UNIFOR National

Orange Shirt Day

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.

Engagement Opportunities/Activities

Wear Orange!

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 communications@unifor.org and share online with the hashtag #unifor and #everychildmatters

Every Child Matters Healing Walk

The Windsor and District Labour Council, in solidarity with the Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre, encourages you to participate in the “Every Child Matters Healing Walk”.

We were devastated to learn about the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves associated with the Indian Residential Schools. While we try and understand the inter-generational trauma associated with these schools, we cannot begin to comprehend the full impact they had on First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people. The “Healing Walk” is an opportunity to learn, as well as showing our support of indigenous people by lifting up and amplifying their voices.

Please make an effort to participate in this important event. Although events begin at 11: am, there are opportunities to participate throughout the day. Healing Walk

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Truth and Reconciliation Week: September 27 – October 1: https://nctr.ca/education/trw/general-public-schedule/?fbclid=IwAR1fZqK…

Indian Residential School Survivors Society

https://www.irsss.ca/orange-shirt-day

Orange Shirt Society 

https://www.orangeshirtday.org/orange-shirt-society.html

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/

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