Manitoba says there will be no Orange Shirt public holidays this year as talks continue

The Manitoba government still plans to make the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation an official public holiday, but says it’s too late to change this year.

“It would be very disrespectful to everyone to introduce something at this point,” Labor Minister Reg Helwer said on Wednesday.

“We had legislation that we were working on and consulting with workers and businesses and consulting with First Nations and other groups and that made me think we need a lot more advice from a lot of people on how this should go. ”

Also known as Orange Shirt Day, the day was created to honor Phyllis Webstad’s experience of taking a gift of clothes from her grandmother on Webstad’s first day at boarding school.

The federal government recently made the day, which falls on September 30, a public holiday for its workers and government-regulated workplaces. The Northwest Territories government followed with an announcement in July.

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READ MORE: Manitoba Premier says Orange Shirt Day could become a provincial public holiday

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said earlier in the summer that her progressive Conservative government could follow suit in time for this year. But in less than a month, provincial-regulated companies haven’t been told to give employees the day off.

Helwer said consultations with indigenous groups on how to mark the day are ongoing. He also said companies would need more than 30 days’ notice.

“It would be very awkward for business to force that on them.”

The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce supports the idea of ​​a public holiday. About 70 percent of members who took part in a recent poll supported the change.

Months ago, the opposition New Democrats pushed for a bill introducing the public holiday.

Chamber President Loren Remillard said he understands the province needs more time to ensure the holiday is not just a day off, but an opportunity to reflect on reconciliation.

“No one wants this holiday to be just a day off without a lesson learned from it,” Remillard said.

“It is not for us to say how best to discern truth and reconciliation. It’s a partnership, but it needs to be something informed and driven by indigenous voices and leadership.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press Manitoba says there will be no Orange Shirt public holidays this year as talks continue


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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