The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a deeply important day to recognize and commemorate the legacy of Residential Schools in Canada.
The significance of the date, September 30, stems from Orange Shirt Day.
“Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891–1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. This project was the vision of Esketemc (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins, who is a former student himself.”
“The annual Orange Shirt Day on September 30 opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. A discussion all Canadians can tune into and create bridges with each other for reconciliation. A day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those that have been affected. Every Child Matters, even if they are an adult, from now on.” – OrangeShirtDay.org
We encourage you to learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada calls to action, including an organization’s responsibility to provide educational opportunities for management and staff on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of Residential Schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action report can be found here.
While not legislated to provide September 30 as a statutory holiday, MEC has made the decision as a provincially regulated employer to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a paid day of reflection and action, or a day of work compensated with statutory pay.
After consultation with partners and connecting with MEC’s internal staff teams, we understood that education, awareness and financial investment continue to be important to us as an organization. Therefore, we will be working alongside Indigenous leaders to expand our internal education; increasing our financial commitment to longtime MEC partner Spirit North; providing a financial donation to Orange Shirt Day Society; continuing written land acknowledgement installs in all MEC stores; distributing orange ribbons for staff uniforms to increase awareness; and creating an evolving educational hub to connect staff with relevant events and learning opportunities.
We encourage you to learn more about Spirit North and the amazing work they are doing to support reconciliation. Spirit North is a national charitable organization that uses land-based activities to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous youth, empowering them to become unstoppable in sport, school and life. Learn more at spiritnorthxc.ca and please join us in donating to this important work, if you are in a position to contribute.
Our retail stores will remain open on September 30 and employees scheduled to work will be provided statutory holiday pay or a paid day off based on personal requests. The MEC Home Office and distribution centre will be closed.