Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local Union 562.

News Archive

Re: Sept 30 National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
Sep 23, 2021

Sep 22, 2021
The Canadian Government has proclaimed September 30 as National Day of Recognition for Truth and Reconciliation.
The purpose of this day is to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential institutions where tens of thousands
of Indigenous children were taken from their families and forced to attend segregated institutions to eliminate their
indigenous languages and culture.
To be clear the union states that September 30 is a recognized holiday under our Collective Agreements and that all
members should be either away from work or, if they are required to work, (and this should be only in very few
circumstances) must be paid the appropriate holiday premium. However, both the Ontario Sheet Metal Contractors
Association (OSMCA) and the Electrical Power Systems Contractors Association (EPSCA) do not agree that our Collective
Agreements recognize September 30 as a holiday. That means that as of now, members working in EPSCA and in ICI
Sheet Metal will be required to go to work on September 30. In ICI Roofing the Employers have agreed to honour
September 30 as a holiday.
If our employers in EPSCA and ICI Sheet Metal continue to choose to ignore the National Day of Recognition for Truth
and Reconciliation, we will be grieving them for this failure. In our view technical and superficial legal arguments about
whether the language in various collective agreements apply, or not, are missing the point. Our Union intends to
honour this day and we expect our employer partners to do the right thing and support the National Day of Recognition
for Truth and Reconciliation.
The Union notes that Ontario’s three Chief Justices have recently issued a statement emphasizing the importance of
this day. In the circumstances they have elected to keep the Court of Appeal of Ontario, Superior Court of Justice, and
Ontario Court of Justice closed on September 30 regardless of whether the Ontario Government has proclaimed
provincial legislation to mirror the federal legislation.
In making this determination the Courts stated:
This day calls upon all of us to reflect on the importance of reconciliation with indigenous peoples in
You may be wondering how a day away from the workplace can recognize the horrors of the residential institution
systems. On its own it cannot. But this day is a good start. It is a first step to recognize Canada’s past and ongoing
failures, in the hope sometime soon we can make meaningful change. In our view it is up to each and every member
of our union to make the most of this day.
The Ontario Sheet Metal Workers’ and Roofers’ Conference encourages members to use the day to educate themselves.
Attend an event in your community, in person or virtually and familiarize themselves with the Truth and Reconciliation
Report. These first steps can lead to the beginning of meaningful change that all of us need to commit to.
Mike Mahon
Business Manager, OSMWRC