On September 30th, the City of Ottawa and its employees will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This year will be the first time the statutory holiday is observed. The new national holiday is intended “to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s call to action number 80 by creating a holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which seeks to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors, their families, and communities, and to ensure that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
Canada’s federal government enacted legislation on June 3rd, 2021, to establish that each year, on September 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation would be observed. The date of the statutory holiday coincides with Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots movement in recognition of Phyllis Webstad.
To mark the day, Mayor Jim Watson will issue a proclamation to declare September 30th the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Additionally, at sunset on September 30th, the Heritage Building, the lights on Marion Dewar Plaza, and the OTTAWA sign in the ByWard Market will be illuminated orange to recognize and commemorate the legacy of the residential school system and the impact it has had on Indigenous communities.
Leading up to September 30th, the Gender & Race Equity, Indigenous Relations, Diversity and Inclusion branch will support learning opportunities for City staff, host a virtual circle with the First Nations, Inuit and Métis staff affinity group, and assist in the promotion of local or virtual learning events taking place this year.
All City of Ottawa Client Service Centres will be closed to the public, as well as the City’s administrative buildings. Like Remembrance Day observances, recreational facilities will remain open and registered programming will be continued, while the OC Transpo train and bus service may operate on a reduced schedule.
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