Yesterday, Premier King announced that the Prince Edward Island government will observe September 30 as the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. Provincial government offices and schools will be closed for the day.
Health PEI fully supports recognizing this important day, which honours the lives lost, survivors, and their families and urges all residents of Canada to come together and reflect on how, as a nation, we can work towards a fair, equitable and inclusive future where all will be able to reach their fullest potential. I want to thank PEI Senator Brian Francis for his leadership in the movement to make this day a federal statutory holiday, and to Premier King for his leadership in recognizing this day provincially.
Following the province’s lead, on September 30th, Health PEI will be recognizing the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation across our health system.
Any administrative or non-clinical service or program that can close for the day is asked to do so, just as we would for other statutory holidays.
All clinical areas will remain open on September 30 to avoid any disruption that a closure would cause to patient or resident care, as many patients would have appointments and plans already in place for that day. However, people who work during a holiday be compensated for this time as a statutory holiday in accordance with your collective agreements.
In future years, when we have more time to plan clinical services for this holiday, we expect that some clinical areas that do not offer acute care, emergency care or long-term care will be able to close, as they would for other statutory holidays.
Earlier this year, following the heart-breaking discoveries of unmarked graves of residential school students across Canada, I shared that Health PEI, like all health authorities across Canada, needs to look deeply at how the health system provides care to all people. We need to ensure we are as culturally aware and culturally sensitive as possible as we strive to provide truly inclusive care.
On the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, please take time to think deeply about Canada’s history and its treatment of Indigenous peoples. Please learn about Indigenous cultures and reflect on what a better path forward can look like. A good resource for staff wanting to learn more and participate can be found at https://downiewenjack.ca/national-day-for-truth-and-reconciliation/
This day won’t solve our issues as a country, but it’s an important step in moving forward together.
Dr. Michael Gardam
Interim Chief Executive Officer