District 3 Statement on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Today, September 30, 2021, a new federal statutory holiday has been introduced, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This new federal holiday is an important part of the reconciliation process that has been called for by Indigenous people and by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

No provincial or territorial government in District 3 has legislated this day as a statutory holiday. Several governments, including British Columbia, Manitoba, Yukon, and NWT are giving some public employees the day off and, in some cases, closing schools for the day. Some of our employers have chosen to observe this day while others will continue to work their regular shifts.

September 30 was chosen for the federal holiday because it coincides with Orange Shirt Day, named for the story shared by Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, whose brand-new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was stripped from her on her first day at residential school when she was six years old. Orange Shirt Day is meant to reaffirm that the survivors of residential school, and those affected by it, matter. The originators of Orange Shirt Day chose September 30 because that is the time of year in which children were historically taken from their homes to attend residential schools.

The ongoing discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential schools in Western Canada has caused a painful weight this year and we share that grief.

I encourage all Steelworkers to take the opportunity to reflect on the painful legacy and impacts of Canada's residential school system has had on Indigenous people. Whatever that reflection looks like, from attending an event, reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, or quiet reflection at work or home is up to you.

Let’s all take the opportunity to reflect on the history and do our part to educate ourselves and those around us by taking real and actionable steps:

In solidarity,

Steve Hunt
District 3 Director

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