National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The Government of Canada has announced a new federal statutory holiday on September 30th: the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The holiday is meant to recognize Canada's colonial legacy, remember the impact of residential schools and honour survivors. Currently, whether an employee is entitled to the holiday will depend on the type of employer they have.

Federal Employers

Currently only federal employers are obligated to provide the holiday, as it was enacted under the Canada Labour CodeFederal employers would include any federal government agency, but also trans-provincial shipping, banks, broadcasting and telecommunications companies.

Any employee working for a federally regulated company is either entitled to:

  • the day off with holiday pay;
  • substitution of another day off with holiday pay; or
  • pay of their regular wage at time and a half, in addition to holiday pay for the day worked.

All employees are entitled to the holiday, regardless of their length of service or whether they work full or part time.

If the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation falls on an employees regularly scheduled day off then they are entitled to substitution of another day off. Alternatively, if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday then the employer must provide a day off with holiday pay on the work day either immediately preceding or following September 30th.

Holiday  pay is calculated by determining one twentieth of the wages the employee made during the preceding four-week period, excluding overtime pay but including vacation pay.

Provincial Employers 

At this time the Government of British Columbia has not amended the Employment Standards Act to include the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This means that there is currently no obligation for provincially regulated employers to provide their employees with the holiday. The Government has advised public employers to honour the new holiday, which may be a sign that it will eventually be added to the Employment Standards Act. For 2021 however it is up to each provincially regulated private employer whether they wish to provide their employees with the day off.


If you need help determining whether you are entitled to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, or whether you run a federally regulated company, then give us a call and we will help analyze your situation.

About the Author

Dan Howitt assists both employees and employers with managing all phases of the employment relationship.  His focus is helping clients achieve a fair and cost effective solution to their employment related problems. His emphasis is on negotiation and settlement.  If you would like to schedule a meeting with Dan or another lawyer, call us at 604-988-1000. We will be happy to help. 


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