The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) is calling on the provincial government to commit to recognizing September 30 as the Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Saskatchewan at the earliest opportunity.
In June 2021, the federal government passed legislation to enact a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. A number of provinces, workplaces, schools and municipalities across the country – including the City of Regina, the City of Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina and others – have chosen to recognize this date as well.
However, the Saskatchewan government recently announced it would not make the statutory holiday apply to provincial employees, and has not made any decisions regarding a commitment to do so in the future.
“It’s extremely disappointing that Premier Scott Moe and his government have not made it a priority to declare September 30 a statutory holiday, especially in light of the recent discovery of unmarked graves in communities across the province,” Sauer said. “Such a holiday would provide time for all of us to honour the survivors and those who didn’t make it home by participating in community events and educating ourselves about the sad history of Canada’s residential school system and the current issues faced by Indigenous communities,” Sauer added.
“I’m pleased that several workplaces represented by SGEU already have language in their collective agreements with a provision that allows for an additional designated holiday if it is proclaimed by an act of parliament,” Sauer said. “However, we believe the provincial government should act as soon as possible to ensure all Saskatchewan residents are given this same opportunity on September 30.”
SGEU will raise the issue at all contract negotiations if the government fails to declare the day a statutory holiday before then.
“SGEU’s position is very clear,” Sauer said. “We believe it is very important to have the day declared provincially and begin working with Indigenous leaders, organizations and communities to figure out the best and most respectful ways to move forward on reconciliation.”
The Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action No. 80 called upon the federal government to collaborate with the Indigenous community to establish a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, to honour survivors, their families, and communities; and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
For more information, contact:
Carolyn Rebeyka, Communications Officer