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Manitoba to make National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a statutory holiday

Sherry Starr and Wab Kinew lead the grand entrance at the second annual Orange Shirt Day Survivors Walk and Pow Wow in Winnipeg, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The Manitoba government has introduced a bill in the legislature to make Sept. 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a statutory holiday.

Premier Wab Kinew says ensuring people can have the day off work may help them commemorate and honour the experiences of children who went to residential schools.

Click to play video: '‘Willing to listen’: Winnipeg advocates on Orange Shirt Day'
‘Willing to listen’: Winnipeg advocates on Orange Shirt Day

The day is also known as Orange Shirt Day, in memory of Phyllis Webstad, whose new clothing was taken away when she arrived at a residential school.

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It is already a holiday for workers under federal jurisdiction and those in some other provinces, including British Columbia.

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Manitoba’s former Progressive Conservative government said it was considering making the day a holiday, but never followed through as it was still consulting business and Indigenous leaders.

Kinew, whose New Democrats were elected last month, says he hopes the bill will get passed before the winter break begins next week.

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