Province recognizes National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
The Prince Edward Island government will begin this year to observe September 30 as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Provincial government offices, schools in the Public Schools Branch and la Commission scolaire de langue française will be closed for the day. Some Island businesses and organizations may decide to also observe the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Also celebrated as Orange Shirt Day, this date is now known nationwide as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. This day calls on all Canadians and Islanders to remember the history of residential schools, through the experience of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, and the intergenerational impacts of its legacy on First Nations and Indigenous peoples.
The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is the outcome of federal Bill C-5, sponsored by PEI Senator Brian Francis. As a direct response to the Call to Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the statutory holiday is a day that honours the lives lost, survivors, and their families and urges all residents of Canada to come together and reflect on how, as a nation, we can work towards a fair, equitable and inclusive future where all will be able to reach their fullest potential.
“I applaud the decision made by Premier Dennis King and the Government of Prince Edward Island to begin formally observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 of each year. What a better place than the Birthplace of Confederation to, in partnership with Indigenous people, help move forward the path towards real and lasting reconciliation,” said Senator Brian Francis. “This new day will mark a new chapter in our shared history, one in which we will collectively honour the survivors, families and communities impacted by the residential school system, as well as actively recommit to building a more just and equitable future for generations to come.”
“On the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, I encourage all Islanders to take time to listen, learn, and act in solidarity with Indigenous people, including by joining in on events happening both in person and virtually,” added Francis.
This year, Premier King will be inviting Mi’kmaq leaders, members of the Indigenous community and the public to join him at the provincial administration building for two minutes of reflection, followed by the lowering of the flags to honour the lives of Indigenous peoples impacted by residential schools. Later that evening, the government offices in Charlottetown will be lit up in orange to recognize the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
“This year has been an exceptionally eye-opening time for Islanders and Canadians alike. We have heard from Indigenous leaders that the findings from unmarked graves at sites across the country have reopened unhealed wounds. As a nation, provincial and territorial leaders must find a way to work together to support Indigenous peoples through the intergenerational trauma these findings have reignited. As Indigenous communities begin to find some healing in embracing the spirits of their loved ones home, I would encourage everyone to reflect on our country’s history and the legacy of the residential schools. I know it is within us all to work together to be allies of Indigenous peoples here and elsewhere so that we all can move forward into tomorrow.”
- Premier Dennis King
This Fall, Premier King will be introducing an amendment to the Employment Standards Act to officially recognize September 30 as a provincial statutory holiday for all Islanders. Premier King has written to the Hon. Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition, and the Hon. Sonny Gallant, Leader of the Third Party, seeking their support to co-sponsor the amendment.
“We are incredibly fortunate in Prince Edward Island to have the strong voices of Senator Francis and the Mi’kmaq leadership that not only advocate for Indigenous peoples living on the Island, but who have openly welcomed opportunities for exchange and education with Islanders and visitors to PEI. In the weeks leading into Orange Shirt Day, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Treaty Day, and Mi’kmaq History Month, educational resources will be available to the civil service and public schools across the Island as part of the work we can do together to raise greater awareness and understanding of Indigenous history in PEI and Canada,” added Premier King.
Executive Council Office