The school board considered a letter on Tuesday saying National Aboriginal Day (June 21 this year) ought to be treated as a national holiday.
“I would like to know why you do not recognize National Aboriginal Days? This is considered a national holiday and should be treated as such, the students should be allowed off school that day without being penalized and the employees should also be entitle(d) to that holiday with pay. I feel that by not recognizing this holiday you are putting across the message that you do not recognize the Aboriginal of this country,” the letter from Audra Collison in Masset says.
Superintendent Mike Woods noted that Aboriginal Day is a national event, and does not fall under the Holiday Act, which specifies which days (July 1, Labour Day, etc) are national holidays. “A national event is just the recognition that this is an important occasion,” he said, noting that a statutory holiday requires pay for workers who do not work and overtime for workers who do. Other issues include the fact that provincial exams can be scheduled on Aboriginal Day, and if students are not in school and miss the exam, there is no way to make it up.
In the end the board decided to send the letter to its Haida Education Committee for further study.
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