The Orange Shirt Day initiative will be broadcast online this year, reaching all across Canadian classrooms, teaching students that 'Every Child Matters'.

Students in grades 5 to 12 can participate by wearing an orange shirt and watching the online resources in class on September 30. 

"Orange Shirt Day itself is the result of the incredible work of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad. She created this beautiful grass-roots initiative to raise awareness on residential schools to encourage all of us to recognize that every child matters," says Ry Moran, the Director for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. 

Webstad is Northern Secwepemc (Shuswap) and lives in Williams Lake, B.C. 

"The program on September 30 will be shared with all schools from coast to coast to coast. We believe it's going to be a fantastic opportunity for people to learn, to feel, to take further steps down this path of reconciliation."

This initiative also honours those who died in residential schools. 

"Orange Shirt Day is an important opportunity to come together as a country and recognize the terrible failures of our past. But in so doing, keep our eyes firmly on the present and the beautiful future we all want to create."

This event is on track to hold its largest-ever reconciliation event, Every Child Matters: Reconciliation Through Education.

"We'll be streaming it live on Facebook. We're sharing it with the tens of thousands of teachers that have registered. Over 400,000 students have signed up to participate. It will continue to live online and be a fantastic resource for the country for years to come," says Moran.

This online event has been designed with students in mind but will be equally impactful for adult learners, according to Moran. The program will feature two 45-minute acts, with the first on truth and the second on reconciliation.

"People will be hearing first hand from residential school survivors, elders, knowledge keepers, Indigenous leaders and youth themselves. One of the speakers will be Phyllis Webstad talking about why she created Orange Shirt Day."