Making time for learning

Making time for learning

Queen’s supports employees in attending Indigenous celebrations on national day of recognition.

By Dave Rideout

June 19, 2019


In striving to promote a deeper understanding of Indigenous histories, knowledge systems, and experiences, Queen’s is affording time off for employees to attend National Indigenous Peoples Day events.  The new Human Resources initiative will grant employees up to four hours of paid time off, should they choose to join in local gatherings marking the annual day of recognition.

Canada’s National Indigenous Peoples Day falls on June 21 annually, and celebrates the heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people across the country.

“Providing time for Queen’s employees to attend National Indigenous Peoples Day events is a positive way to encourage the campus community to learn about the cultures and past experiences of Indigenous peoples in a welcoming environment,” says Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice- Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation). “Joining in ceremonies and celebrations can offer new perspectives, and reveal ways we can all continue to learn and grow together.”

Aligning with recommendations from the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Task Force, the support for employee time off expands on the university’s ongoing efforts to build campus-wide awareness and understanding of Indigenous history, cultures, and perspectives. Employees will receive up to four hours of paid time to attend events during work hours, and can arrange with their respective managers for lieu, flex, or vacation, should additional time be required. Employees must provide as much notice as possible of such plans so managers can ensure operational needs are met.

The new initiative arrives following discussions held in late May at the inaugural meeting of a committee created by the university and USW, Local 2010 to discuss the recognition of Indigenous Peoples in the Collective Agreement. The committee which includes Indigenous representatives from both the bargaining unit and management, was struck to formulate how best to include this recognition.

“I’m very pleased to share this important initiative with Queen’s employees, as it allows each of us time to pursue a wider knowledge of the country in which we live, and to build stronger ties within our community,” says Steven Millan, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources). “I want to thank the joint committee for bringing this suggestion forward.”

The new arrangement aligns with the University’s Observed Holidays Policy with respect to time off for attending Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Among events Queen’s employees could attend in Kingston, is a National Indigenous Peoples Day event at Confederation Basin; the Enlightening Learning Event: Indigenous Medicine Knowledge by Tim Yearington, Indigenous Curricular Innovation Coordinator in the Faculty of Health Sciences; and a screening at the Tett Centre of acclaimed film The Grizzlies.

Learn more about the array of Indigenous supports available on campus.