Tue. Aug 9th, 2022

The Justin Trudeau government passed legislation declaring the date of a public holiday, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

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Toronto City will celebrate National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 with educational programming, a proclamation and lighting of the iconic Toronto sign orange.

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But unlike federally regulated workers, city staff will not get statutory leave.

A note from Mayor Chris Murray issued Friday explains why this election was made.

“The city of Toronto is strongly committed to strengthening relations with the First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples and promoting truth, reconciliation and justice,” Murray said. “Therefore, we sought the guidance of the city’s original leaders and members of the community on the best way for the city to celebrate this critically important day of reckoning.

“We received overwhelming support for the city to observe the new federal holiday by focusing on training events and opportunities for staff to attend.”

The Justin Trudeau government passed legislation proclaiming September 30 as a public holiday, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

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Federal government employees and employees working in federally regulated industries such as television and banking have been allowed to take vacations.

However, most workers are employed in provincial-regulated industries, and Ontario has not followed federal management. The province noted that “employers and employees may agree to treat this day as such, and some may be required to do so if it has been negotiated into collective agreements or employment contracts.”

In Alberta, the city of Calgary has chosen to make September 30 a public holiday for its employees.

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Murray said while staff are expected to work that day, they will have time to attend learning events.

“While this is not a paid day off for all city employees, we recognize that native employees may want to take time off to attend ceremonies, events or to commemorate the day with their families,” he said. “We ask divisions to accommodate such requests and do not require original employees to use their vacation, place or other banks to take time off.

“The recent discovery of the remains of native children who died in residential schools is reminiscent of the atrocities that colonization has visited over indigenous peoples,” Murray added.

aartuso@postmedia.com

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