Good afternoon Gentlemen
The Federal Government of Canada has declared September 30th as National Truth and Reconciliation Day. This will become the first instance of this statutory holiday for all Federal employees in this country. The new Federal statutory holiday coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which was started in 2013 as a way to honour indigenous children and educate Canadians about the impact the residentials school system had on indigenous communities.
We have reviewed the collective agreements in Ontario and it was found that the upcoming National Truth and reconciliation day will not apply to our membership under the current language in our agreements until such time as it is negotiated with appropriate language or until such time that the Province of Ontario declares the day a statutory holiday in kind.
The decision of the Ontario Government as of now is not to declare the day a statutory holiday. For our members it remains a regular work day as such. It should be noted that all Provinces who have chosen not to declare the day a statutory holiday are Progressive Conservative in the political affiliation of the current Provincial political leadership. (Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and Quebec).
The Ironworkers in Canada stand atop all other building trades when we look at the portion of our membership who are indigenous peoples of this Country. As such it is a sad day for Ontario and elsewhere that this day has been made a political item.
This item will be top of mind when we commence our next round of negotiations with the Employer associations of this Province.
Private organizations can also declare the day a holiday for its employees and as such the Canadian Office of Ironworkers International in addition to the Ontario Ironworkers District Council will be doing so effective todays date.
I urge you all to support any of our indigenous members in the Province of Ontario who wish to take the day off and additionally urge you all to mark the day with observance and reflection of truth and reconciliation on the state actions that are our collective history.
Executive Director of Canadian Affairs