Honourable Harry Bains
B.C. Minister of Labour
PO Box 9064, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC, V8W 9E2
September 1, 2022
Dear Minister Bains:
RE: Marking National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in B.C.
On behalf of the over 24,000 Unifor members in British Columbia, we would first like to commend your government’s efforts in evaluating how the province can best mark and observe September 30–the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
As a union, we have undertaken considerable amount of advocacy over the years to ensure that the federal and provincial governments across the country do more to advance the 94 Calls to Action put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015. While the federal government has made September 30 a statutory holiday, only a handful of provinces and territories have so far followed suit.
We call upon the B.C. government to designate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday for all workers in British Columbia. Your government can provide workers the opportunity to take the time to reflect on the country’s past and current treatment of Indigenous Peoples, while allowing them to participate in activities, gatherings and ceremonies taking place in their communities.
Unifor acknowledges that simply having a paid holiday is not enough in observance of this critical day. We are also calling on the B.C. government to work with Indigenous communities and leaders, labour unions and business groups to develop appropriate workplace activities and educational materials in the lead up to September 30. Materials should facilitate discussions and reflections on the legacy of residential schools in Canada, other policies of forced assimilation and ongoing impacts of colonial violence against Indigenous Peoples.
We entrust your government will do the right thing and enshrine the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday. We all have a role to play to create space for healing so that we can achieve a more equitable society together. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss this issue further.
Unifor Western Regional Director