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For most non-government employees, Sept. 30 will be a regular working day this year

The last day of September marks the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Every Child Matters SD44 school memorial 2
North Vancouver School District’s Indigenous Education team placed 215 teddy bears at the education services centre Welcome Pole for the 215 children found buried at the Kamloops Residential School.

Whether you are obligated to work on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation depends on your employer.

Since the federal government declared Sept. 30 a federal statutory holiday to commemorate the history of residential schools and recognition of the ongoing trauma to Indigenous peoples, there has been confusion as to whom the holiday pertains to.

Because it is a federal stat holiday, all federal employees receive the day off.

In B.C., officials with the Ministry of Finance say public-sector employers and employees who would normally be entitled to provincial and federal holidays have been asked to observe the day "in recognition of obligations in the vast majority of collective agreements."

Because of this, all public and post-secondary schools, research universities, child care centres, Crown corporations and provincial government offices will be closed.

In a statement to Castanet, ministry officials say provincially regulated businesses should review their own collective agreements to determine their obligations to employees.

"We encourage employees to reach out to their employer if they are unsure about whether the stat day applies to them," the statement reads.

"Most private sector employers will remain open unless they choose to recognize the holiday for their staff this year."

The holiday for provincial employees is an interim measure for this year only.

The government says it will engage with Indigenous partners and the business and labour communities to determine the most appropriate way to commemorate the day in years to come.