March 14, 2023
The City of Edmonton took another step in its journey of reconciliation by officially declaring September 30, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a civic holiday.
This declaration is part of the City’s Truth and Reconciliation Commision (TRC) Municipal Response Plan, which outlines actions that City Administration will take to remove barriers and enhance inclusion and access to City programs and services. It also supports the TRC Calls to Action. To date, the City has made progress on addressing 21 of the 94 Calls to Action, and this declaration specifically supports Call to Action #80.
“I’m proud to formally recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. I encourage Edmontonians to reflect on the collective traditions and cultures of the diverse First Peoples whose footsteps have marked this territory,” said Amarjeet Sohi, Mayor of Edmonton. “In order to truly honour those contributions, we also have to acknowledge the trauma of residential schools and the ongoing effects of colonization—not just on September 30 but throughout the year.”
“Officially acknowledging September 30 as a civic holiday is a small but significant step in our commitment to supporting and building strong, respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples in Edmonton,” said Andre Corbould, City Manager. “Administration will continue listening, connecting, advocating, and partnering with Indigenous communities to ensure they see themselves included and reflected in the City’s spaces, places, and services. We still have a lot of work to do, and we’re dedicated to continually moving forward on our journey of reconciliation.”
Declaring a civic holiday is not equivalent to a provincial declaration of a statutory holiday and does not create any legal obligations for employers or businesses to close their offices or provide stat pay to their employees.
Also known as Orange Shirt Day, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours the survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities, as well as the children who never returned home. It is also a day to reflect and engage in dialogue and learning on the lasting impacts of colonization, anti-Indigenous systemic racism, and on the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.