Ontario, Mississauga and Brampton won’t get National Truth and Reconciliation Day off

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Published September 8, 2021 at 11:20 pm

Ontario is not making National Truth and Reconciliation Day on Sept. 30 a provincial statutory holiday.

As a result, schools will will remain open and the only workers who will get the day off are those in federally regulated businesses and organizations. The decision by the Ford Government, which was reported by CTV News Toronto and Global News, would appear to ignore the 80th call to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.

Call No. 80 asks for “the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

Provincial Indigenous Affairs minister Greg Rickford’s statement to CTV News said the provincial observance of the day would be “similar to Remembrance Day,” which is not a public holiday in Ontario.

The Government of Canada announced the creation of the holiday in July, saying it was intended to create “an opportunity for each public servant to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. This may present itself as a day of quiet reflection or participation in a community event

Workplaces such as banks and the Canada Post sorting facility in Mississauga will be closed.

The 94 Calls to Action of the TRC were issued after seven years of collecting testimonies from residential school survivors, and their family members who experienced intergenerational violence, between 2008 and 2015.

The residential school system, which existed for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, was created to force Indigenous children to adapt to a European-Canadian culture. The TRC concluded that the system was a case of “cultural genocide.”

Earlier this year, remains of hundreds at children who died while at the schools were confirmed found in searches in British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Only a handful of the 139 residential school sites that ever existed have been searched.

Numerous cities and school boards have also voted to remove the names and images of both John A. Macdonald and Egerton Ryerson from buildings and public spaces due to their connection with residential schools. Their involvement, respectively, came while Macdonald was Canada’s first prime minister and Ryerson created Ontario’s public education system.

Ryerson University, which has programs in Brampton, has announced that it will change its name.

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