We pride ourselves on having strong transparent values at Plank, which is why we would like to share that we are closing the agency on September 30th to honour survivors, their families, and their communities and commemorate the history of residential schools.
September 30th: The National Day for Truth & Reconciliation
In June of 2021, the Government of Canada passed legislation to make September 30th a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The idea of having such a day was called upon in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) as one of the 94 recommendations in the TRC: Calls to Action. These were issued “in response to the injustices inflicted on First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, including the forced removal of children from their families to attend residential schools and the tragic abuse the children experienced there” (Source: mondaq).
To give you a bit more context about the importance of this discussion; the TRC exists to document the history and legacy of residential schools, which were operated between the late 1800s and the late 1900s. These schools existed as part of a federal policy to assimilate Indigenous people into Canadian society, in which more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend and thousands of lives were lost.
September 30th will serve as a day of reflection for people to recognize the harmful legacy of the residential school system in Canada. Unfortunately, this statutory holiday only applies to federally regulated employees, while most provinces have said they’re not officially observing the day as a paid day off.
Although it is not a provincial public holiday this year, Plank’s leadership, Steve & Warren, have decided to recognize the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation as a Plank statutory holiday moving forward.
I feel it is extremely unfortunate that most provincial governments have chosen not to make this a national united statutory holiday. The tragedy of the residential school system touches all Canadians. We won’t let that stop us from setting precedent in the private sector and closing for the day to reflect, remember and educate ourselves.Steve, Managing Partner, Plank
Learn, Reflect and Take Action
We urge all Canadians to speak out and put pressure on all of the parties that will form our next government to do better. Out of the 94 Calls to Action presented, sadly only 13 have been enacted. ⅕ of the TRC’s Calls to Action have seen no real demonstrable action as requested by the commissioners in 2015. As individuals, we need to take action, honour Survivors, their families, and communities and commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools. This is absolutely vital to the reconciliation process.
While our team will not be required to come to work, we will take the time on this day to learn about and reflect on Canada’s history of residential schools and Indigenous communities. We are encouraging everyone, including ourselves, to use this day as an opportunity to consider what each of us can do as individuals to advance reconciliation and help to create a better, more inclusive company, province, and country.
In the meantime, we will continue to do our part in taking action in any way we can. We have put together a list of resources for your own education and welcome any resources you may have to expand our knowledge on the subject:
- Inendi directed by Sarain Fox
- We Were Children directed by Tim Wolochatiuk
- Elder in the Making directed by Chris Hsiung & co-produced by Cowboy Smithx
- Indian Horse adapted from the novel by Richard Wagamese
- A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott
- Peace and Good Order: The Case for Indigenous Justice in Canada by Harold R. Johnson
- Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
- Genocidal Love: A Life After Residential School by Bevann Fox
- Donate to local Indigenous charities & individuals
- Show up to protests, marches, and observances
- Support Indigenous businesses
- Contact your Member of Parliament (MP)
For anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their Residential school experience, The Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available across Canada 24/7.
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