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One Day’s Pay: A Path to Reconciliation

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National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

FRANÇAIS

In 2021, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared September 30 would be Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“Today, I invite everyone across the country to recognize and observe the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation,” he said. “It is a day to reflect on the painful and lasting impacts of residential schools in Canada, and to honour survivors, their families, and their communities. It is also a day to remember the many children who never returned home, and an opportunity for us all to learn more, and to affirm the need for reconciliation and commit ourselves to the work ahead.”

Trudeau went on to say that “this federal day builds on the momentum of Orange Shirt Day, which was inspired by the story of Phyllis Webstad and chosen by Indigenous peoples to remember the legacy of residential schools and promote the path of reconciliation.”

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a federal statutory holiday and applies to federally regulated workplaces, such as banks, airlines, and the post office. Provinces observing the day as a statuary holiday in 2023 include British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, North West Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island and Yukon.

But news of the creation of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021 felt a bit awkward for Josh Hensman, a city government worker from British Columbia. “Here we are that privileged people like me get a paid day off on September 30, but the people who this day might be for are not any better off,” he says.

Hensman began working on the One Day’s Pay campaign with The Circle on Philanthropy—an organization that “transforms philanthropy and contributes to positive change between philanthropy and Indigenous communities by creating spaces of learning, innovation, relationship-building, co-creation, and activation.” AFP Canada and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada have also worked with The Circle and earlier this year the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada became a member.

The Circle shared its excitement about the One Day’s Pay campaign “it’s a tangible way to show how simple it is to fund Indigenous organizations locally,” says Kris Archie, CEO of The Circle, who appeared on video with Josh Hensman to talk about it. “It was important for us to find groups that are supporting survivors, doing policy work for Indigenous communities and raising awareness.”

“I think a lot of settlers at this point are really starting to think about the issues,” says Hensman. “They are asking questions like how I can help, what can I do, how can I take action, and that’s the same place I came from, just not knowing what to do personally.”

“When I see this campaign and imagine the folks who might give, they are folks who have barbeques on Canada Day, who love their hockey team, folks who take pride in being Canadian. But I want their pride to mean more,” Archie says on the video. “It’s also about being able to be willing to face the harm this country has done and continues to do … [but knowing] there is a true opportunity … to help.”

In 2021, under the guidance of The Circle on Philanthropy, and in the wake of revelations of hundreds of unmarked graves alongside Indian residential schools in 2021, One Day’s Pay raised almost half a million dollars for The Orange Shirt Society and Indian Residential School Survivors Society. In 2022, it raised a quarter of a million dollars for Indigenous-led organizations and movements. In 2023, One Day’s Pay is featuring the following groups which you can donate directly to through this website:

Across the country, hundreds of community activities will be taking place the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. From September 30 at 7:00 p.m. to sunrise on October 1, buildings across Canada will be flooded in orange from the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill to the CN Tower in Toronto.  

People from coast to coast to coast will be donning orange shirts to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools to show their support. The federal government has an array of materials available for posting on social media.

Others will take the time to reflect and learn about the experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The final report of the National Committee of Truth and Reconciliation, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action and Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls are excellent resources.

Courses available include: 

Print and video resources are available from: 

AFP encourages everyone to take the opportunity to learn and to share great resources they are using to do so. Please email them to info@afpcanada.org so we can compile a resource bank for members.

Donations to One Day’s Pay can be made here.

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