Following the discovery of what are believed to be the remains of 215 indigenous children in unmarked graves at a former residential school in Kamloops, BC, the federal government fast-tracked Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation). The legislation received royal assent on June 3, 2021 and comes into force two months after that date.
The legislation establishes a new federal holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, on September 30th of each year. Federally regulated employers should know that this day has been added to the list of general holidays under the Canada Labour Code for which employees are entitled to paid time off in accordance with the Code. These employers should plan for providing this paid holiday beginning this fall.
For provincially or territorially regulated employers, provincial and territorial governments have not yet acted to amend employment standards legislation to add the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to the list of general or statutory holidays specified in the respective legislation. However, employers with unionized workforces should check the specific terms of their collective agreements with respect to paid holidays. Some collective agreements contain provisions that recognize a list of specific days as paid holidays and any other day declared or proclaimed by the federal or provincial governments. Under such provisions, employees may be entitled to a paid holiday for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Federally regulated employers should also check the terms of their collective agreements as the Canada Labour Code has some exceptions to the general holiday provisions for employees subject to a collective agreement.
If you have any questions about how the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation may apply in your workplace, please contact a member of our Labour, Employment & Human Rights Group.
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