The number of employers in Saskatchewan offering a paid day off on September 30 is increasing as Canada is scheduled to mark the first National Truth and Reconciliation Day.
However, some employees in the province will not have the benefit of a legal holiday next week.
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“I think he is more than deaf. I think it says a lot about the racism that is so ingrained in this province, ”said Betty Nippi-Albright, MLA of the Saskatchewan NDP.
The provincial opposition is asking the government to make that day a legal holiday as well.
Provincial employees that are not regulated by the federal government will not have paid days off.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations hopes that the prime minister and the government will support the initiative.
“We all hear the terms of reconciliation and so forth. Well, here’s another chance to do it. Let’s do this together. Let’s heal together, ”Chief Bobby Cameron said.
The City of Saskatoon Recognizes National Truth and Reconciliation Day as an Official Holiday
Global News requested an interview with the Minister responsible for First Nations, Metis and Northern Affairs, but were provided with a written statement instead.
“Saskatchewan will lower the flags on all provincial government buildings and establishments at half-staff. We continue to proclaim September 30 as Orange Shirt Day and encourage Saskatchewan residents to commemorate and reflect on the ongoing and historical trauma caused by the residential school system, ”the statement read.
The Saskatoon Tribal Council said the day should be used to teach people about Canada’s past and what happened in residential schools.
“Just because you wear an orange shirt doesn’t mean you understand what happened. So here is an educational process on what history is and that’s the most important thing, ”said tribal chief Mark Arcand.
Saskatoon students will not attend classes on National Truth and Reconciliation Day
Some employers in the province have taken steps to give workers a day off.
On September 24, the Saskatchewan Health Authority announced that select employees would have a paid holiday on September 30.
The Saskatoon Police Service and the cities of Saskatoon and Regina are also among those that give employees paid day off.
Meanwhile, Nippi-Albright, who is also the opposition critic for Truth and Reconciliation, said she feels the government is ignoring the request.
“It’s basically telling us, as residential school survivors and citizens of this province, that we don’t matter,” he said.
The governments of British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories will mark the day as a provincial statistic.
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