Legacy Bowes Blog
Truth and Reconciliation: Not just a one-day event
Sept. 30 is the recognized National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. This year will be the second time that Canada has acknowledged this day of remembrance since its inception in 2021. Similar to last year, many workplaces may find themselves in a situation where they are asking themselves, “What does this day mean for our organization?”
First and foremost, this day is to honour children who attended residential school, remembering those who did not make it home, and recognizing survivors and their families.
For federally-regulated employers, this day is considered a statutory holiday, meaning workplaces close or employees are paid time-and-a-half. For non-federally-regulated employers, it is a bit more complicated.
While they are not required to do so, some might decide to provide the day off to their employees with pay, and others may keep their businesses open and acknowledge the day through other means, such as wearing orange shirts and/or posting to social media.
These initiatives are a good way to provide acknowledgement and support, but employers should really be challenging themselves to dig deeper. Truth and Reconciliation is not a one-day event, but it is the way forward for Canada and Indigenous Peoples.
In fact, all employers operating in Canada carry this responsibility under the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions’ Calls to Action, specifically, Call to Action #92. (If you do not know what Call to Action #92 entails, this is one learning initiative that your workplace can take on Sept. 30.)
What Truth and Reconciliation entails
The term “Truth and Reconciliation” has become more and more prevalent in Canadian society over the last few years. We often hear it in the news, at the political level, or perhaps in general conversations with our friends and family.
When we think about this phrase, there are two prevalent themes: Education and Action. Read on for descriptions of both themes and efforts, initiatives, and steps you can take to address both.
In this sphere of the term, the focus is dedicated to learning the truth. This means we are listening and generating a shared understanding of the history and experiences faced by Indigenous Peoples and the impacts of residential schools and colonization.
- Phyllis Webstad’s story
- The residential school system
- Indigenous resiliency
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports
- The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
- Indigenous Ceremonies and Traditions
- Treaties within your organization’s operating region(s)
Under this theme, we are taking concentrated steps to address the ongoing impacts felt by residential school survivors and their families.
Efforts and initiatives include:
- Partnering with local Indigenous communities/organizations
- Attending and/or volunteering at community events
- Fostering Indigenous inclusion in your workplace
- Seeking out and supporting Indigenous businesses
- Providing cultural awareness training
Of course, this list is not exhaustive and there are many other opportunities that your organization can explore.
Make Truth and Reconciliation a continuous journey
So, when it comes to Sept. 30, take this time to honour those children who attended residential schools, but come Oct. 1, do not set Truth and Reconciliation aside and lock it away until next year. Make it part of your organization’s journey.
If your workplace is looking for additional support, we would encourage you to reach out and inquire about our Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #92 Certification Program, which provides education and resources to individuals and businesses on their journeys.
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