National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is meant to be a new statutory holiday — but you probably won’t get paid for the day off

On Thursday Sept. 30, Canadians celebrate the first Indigenous-focussed holiday The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It fulfills one of the 94 Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission However, of the Commission’s 94 Calls to Action set out in 2015, only 13 have been implemented so far.  Here is the complete list of 94, and the progress each has made.  Still, the special holiday is important as it honours Indigenous people who were stolen from their families and suffered abuses at Residential Schools, and in social care.   

Elder with 215 pairs of children’s shoes on steps of Vancouver Art Gallery. See:

In flowery language, Nova Scotia’s new premier Tim Houston says,

“We are taking this step to recognize the importance of honouring First Nations, Inuit and Metis residential school survivors and their families and communities…”

Premier Tim Houston

“We are taking this step to recognize the importance of honouring First Nations, Inuit and Métis residential school survivors and their families and communities.”  Houston encourages “…all Nova Scotians, whether you are working or in school, to make time on September 30 for important discussions about Canada’s history of residential schools.”

Provincial government offices, provincially-regulated daycare centres, schools, libraries and universities will be closed.

Shubenacadie Residential School, NS. It operated from 1930-1967. Credit: the Chronicle Herald

If it’s a statutory holiday, will you get paid?

Will you get paid? The short answer is “no.”  If your library or college is closed, if your government service is shut, you may not be paid for the day away from work because Truth and Reconciliation Day is not one of the six general paid holidays in NS

If you work in the private sector, your workplace will likely remain open as there is no legal barrier to doing so.  If you work at a supermarket, a call centre or a car wash, you will get your normal pay, because it’s a typical workday for you and others in non-governmental offices and services.  

If you are a union member, your union might have recently negotiated Sept. 30, 2021 as another paid holiday. If so – you are one of the lucky few.

Good news:  if you work for the federal government, or a federal agency or one regulated by the feds, such as Canada Post or a chartered bank, you will get the day off with pay

Otherwise, this week many Nova Scotians who work for the province may take-home 20% less pay than last week– even though you will get a day off the job for Truth and Reconciliation Day.

Featured Image above: The Scoop, by Kent Monkman (2018) Monkman is Cree and Canadian.

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