The following letter was sent to President of the Treasury Board Secretariat, Hon. Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, by OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas commending the decision to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a paid holiday for the Ontario Public Service.
Hon. Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria
President of the Treasury Board
99 Wellesley St. W, Room 4320
Toronto, ON, M7A 1W3
Re: OPS Observation of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Dear Minister Sarkaria:
Following my letter dated July 8, 2021 appealing to you and Minister McNaughton to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a provincial holiday, I am writing to thank you on the step forward that has been taken to observe this holiday on September 30 in the Ontario Public Service.
Since the federal government’s declaration of this statutory holiday, OPSEU/SEFPO has been dedicated to having this established as a provincially recognized day, to further the progress towards reconciliation and justice for Indigenous people.
We have led by example, providing our own employees with a paid holiday on September 30 to reflect on the past and the many Indigenous lives that have been lost. I’m happy to see that you, too, are leading by example in the decision to provide the Ontario Public Service employees with the same opportunity.
I sincerely hope that the rest of the province will follow.
Education and reflection are key components on the road ahead to unveiling truth and achieving reconciliation with the Indigenous people. It is unfortunate that it took the discovery of the mass graves of Indigenous children to open the eyes of Canadians to crimes against Indigenous people that have taken place for centuries, including our not-so-distant past, but it has led to important reflections and conversations that must continue. Thank you for your part in providing OPS staff with the opportunity to participate in this reconciliation.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union / Le Syndicat des employés de la fonction publique de l’Ontario (OPSEU/SEFPO)