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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30.

Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, on her first day of school, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.

On September 30, we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of Survivors

The BC Government recognizes the importance of honouring a day for Truth and Reconciliation. As such, government has advised all provincial public sector employers that they should recognize September 30th, as a holiday for all employees who are normally entitled to provincial and federal holidays. It should be noted that recognizing September 30th this year is an interim measure while the Province begins to engage with Indigenous partners and the business and labour communities to determine the most appropriate way to commemorate this day going forward.  There are different statutory holidays recognized in Provincial and Federal legislation and only federally legislated industries (Transportation, Communications, Banking) are covered by Canada’s recognition of September 30 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Here are some ways that people are recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

  1. Read about the history of Indian Residential Schools in Canada:
  2. Sign up for an online course: Indigenous Canada:
    2. Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics for the 12 lessons include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions.
  3. Wear an Orange T-shirt. Here is a link to some orange shirts with designs created by local indigenous artists: 

Health Supports for Survivors

Health Support Info:

If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419

Statutory Holiday Policy:

Spectrum will treat this day as Statutory Holiday.  Our policies for statutory holidays are available here: