Cultural leave that honours family and community traditions
In 2023, ICBC took a step forward in our commitment to Reconciliation by providing five paid days of Indigenous Cultural Leave per year for Indigenous employees to attend ceremonial, cultural and spiritual events.
With this leave, Joyce, a Claims Manager, was able to celebrate the life of a beloved family member and join community members to honour his life and impact. Here’s Joyce in her own words speaking about her family member and his Celebration of Life:
“On April 29, 2023, my Indigenous family dynamics changed dramatically.
For context, my mother passed when I was eight years old and my cousin Gail took on the role of my mom, while I became an older sister to my cousins Missy and Guppy, all of whom still live on Haida Gwaii.
Gup had spent his life on the ocean and She (the ocean) has provided generously to the village families over the years. But while he was fishing on this fateful day in April, She took Gup from us. I flew home to be with family immediately, but his Celebration of Life wasn't to be arranged until July 28.
Having a celebration for respected members of our village is culturally integral to who we are. Facilitating their passing and honouring their life is vital to the healing of the family and community as a whole.
Gup was a huge employer and also rich in family and friends. His celebration lasted three days – during which time I was able to witness the inaugural baseball tournament created in his name, watch the Haida dancers and singers, and participate in the feast.
Having these cultural days is a small consolation for the attempts to eradicate Indigenous culture across Canada. It's an opportunity to continue our connection or to re-connect if we were displaced. I am incredibly proud of ICBC for having embraced Reconciliation to the extent they have by allowing our Indigenous employees this opportunity.”