National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – September 30th
September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day was created by an Act of Parliament to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s call to action number 80 which called upon “the Federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a federal statutory holiday. Banks, the post office and other federally regulated entities will be closed. The holiday will affect real estate closings, court and tribunal hearings and other legal matters.
Lawyers need to consider the impact of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on their practices:
- Civility: As many law firms will be observing the day by closing or holding events to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools, consider rescheduling matters scheduled for September 30th.
- Real estate transactions: For real estate lawyers, note that banks and the payments system will be closed on September 30th. As a result, avoid real estate closings on September 30th. For real estate closings already scheduled to close on September 30th, consider working with your client and the other party or parties to the transaction to reschedule the closing day.
- Calculating limitation periods and deadlines: different approaches are being taken by federal Courts and Tribunals compared to their provincial counterparts. See the “Courts and Tribunals” section below for more information.
- For hearings already scheduled for September 30th, determine whether the Court will be rescheduling the matter, and/or whether you should seek to reschedule the matter as counsel or clients may not be available due to the new holiday.
- For provincial court and tribunal matters, September 30th is not a statutory holiday. Set your court and filing deadlines. For matters with a September 30th deadline, as you and/or your clients may be preparing to take the day as a holiday, consider preparing to file in advance.
Commemorating the History and Legacy of Residential Schools
Lawyers and law firms seeking to learn more about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, or looking to develop ways to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools may wish to consult:
- National Center for Truth and Reconciliation
- Orange Shirt Day
- Legacy of Hope Foundation
- Gord Downie & Charlie Wenjack Fund National Day for Truth and Reconciliation discussion event
- Law Society of Ontario, National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Solidarity Day 2021
- Guide for Lawyers Working with Indigenous Peoples
- The Trauma Informed Lawyer Podcast
Courts and Tribunals
Courts and Tribunals are closed or operating on holiday schedules on September 30th.
- Ontario’s three Chief Justices have announced that the Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Court of Justice and Court of Appeal for Ontario will be closed except for matters that must be heard. According to their Public Statement, “Weekend and Statutory Holiday (bail) courts will operate. In the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, urgent matters such as those heard on statutory holidays will be heard.” Each court will provide further details as to court operations for September 30th.
- Provincial Tribunals: If you have upcoming matters with a provincial tribunal, check whether it will be operating on September 30th and consider how the day will be treated for calculating timelines.
- Supreme Court of Canada: The Registry Office will be closed, as September 30th is a federal holiday. Generally, holidays are included in the calculation of time for meeting Supreme Court of Canada deadlines, unless a deadline is less than six days, in which case the day is not included, or if the time limit for serving and filing a document falls on a holiday, in which case the document may be served or filed on the following business day. See the Supreme Court of Canada’s How to Calculate Deadlines for Serving and Filing Documents webpage.
- Federal Court of Appeal: As September 30th is a federal holiday, this is expected to impact this Court’s operations. Further information will be posted shortly.
- Federal Court: The Federal Court has released a Notice to the Parties and the Profession to note that September 30th is recognized as a holiday under the Federal Court Rules, and the Federal Court has reminded litigants to consider this amendment in their computations of time and noted that hearings scheduled for September 30, 2021 will be rescheduled.
- Tax Court of Canada: The Tax Court of Canada and its Registry offices will be closed on September 30th. September 30th is a holiday under the Tax Court of Canada Act for the purpose of calculating timelines.
- Federal Tribunals: If you have upcoming matters with a federal tribunal scheduled for September 30th, check whether/how it will be rescheduled. Generally consider how September 30th will be treated for calculating timelines going forward.