EDMONTON—Alberta Health Services (AHS) must recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a paid holiday thanks to a successful policy grievance brought forward by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).
AHS refused to formally recognize this new holiday in 2021, but an independent arbitrator has ruled AHS must recognize it as per the collective agreements for AUPE members working in Nursing Care and General Support Services.
“This is a victory for workers, Indigenous peoples, and all those who wish to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation,” says Bobby-Joe Borodey, AUPE Vice-President and Chair of the union’s Human Rights Committee.
“It is disheartening and disappointing that AHS was not willing to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation without a fight,” she says.
Borodey notes this victory is just one small part of the reconciliation work that must be done. Establishing a statutory holiday to honour residential school survivors and their families was one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, but there are many more that must be addressed.
“Businesses and organizations like to proclaim a commitment to truth and reconciliation, but fold when asked to take any real responsibility, make any real sacrifices, or put their money where their mouth is, as AHS has shown,” she says.
“AHS is only recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation because Alberta’s largest union filed a successful policy grievance. Imagine how much resistance the other Calls to Action will face. That approach must change, and not just at AHS.”
Vice-President Borodey is available for interviews.
Please contact Alexander Delorme, Communications Officer: 780-264-9274 or firstname.lastname@example.org