Commemoration and reflection on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Publish date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 presidentsMessage
If you need someone to talk to today, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is 1 (866) 925-4419. AMAPCEO members can access to the Employee and Family Assistance Program, which also offers 24 hour support.
Earlier this week, I had the honour of participating in an event hosted by the Indigenous Circle at AMAPCEO to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This event included an introduction by Chair Tim Sim, a moving smudging ceremony by Vice-Chair Waasmowin-Mndioo, and a powerful recorded poem by June Taylor. I was incredibly proud to be asked to take part and to be in community with my fellow AMAPCEO members.
The call for a National Day of Truth and Reconciliation to commemorate the history and legacy of residentials schools is, of course, just one of ninety-four calls to action, but I was pleased when the federal government passed legislation to designate September 30 as a long-overdue day of recognition. And while I’m glad the provincial government followed suit on a “without precedent basis” this year, AMAPCEO will continue to strongly advocate for the province to make the observance of this day permanent.
It is important to remember that, especially in the wake of the recent uncovering of unmarked graves near former residential schools across Canada, individuals and communities are in mourning. For those affected, one day of observance is not always enough. That is why the AMAPCEO Board of Directors has agreed for Tim to join me at our next AMAPCEO-Central Employee Relations Committee meeting with the OPS Employer to request that the Treasury Board consider providing Indigenous employees impacted by these tragedies with additional time to mourn, commemorate, and continue to process these terrible losses.
There is a long, painful history between settlers and Indigenous people in Canada, and an inequitable present. We all must be open to hearing and accepting the truth of our history and its legacy, and committed to taking concrete steps toward reconciliation if we are ever to move toward a future of healing and justice.
I encourage all AMAPCEO members to use September 30 as a time to commemorate to reflect on the history of residential schools and to seek guidance from Indigenous survivors, communities, and leaders on how best to honour the lives lost. I urge governments and decision makers to finally honour promises made to Indigenous people and communities, and I urge each of us to continue to educate ourselves and to hold our leaders accountable.
I believe progress is being made, but so much more is needed. Let us all use the time offered us tomorrow thoughtfully and intentionally.
President & CEO
More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).