On February 7, 2023, the Province of British Columbia introduced legislation to make September 30th, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (“NDTR”), a provincial statutory holiday.
The proposed legislation creates a new act called The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Act, and amends the Employment Standards Act (the “Proposed Legislation”). If the Proposed Legislation passes in its current form, provincially regulated BC employers will need to provide eligible employees with a paid day off work, or provide pay at premium rates if employees must perform work on the new statutory holiday. In unionized workplaces, the effect of the Proposed Legislation will depend on the specific language in the collective agreement.
Currently, NDTR is a federal statutory holiday which applies only to federally regulated workplaces such as banks and airlines. Making NDTR a federal statutory holiday was the Government of Canada’s direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #80, which called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, “to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour survivors, their families and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
Prior to introducing the Proposed Legislation, the Province consulted with Indigenous communities and partners in BC, as well as employers and employees. Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon, have already declared NDTR a provincial or territorial statutory holiday.
We will continue to post updates on our website as this matter moves through the legislative process. If you have any questions, please contact your Harris lawyer.