Today, the Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) issued an order to mark September 30th a holiday for the territory’s public service, commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Following the federal government’s lead, the GNWT established this holiday to provide public servants, including teachers, the opportunity to recommit to understanding the harmful legacy of residential schools in the Northwest Territories and to encourage them to take time to reflect and consider what they can do to advance reconciliation.
Under the Union of Northern Workers Collective Agreement, employees of the GNWT are provided a paid holiday when proclaimed by an Act of Parliament as a National Holiday or by an Act of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories as a Territorial Holiday.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation holiday will be observed by employees of both the federal and territorial governments starting this year, and will be observed annually moving forward. The NWT Employment Standards Act has not been amended to introduce the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as an NWT-wide statutory holiday and, as such, employees under the jurisdiction of the Employment Standards Act are not entitled to it.
Engagement on potential changes to the Employment Standards Act will be undertaken over the coming months to ensure the holiday is observed in the NWT in a manner that considers and respects the views of Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations, community governments, labour stakeholders, and private industry.
“The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to deliberate actions that advance reconciliation and help us move toward a future where all residents share in the benefits of a healthy, just, sustainable, and prosperous society. The introduction of this holiday for the territory’s public service will be an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of the residential school system and its impacts on Indigenous people and communities across the territory and Canada.”
-Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories
“Every year, September 30 will be a time for GNWT’s public servants to pause and think about the impacts of the residential school system, and how we can further advance reconciliation in the territory. I look forward to working with Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations, community governments, private industry and business stakeholders to determine how we can best mark this day for all residents in the years to come.”
-Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Finance
- In June 2021, the Government of Canada announced September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to commemorate the history and intergenerational trauma caused by residential schools, to be observed on September 30 each year by all federal employees and workers in federally regulated workplaces.
- Establishing September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in the NWT is consistent with the Priorities of the 19th Legislative Assembly and the Mandate of the Government of Northwest Territories commitment to respect calls for reconciliation. The holiday also responds to commitment #80 in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action that calls on the federal government to establish as a statutory holiday for Truth and Reconciliation.
- The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation has been established as a holiday for NWT public servants for September 30, 2021 under section 35(1) of the Public Service Act.
For media requests, please contact:
Senior Communications Officer
Department of Finance
Government of the Northwest Territories