Unifor welcomes the establishment of September 30 as a national statutory holiday to recognize the widespread abuse at residential schools, honour survivors, and work for reconciliation.
September 30 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 30 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.
Wear an orange t-shirt to honour of survivors and their families and participate in Orange Shirt Day events to recognize and raise awareness about the history and legacies of the residential school system in Canada. Please send your photos to email@example.com and share online with the hashtag #unifor and #everychildmatters
Learn more about the artwork commissioned by Unifor for the 2021 t-shirts.
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
Truth and Reconciliation Week: September 27 – October 1: https://nctr.ca/education/trw/general-public-schedule/?fbclid=IwAR1fZqK…
First Nations Family and Child Caring Society of Canada
September 30 at the Beechwood Cemetery
Healing Walk/Orange Shirt Day Pow wow
September 30 at 11 a.m. at the Canadian Human Rights Museum. The event ends at St. John’s Park – Welcome Home Powwow to follow 1:00 pm
Indian Residential School Survivors Society
Orange Shirt Society
National Association of Friendship Centres
Find a friendship centre in your region: https://nafc.ca/?lang=en
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (Near former Kamloops residential school)
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is inviting the world to virtually participate in an honour song and drum for the children: September 30 at 2:15 p.m. Pacific Time https://tkemlups.ca/drum/