The Local 506 union office will be closed on Thursday, September 30th as we welcome the establishment of this date as a national statutory holiday to recognize the widespread abuse at residential schools, honour survivors, and work for reconciliation.
September 30th has been known as Orange Shirt Day since 2013. It is named after the clothing taken from Phyllis (Jack) Webstad when she was six years old on her first day at residential school.
The day’s slogan “Every Child Matters” is a plea to value and care for all children, something that was not the standard held by the churches administering residential schools, nor the Government of Canada, which is still in court fighting equal funding for on-reserve children.
Unifor members have long organized for justice on Orange Shirt Day. Efforts have only increased since the remains of missing children were discovered on the site of a former residential school near Kamloops B.C. followed by the uncovering of more bodies at former schools across Canada.
The mass grave confirms what Indigenous communities have said for decades – thousands of children went to the school and never returned home. It is a reminder of the scale of colonial violence that still haunts survivors and their families today.
On September 30th Unifor amplifies the calls from Indigenous Rights Holders for accountability. Organizations and individuals who are responsible for stealing and abusing children must be held accountable. It’s also time to end the impunity for those who covered up these crimes or continue to block the release of records.
Among those calls for justice, Unifor supports the Assembly of First Nations complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Reconciliation is not possible until Every Child Matters.