Statutory holidays are days of national or cultural importance.
Right now, Canada has five that are nationally recognized: Canada Day, Labour Day, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Good Friday.
TL;DR Canada is probably getting a new holiday. Below is listed everything we know so far about the proposed day of observance.
But now the government is poised to add a sixth to that list: a day dedicated to indigenous people and culture.
The proposed holiday is long overdue and officials are still hammering out the details, but here's everything we know so far:
The holiday will generally celebrate indigenous people in Canada.
A holiday to recognize indigenous people and the genocide perpetrated by the Canadian government is one of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconcilation Commission.
So far, no holiday focuses specifically on indigenous people in Canada. Though American and Canadian Thanksgiving have different roots, the holiday is generally perceived as a representation of a false tradition of cooperation between settlers and the original inhabitants of this continent.
Shockingly, the U.S. still celebrates "Columbus Day," which some municipalities have changed to "Indigenous Peoples Awareness Day."
No one knows yet exactly what the focus of the holiday will be.
A single holiday to celebrate indigenous culture in all its diversity seems reductive. Officials are still trying to figure out exactly what the holiday will celebrate or commemorate. A holiday dedicated to genocide also seems inappropriate.
According to CTV News, indigenous groups will ultimately decide on the nature of the day.
Most Canadians will get the day off.
Yes, many will get the day off from work. But don't expect to plan long weekend trips.
It will be a national day of reckoning.
The holiday is not designed to cater to settlers. This is not simply a day off. This will be a time of national reckoning – a time to consider just how much each and every one of us settlers has benefited from genocide in Canada.
It will also be a time of cultural exchange and an opportunity to learn more about indigenous society in the country.
It will likely be in June or September.
Right now, officials are debating the exact date. But so far, it looks like the holiday will fall either on June 21st or September 30th.
Each province will have to ratify the holiday.
If parliament passes the law creating the new holiday, each provincial government will still have to vote to institute it.
It's likely that no province will decide to dismiss a holiday for indigenous people, but all Canadians should still be ready to call their MPPs/MNAs to voice their support.