The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was originally proposed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Action 80 calls upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, to establish a statutory holiday “to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

In June of 2021, the federal government passed legislation to mark September 30, 2021 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. On March 9, 2023, the Province of British Columbia passed legislation to make September 30 a statutory holiday.

The date of September 30 was chosen because it was the time of year when Indigenous children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools.

It was formerly known as Orange Shirt Day, a movement that started to honour Indigenous children who were forced to leave their families to attend residential schools, and was intended as a day for all Canadians to create meaningful conversations about the effects and legacy of residential schools; for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter; and for all of us to uphold our commitment to reconciliation. The orange shirt comes from Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s experience as a six-year-old. Her grandmother had bought her a new “back to school” outfit, including an orange shirt. However, when she got to St. Joseph Mission Residential School, she was stripped and her clothes were taken away from her:

"The colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing.”
~ Phyllis Webstad

BCRPA and our members respect and acknowledge the many ancestral and unceded indigenous territories on which we in BC live, work, and play. We acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past and are committed to improving our relationships with the Indigenous community. We believe that recreation and parks can contribute to the healing and decolonizing journey we all share together.r

Recreation and Parks in BC are enjoyed by those who live, work and play in every corner of our province. Building healthy communities through Recreation and Parks, and creating strong connections to the land are some of the values we share with the Indigenous peoples of this province. 

We are committed to fostering respect, reconciliation, and mutual understanding with all Indigenous peoples and communities.

Working together with community partners such as I-SPARC, SportBC, and viaSport, we are committed to supporting our members and fitness leaders in creating positive and engaging physical activity, recreation, and community-based sport opportunities that contribute to the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples.

Within our own organization, we are committed to an ongoing process of self-education to improve our awareness of Indigenous issues and to increase the cultural competence of our staff and board members.

The BCRPA staff and Board of Directors encourage all our members and fitness leaders to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 whether through personal reflection, education and awareness activities, or by participating in Orange Shirt Day or other events within communities.

Some possible actions as individuals and organizations could include:

  • Wear an Orange Shirt to visually show support
  • Post staff / member/ or sector photos taken on this day of reflection
  • Create time to walk on the land, reflect on the traditional territory, and learn the history, land use and stories of the areas
  • Reflect on your connection to the land acknowledgement you may have on your communications