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Yukon government planning to legislate Sept. 30 as a paid statutory holiday

Yukon government plans amendments to the Employment Standards Act in 2023
Hundreds of people gathered at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre on Sept. 30 for an event recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Yukon government says it plans to make it a statutory day for all in the territory in 2023. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

The next National Day for Truth and Reconciliation could be a statutory holiday for everyone in the territory.

Less than a week following the 2022 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation held on Sept. 30, the Yukon government said it would table amendments to the Employment Standards Act in the spring of 2023 that would make the day that commemorates the tragic legacy of residential schools in the country a stat.

“The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a significant opportunity to reflect on the tragic history of residential schools in our country and the need for ongoing work to advance reconciliation in Canada,” Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn said in an Oct. 6 statement.

“The Yukon plans to begin honouring September 30 as a statutory day in 2023. Our government remains committed to addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. We continue to engage with Yukon First Nations to identify meaningful ways for Yukoners to observe this day and how we can continue to advance reconciliation for the benefit of all Yukoners.”

Currently, those working in federally regulated industries across the country as well as Yukon government employees in the territory are entitled to it as a statutory holiday while private industries are not.

The federal government declared the first official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021. Prior to that, Sept. 30 had been recognized by many as Orange Shirt Day, promoting education and awareness about the impacts of the residential school system across the country.

After conducting public engagement about the possibility of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation becoming a stat, the Yukon government published a What We Heard Report showing 66 per cent of respondents support it being deemed a statutory day.

Support was stronger from non-employers than employers, though both groups agreed declaring it as a stat “is not a meaningful reconciliation action without ongoing public education, awareness campaigns, special events and programs,” the government said in its statement.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is one of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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