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National Truth and Reconciliation Day to close federal, provincial services for a day, but not all affected

Which businesses and services will close in observance of the new federal holiday Sept. 30?
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Public services will be affected by the new federal National Day for Truth and Reconciliation holiday, but private businesses less so.

Earlier this year the federal government created a new federal statutory holiday: the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

It was created as a day for Canadians to reflect on the history of the brutal residential school system in the country and its impact on First Nations communities nationwide. This year it'll take place Sept. 30, often also known as Orange Shirt Day, which was started to commemorate the experience of residential school survivors in Williams Lake.

"The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process," states the federal government.

As a new federal statutory holiday, many are getting the day off of work, but it's not as clear-cut as other days off.

Along with federal public service workers having the day off, the holiday affects federally regulated industries like air transport and postal services. Banks are another private industry that'll be taking the day essentially industry-wide including the likes of CIBC, RBC and others. Vancity is also closing all its branches.

The courts will also be closed in B.C. for the day.

A big one is schools; all students in British Columbia's public education system will have the day off, which may cause some issues for those seeking childcare. Universities and colleges like UBC, SFU and UVic will all be closed for the day.

Vancouver Public Library locations, except Carnegie Library, will be closed on Sept. 30. 

The province has designated Sept. 30 a day of commemoration, not a statutory holiday. However, the Ministry of Finance has said provincial public-sector employees have been asked to observe the day. Unions like the Hospital Employees' Union and Professional Employees Association have indicated the majority of their members will be off. That affects medical services like physiotherapists.

Because the province hasn't made the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a statutory holiday, many businesses are legally bound to make it a holiday for their employees and it will be a decision made by individual business owners, not at an industry level.

The City of Vancouver has said it'll be observing the day, but other local governments, like Metro Vancouver, haven't made similar announcements. The Vancouver Public Library has not indicated branches will be closed on Sept. 30.

-with files from Wayne Moore / Castanet and Darron Kloster, Andrew Duffy / Times Colonist