New Statutory Holiday Expected In British Columbia

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The British Columbia government recently proposed legislation to create a new annual provincial statutory holiday on September 30th.  Named the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the statutory holiday was first created by the federal government in 2021 as a step in the reconciliation process and in response to call to action number 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. According to a provincial government press release, “[e]nshrining National Truth and Reconciliation Day in B.C. law will give more people the chance to commemorate the history and legacy of the residential school system on September 30 each year”.

The legislation creating this new statutory holiday is expected to pass shortly.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation has been a federal holiday since 2021; however, it only applied to employers and employees subject to the Canada Labour Code, such as banks, radio and television broadcasting, air transportation, first Nations band councils, crown corporations, and road transportation services that cross provincial or international borders. Most organizations in British Columbia are not federally regulated and, therefore, were not obliged to provide time off to employees on September 30th. This will change assuming the legislation passes and a new provincial statutory holiday is created.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be British Columbia’s 11th statutory holiday. Like other statutory holidays, eligible employees are entitled to a paid day off or, if required to work, holiday pay at premium rates.

British Columbia joins Prince Edward Island, the federal government, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in enshrining the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday.