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Calgary Board of Education to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Calgary Board of Education

Calgary Board of Education schools will be closed Sept. 30 to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

CBE Supt. Christopher Usih made the announcement in a letter to parents and guardians on Friday.

"The intention of the day is to recognize and honour residential school survivors, their families and communities. It will also ensure that public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process," it read.

Because it is a federal holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation only automatically applies to the federal government, federal crown boards and agencies and federally regulated companies.

"However, for the 2021-22 school year, Thursday, Sept. 30 will be a non-operational day to commemorate truth and reconciliation across the Calgary Board of Education. This means there will be no classes and schools will be closed for the day," said Usih.

"As a result of this change, Friday, Dec. 10 will once again be a regular school day."

That will only apply for this year, added Usih, and CBE officials will determine how to mark the day going forward.

CBE has asked that all schools recognize Truth and Reconciliation Week from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, 2021. 

"This week will honour Every Child Matters and Orange Shirt Day and provides flexibility for schools to select at least one school day within this week to recognize Orange Shirt Day with students while learning about the history and legacy of residential schools," said Usih.

The provincial government says it will encourage all Albertans to reflect on the impact residential schools had on Indigenous people and Canada as a whole. Officials said government buildings will have their flags lowered on Sept. 30 and ceremonies are planned to take place.

As for the holiday itself, officials say the decision about whether or not employees will have a day off is up to the employer in cases where a collective bargaining agreement does not expressly say that federally regulated holidays are granted.

Nevertheless, the Alberta government says the memorial for the victims should not take place on just one day.

"Alberta’s government will work with First Nations and Métis communities in establishing a permanent memorial on the Alberta legislature grounds for the victims of the residential school system, so that those who were so deeply affected by the terrible legacy of residential schools will forever be remembered," said Adrienne South, press secretary for Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson in an email to CTV News.

"The government of Alberta is also committed to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s provincial calls to action, including helping Indigenous Albertans reclaim their traditional Indigenous names." Top Stories

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