Parliament Enacts New Statutory Federal Holiday—Truth and Reconciliation Day

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Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation) came into force on August 3, 2021. The Bill creates a new statutory holiday for federally-regulated employees that will take place on September 30 of each year. The holiday is named the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (the Truth and Reconciliation Day).

The Truth and Reconciliation Day will impact federally-regulated employees whose terms of employment are governed by the Canada Labour Code (CLC). 

The Truth and Reconciliation Day does not apply to provincially-regulated employees whose employment is governed by provincial employment standards legislation. To date, no provincial governments have amended the applicable provincial standards legislation to introduce a provincial equivalent to the Truth and Reconciliation Day.

Whether such provincial legislation will be introduced remains to be seen. However, provincially-regulated employers may decide to observe Truth and Reconciliation Day notwithstanding that it is not, at this time, required by provincial legislation.

Federally-regulated employees who are governed by the CLC are entitled to paid time off for the Truth and Reconciliation Day, just as they are for other federal statutory holidays, such as New Year’s Day. These employees are also entitled to a paid day off on the day preceding or following September 30 if the holiday falls on a non-working Saturday or Sunday.

Federally-regulated employers should review their employment contracts and collective agreements to consider their obligations in respect of this new holiday. These employers should plan ahead to provide this paid holiday beginning in the fall of 2021.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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