National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Bill C-5 creates a federal holiday.
Legislation to designate September 30 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation has received Royal Assent after being adopted unanimously in the Senate.
Bill C-5 advances Call to Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to ensure public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools, and to honour survivors, as well as their families and communities.
“The trauma caused by the residential schools continues to be felt today,” said Senator Brian Francis, sponsor of the legislation in the Senate, during a speech in the Senate.
“It has been said before, but it bears repeating: the residential school system is not a dark chapter in our past, it is a lived reality for many.”
- Watch Senator Francis’ full speech here.
The residential school system operated across Canada for 160 years – taking an estimated 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children from their homes. The last residential school closed in 1996.
“The establishment of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is, in itself, significant because it is a formal and public acknowledgement of what was done to survivors and their families and communities,” Senator Francis said.
“So much of the history of this country has been hidden. That has created a deep divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people that needs to be addressed. The new holiday will mark a new chapter – one where we will all walk together, side by side, to heal and repair the relationships damaged by the residential school system and other policies and practices.”