and federal holidays will receive this day off. This may present itself as a day of quiet reflection or participation in a community event. Everyone is encouraged to use this time to learn more about the history and ongoing legacy of residential schools and to have important conversations with their families, friends and communities about how we can collectively bring action to reconciliation with Indigenous people in B.C.
Join for events planned in support of Truth and Reconciliation leading up to the September 30 observance day. Get the schedule here...
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will classes and any planned events scheduled for September 30, 2021 be cancelled?
Yes, classes and operations at all Selkirk College campus and learning centre locations will be cancelled for September 30, 2021. College employees and operations should direct any concerns regarding previously planned activities to their supervisor/direct report (or designate).
Q: How did this day of observance come about?
In June 2021, the federal government passed legislation to mark September 30, 2021 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In early August 2021, the Province of B.C. followed suit recognizing this as a day of observance in the public sector. The B.C Government respects and honours the many aspects of working being carried out as part of the shared journey towards reconciliation with the Indigenous peoples of Canada. The Federal Government has designated September 30 a new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for federal employees and federally regulated workplaces.
This responds to Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #80 to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history of residential schools and recognition of the ongoing trauma to Indigenous peoples remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
As the government puts in place how to recognize this day more broadly, there is recognition that significant consultation is needed with survivors, families and communities in British Columbia who have been impacted by the ongoing legacy of residential schools.
Q: Will the Provincial Government observe the federal stat just this one year or every year going forward?
The Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation will be undertaking this work, followed by an engagement process led by the Minister of Labour to obtain the perspectives of businesses, workers, unions and labour representatives. Though the Provincial Government has provided a directive to the public sector to observe this day, the planning to recognize this day more broadly after 2021 will be done with significant consultation with survivors, families and communities in B.C. who continue to be impacted by the ongoing legacy of residential schools.
Q: Does this new statutory holiday mean that government no longer supports Orange Shirt Day?
The Orange Shirt Day campaign is founded on the stories of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad and her experience at St. Joseph Mission Residential School in Williams Lake in 1973 at the age of six. The orange shirt she wore on her first day was given to Phyllis by her grandmother. It was stripped from her upon arrival at the school and never seen again. Orange Shirt Day holds important significance in B.C and across Canada to honour the children who suffered in the residential school system and to remind Canadians that “every child matters.” It will continue to be a vital day in the Selkirk College annual calendar.
Q: What is the cost to government for this new statutory holiday?
There are economic and social costs to failing to answer the Calls to Action needed to support reconciliation. We need to ensure opportunities for non-Indigenous people in B.C. to listen, learn and help bring action to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Q: Why not give this stat day to the entire private sector in B.C. this year and does it require legislation?
The establishment of Family Day in 2011 required legislation. As a first step, the Provincial Government will engage with Indigenous peoples while working with businesses, workers and unions about establishing a new statutory day.
Q: Wouldn’t it be a better use of the public sector’s time to actually work on reconciliation rather than giving employees a day off?
While these conversations are happening, the provincial public sector will observe the day this year. Employees are encouraged to use the time to learn more about the history and ongoing legacy of residential schools while having important conversations with families, friends and community about how we call bring action to reconciliation with Indigenous people in B.C.