WHITEHORSE -National Truth and Reconciliation Day is now a statutory holiday in the Yukon.
A bill declaring Sept. 30 as a statutory holiday was unanimously approved Wednesday.
Annie Blake, the Yukon NDP representative of the Vuntut Gwitchin electoral district, sponsored the bill.
She says the holiday ensures everyone in the territory can reflect on the “shared history of colonialism and commemorate the legacy of residential schools.”
For the first time in Yukon history, the bill also recognizes the genocide of Indigenous Peoples through federal policies including forced attendance at residential schools.
The Opposition Yukon Party supports the new holiday, but issued a statement saying New Democrats, who hold the balance of power in the territory’s Liberal minority government, have agreed to support its call for consultation to sidestep financial costs by cutting an existing holiday from the territory’s calendar.
“To mitigate additional costs to businesses due to the addition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Yukon Party supports the removal of a current statutory holiday to be identified during government consultation,” the statement says.
The Yukon Party would like to see discussions with the private sector and Yukon residents to determine if another holiday should be removed, and if so, which one.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2022.