sept 30 holiday ontario

Here's what you need to know about the new September 30 holiday in Ontario

Sept. 30 is Canada's newest holiday and it may be its most important one yet. While it doesn't yet have the traditions of the Victoria Day or Labour Day long weekends, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation will be an essential day to reflect on the nation's past.

This year will mark the inaugural observance of this holiday.

What is the new Sept. 30 holiday?

Named the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the day is meant to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools where tens of thousands of First Nations children were taken from their families and forced to attend classes that separated them from their culture.

Earlier this year mass grave sites with thousands of bodies were found at these former schools, leading many to call for change.

As a result, the day has been created so we can reflect on the atrocities this nation committed against its original inhabitants. Unlike most holidays, this is not seen as a day for celebration but rather one for reflection.

Who gets the day off?

As a statutory holiday, it should follow the same guidelines that days such as Labour Day or Canada Day follow. Banks, federal offices, and many federal agencies will likely be closed that day. 

Retail stores and restaurants are free to remain open but hours will be limited and employees will be given premium pay for all hours worked on that day.

That being said, the Ontario government claims to have not received any guidance on what to do for that day, and as it stands right now all schools will remain open and provincial employees will not have the day off.

A number of provinces including New Brunswick, Alberta and Saskatchewan, have announced they won't be recognizing the date as a provincial statutory holiday to much backlash, so many people are eagerly awaiting Ontario's decision on the matter.

What should you expect?

Before it was a statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was started in 2013 as a day for observance and later became known as "Orange Shirt Day" where Canadians would wear the bright colour as a sign of their allyship and support toward Indigenous communities.

While people are still waiting on word from the provincial and federal governments on what sort of plans will be in place for Sept. 30, you can expect to see plenty of orange as Canadians show their support for this important new holiday.

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