National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – September 30, 2023

Sep 25, 2023

This week, Canadians will pause to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is important to take time to reflect on the lasting trauma created by residential schools and colonization, and to commit to take action.

Established in 2013 as Orange Shirt Day, September 30 was recognized by the Government of Canada as National Day for Truth Reconciliation in 2021. Now in its third year, this is a day to honour survivors, those who never returned home, as well as the families and communities who have been so deeply impacted by the residential school system.

As one of the largest health care systems in Canada, it is incumbent on us to commit to truth and reconciliation, and to ensure that we are living our values of dignity, respect, service, justice and responsibility in order to deliver compassionate and high-quality health care to all members of the communities we serve.

During the month of September, all St. Joseph’s Health System member organizations are flying the Survivors’ Flag. The Survivors’ Flag was created by residential school survivors as a way to honour the lives impacted by the residential school system. Each element of the flag’s moving design is meaningful, and I encourage you to learn more about the flag, reflect on its meaning and to read the reflections shared by survivors.

Raising the Survivors’ Flag is an important symbolic step in our journey towards truth and reconciliation. It is also a crucial reminder of the continuing need to do better, and to take concrete action.

How to take action: Many of our member organizations have created opportunities for healthcare workers to take action, and to learn more. I encourage you to seek out those opportunities.

Reflecting on the lasting impacts of colonization can be especially difficult for Indigenous staff. If you need to talk to someone, click here for a list of mental health supports for Indigenous Peoples.

Thank you to all St. Joseph’s Health System members for working together in supporting Indigenous communities as we continue on the path toward truth and reconciliation.

Liz Buller
President and CEO
St. Joseph’s Health System