Was your school closed on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2022?

Published 2022-09-26 03:00

Day honors the victims, survivors of residential schools

Many kids across Canada will be staying home from school on Sept. 30.

That’s because it’s the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

It’s up to individual provinces to determine if a federal holiday includes school closures.

Provinces and territories where schools are closed:

Provinces where schools are open:

Why is it a holiday?

Sept. 30 was recognized as a federal holiday last year and was created based on a call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

It’s meant to allow Canadians time to reflect upon the country’s long, harmful history of residential schools.

Kids in Surrey, British Columbia, mark Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 29, 2021, the day before the holiday. (Image credit: Ben Nelms/CBC)

Residential schools existed between 1831 and 1996. Thousands of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were forced to attend these schools, where their culture was stripped from them.

The schools were funded by the Canadian government and run by Christian churches or provincial governments.

Thousands of kids died from abuse and neglect.

Tsartlip dancer Tala Leon looks on while attending the Xe xe Smun’ eem-Victoria Orange Shirt Day Every Child Matters ceremony in Victoria, British Columbia on Sept. 30, 2021. (Image credit: Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

Why are schools open in Ontario and Quebec?

A spokesperson for the government of Ontario told CBC Toronto that the province has chosen to treat the day like Remembrance Day.

“Ontario is working in collaboration with Indigenous partners, survivors and affected families to ensure the respectful commemoration of this day within the province,” Curtis Lindsay, press secretary for Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford, said in an email.

According to an article published by The Canadian Press last year, Quebec Premier François Legault said he had no intention of making Sept. 30 a holiday because “we need more productivity.”

Opposition parties and Indigenous groups in both provinces have been putting pressure on these governments to recognize the holiday as a day off from work and school.

In New Brunswick this week, Premier Blaine Higgs announced Sept. 30 would be officially recognized as a holiday.

The announcement came after the province was criticized for calling a provincial holiday to recognize Queen Elizabeth’s funeral but not for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Last year, schools were open in that province.

Want to learn more?

If you’d like to spend some time educating yourself on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, here are some articles you may find useful:

What is reconciliation?

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With files from The Canadian Press and CBC News

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