In April of 2013 Phyllis Webstad shared her story of attending the St. Joseph's Mission Residential School at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission Gathering in Kamloops, BC. She spoke of how her new orange shirt was taken from her on the first day of school and never returned. People participating in the event adopted the narrative as an analogy of the way that language, family, culture, and safety was taken from children that attended Indian Residential Schools in Canada. Out of these events and of Phyllis' story came the legacy project that become Orange Shirt Day.
In June of 2021 the Canadian government declared September 30th the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation through an act of Parliament. This was done in response to one of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.