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BC to recognize Truth and Reconciliation Day as statutory holiday

The third annual day of Truth and Reconciliation will be recognized as a statutory day in British Columbia.

The province says passing legislation to officially recognize the day of commemoration fulfils one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, number 80, “which called on the federal government to establish a holiday to honour survivors, their families and communities.”

BC will join Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon, and the federal government as jurisdictions that recognize the day as a stat holiday.

Terry Teegee, the Regional Chief of the B.C Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN), said “the B.C. Assembly of First Nations welcomes the news that the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be made a statutory holiday in B.C. This is a day for all British Columbians, Indigenous people and our non-Indigenous neighbours to reflect and breathe life into what reconciliation means, and take steps to build a better future together.”

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“It recognizes the struggles that we First Nations peoples have had to face, and clarifies the role that settlers can play in reconciling our relationship. As BCAFN Knowledge Keeper, Dr. Robert Joseph has said: ‘Reconciliation is for all Canadians!'”

The province’s hope is that with the day off, those numbers can increase and more people will take the day to reflect and learn.

“Many British Columbians have been marking Orange Shirt Day with humility, respect and reflection in their own ways for years,” said Premier David Eby.

“Today, we are taking the important step to enshrine this day in law to acknowledge the wrongdoings of the past, and to take meaningful action toward reconciliation.”

“For decades, Indigenous leaders have called upon governments to publicly recognize the harms caused by residential schools, Indian Day Schools and Indian hospitals, as well as the Sixties Scoop,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

“This day is about taking time to reflect on the experience of residential school survivors and their families, while learning about and honouring the strength, resilience, and contributions of Indigenous communities in our province.”

For more information on the stat holiday, click here.

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