Be Part of Reconciliation on Orange Shirt Day

Be Part of Reconciliation on Orange Shirt Day

 Whether you have it off from work or not, September 30 is an important day for all Canadians as we come to terms with the racist policy of cultural genocide practiced against Indigenous      peoples.

Officially, it’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. But it has come to be known as Orange Shirt Day, a name that comes from a survivor of one of the residential schools that                  Indigenous children were forced to attend after being removed from their families, in many cases against their parents’ wishes.

Her grandmother gave Phyllis Webstad, a member of the Stsweccem’c Xgat’tem First Nation in BC, an orange shirt to wear on her first day at residential school. But Phyllis was stripped of her clothes, including the orange shirt, which was never returned to her.

September 30 has been declared a holiday for workers covered by the Canada Labour Code. Workers governed by Ontario law may also be entitled to the day off if their collective agreement contains language such as “other holidays as may be declared by local, provincial or federal governments.”

If you have questions about the entitlement under your collective agreement, please contact your COPE local or COPE Ontario Labour Relations Specialist.

Hopefully, the Government of Ontario will soon do the right thing and add National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to the list of statutory holidays provided to all workers under the Employment Standards Act.

But in the meantime, we can all be part of reconciliation.

Wear your orange shirt on September 30!

Many First Nations, municipalities and community organizations will be holding events on September 30 (day or evening) or on the days just before and after. Probably there will be events happening near you. With your presence, you, too, can be part of reconciliation.

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