FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has declared Sept. 30 a provincial holiday in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day honours the children who never returned home from residential schools, as well as survivors, their families and communities.

“It is important to recognize the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “On Sept. 30, I encourage New Brunswickers to take a moment to pause and reflect upon what we can do as individuals to advance reconciliation.”

“I am humbled to see the government of New Brunswick make this important step in the reconciliation journey,” said Aboriginal Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn. “While this is a day to commemorate the tragic history of residential schools and honour those who did not make it home, as well as their survivors and families, I would encourage all to reflect and be reminded that reconciliation is not just one day of the year.”

The day will be treated as any other holiday for management and non-union employees in Parts I, II and III of the provincial public service. This includes central government departments and agencies, as well as the anglophone and francophone school systems. Collective agreement terms and conditions for holidays will apply to unionized employees in Parts I, II and III. This holiday will be optional for private sector businesses.

As usual, all essential services, including health care, will continue to be delivered.

The declaration of a holiday is one of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The provincial government has either initiated or completed 27 of the 31 Calls to Action that fall under its jurisdiction.