Dear CUPE Local 5430 member:
We have been receiving a lot of questions from the membership regarding this holiday. And, to be honest, we spent a bit of time absolutely sure that it is a statutory holiday and that Article 28.01 of our collective agreement applies. Late in the day on Wednesday, September 14th the employer sent us a letter telling us the employer will not be honouring the day as a paid holiday.
They told us that Monday will be a regular working day for all employees of the SHA and that, “Employees are asked to recognize the significance of (the Queen’s) legacy and passing in their own ways, as they feel appropriate.”
There are some legally significant differences between how the Day for Truth and Reconciliation was proclaimed which may prove to be a hurdle when it comes to a grievance.
- Here’s the language of the actual proclamation:
“Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, directs that a proclamation be issued requesting that the people of Canada set aside September 19, 2022 as the day on which they honour the memory of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, who passed away on September 8, 2022.”
The reason the words “set aside” are in bold is because setting something aside is neither a declaration nor a proclamation. Article 28.01 speaks about a proclaimed holiday.
- The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation declaration received royal assent and was written into legislation. No such process took place for September 19th, 2022. It was announced by the Prime Minister and clarified in a tweet later and then clarified again. The day and it’s meaning is ill defined. It was mostly left up to the provinces and employers to choose whether they will honour it as a paid holiday or not.
That being said, there are other facts which concern us more. Those are as follows:
- The employer had a choice. They could have chosen to give you a paid holiday, to pay you one extra day and they chose not to. Many small employers across the province chose otherwise. We believe this employer should make better choices.
- On September 7th the Ministry of Health held a news conference to announce a $60 million recruitment and retention plan. That plan included, among other things, various financial incentives for new employees. If the employer truly cares about retaining employees than it should start thinking about how to treat their current staff better. Choosing to give them this holiday would have been a good start. It should have been a start.
This was announced very suddenly without any notice which makes it difficult to have time to think and plan. With that in mind, CUPE 5430 has written an open letter to the Minister of Health urging him to ask the SHA to change their position.
The letter is attached for your information.
As always, we will keep you updated as things develop.