Federal Government Designates September 30 as Public Holiday for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Date: June 11, 2021
On June 3, 2021, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation), received Royal Assent. It officially designates September 30 of each year as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This marks a new public holiday under the Canada Labour Code (Code).
Traditionally September 30 of each year has been commemorated as Orange Shirt Day. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation seeks to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors, their families and communities, and to ensure that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process. The Bill comes into force on August 3, 2021, meaning that the new holiday will first occur this Fall, on September 30, 2021.
A number of other statutes will also be amended to enact this change, including the Interpretation Act and the Bills of Exchange Act. Most importantly for employers, the definition of “general holiday” in the Code will be amended to include the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In addition, this new holiday is included in the special rule under the Code that applies to a limited number of general holidays when they fall on a non-working Saturday or Sunday (the rule requiring employees to be given the day immediately preceding or following as the general holiday). As a result of this change, there will now be 10 general holidays under the Code.
This new holiday only applies to federally regulated employers which are subject to the Code. As such, this new holiday does not apply to provincially regulated employers unless a provincial legislature makes similar amendments to provincial employment standards legislation.
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