National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Adopted as New Statutory Holiday for all Employees in the Northwest Territories

All employees in the Northwest Territories are now entitled to an additional statutory holiday. The Legislative Assembly recently adopted legislation which adds the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be observed on September 30 of each year to the list of statutory holidays under the Employment Standards Act. The holiday is to honour and commemorate the victims and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities.

This follows the creation of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by the Government of Canada for federal employees on June 3, 2021. At that time, the Government of the Northwest Territories announced that all employees subject to the Public Service Act would be entitled to the holiday, and that it would undertake consultations with stakeholders in relation to an amendment to the Employment Standards Act.

Following public engagement with stakeholders in December 2021, the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories adopted the new statutory holiday on June 3, 2022.

All employers in the Northwest Territories are now required to grant the holiday with pay to their employees in accordance with the Employment Standards Act. This means that, as with all other statutory holidays, employees must have worked for the employer for at least 30 days to be eligible for the holiday, and that any employee required to work on the holiday is entitled to holiday pay, in addition to pay equal to time and a half their regular rate of pay for each hour worked on the holiday. Different rules may apply to unionized workplaces depending on the terms of the collective agreement. Unionized employers should seek legal advice if they are in need of clarification as to the rules relating to statutory holidays applicable to their operations.

For any questions on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and how it impacts the workplace, or any questions on statutory holidays, please contact our Yellowknife office at 1.888.836.6684.