B.C. schools, some workplaces will be closed for new national holiday in September – CTV News Vancouver

VANCOUVER — The province says most schools and some workplaces in B.C. will be closed for a day in September to mark a new national holiday meant to commemorate the history of Canada’s residential school system.

The new statutory holiday was announced by the federal government back in June, and this week, the provincial government explained how it will be observed on the West Coast.

Sept. 30 will now be known as Truth and Reconciliation Day.

According to the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, it has advised employers in the provincial public sector to honour the day. Many public services will remain open, but may be on reduced hours, or have fewer staff members working.

Most schools and post-secondary institutions will be closed, as will some health-care sector workplaces and Crown corporations, the ministry said in a news release.

Federal employees and workers in federally-regulated workplaces will also have the day off.

It is not yet known what the “day of commemoration” will look like in B.C.

Ministers Murray Rankin (Indigenous Relations) and Selina Robinson (Finance) said it will be discussed over the coming months with Indigenous leaders, organizations and communities. These talks will involve the best and most respectful ways to mark Truth and Reconciliation Day.

Businesses and labour stakeholders will also be asked to weigh in on how it will be marked in the future.

“Over the last two months Canadians have been coming to terms with what survivors of residential schools have always known. Indigenous peoples are bringing to light the true history of this country and the atrocities of the residential school system,” Rankin and Robinson said in a joint statement.

“Our government is calling on all of us who deliver services to the public to use this opportunity to consider what each of us can do as individuals to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and to recommit to understanding the truth of our shared history, to accept and learn from it and in doing so, help to create a better, more inclusive British Columbia.”