The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees has filed a formal policy grievance against the Government of Alberta, in hopes of forcing the province to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
In August, the government announced it would not formally recognize the new statutory holiday with legislation. The government said the onus would be on individual employers to recognize this important holiday and grant a paid day off for staff.
“It defies common sense and decency,” says AUPE Vice-President Bobby-Joe Borodey, who is also chair of the union’s Human Rights Committee.
“If the government was going to leave this important responsibility up to employers, they should have taken a leadership role and honoured the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation themselves.”
AUPE said the government previously said it was considering whether it would observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The union filed the policy grievance against the government after workers at Calgary courts were given notice the courts would not recognize the holiday. This was the first indication AUPE received about whether government staff would receive the day off.
“How can any employer, let alone the provincial government, say they are working to act on reconciliation while refusing to acknowledge the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?” asks Borodey.
“If they are still searching for something to act on, here it is.”
AUPE is western Canada’s largest union, with more than 90,000 members across the province.