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ACNS3303 All 30 Canadian Anglican dioceses approve residential
"Anglican Communion News Service" <email@example.com>
Thu, 13 Feb 2003 23:34:10 -0000
ACNS 3303 | CANADA | 13 FEBRUARY 2003
All 30 Canadian Anglican dioceses approve residential schools agreement
[Anglican Church of Canada] The last of 30 dioceses of the Anglican Church
of Canada have now ratified an agreement with the federal government which
caps the church's liability in residential schools litigation at CAN$25
Completing a process that began last November, the 30 dioceses have
unanimously approved the agreement and unanimously agreed to contribute to
the settlement fund it creates. Each diocese was required to sign on to the
agreement before it could come into effect. At a series of special meetings
and synods held since last December all agreed to do so, many without a
The last dioceses to vote were Fredericton and Calgary this past weekend.
Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador had earlier approved the agreement in
principle and confirmed the decision this weekend. Because of time zones,
Calgary's officially became the final ratification vote.
The Canadian Anglican Church has also announced the formation of a separate
corporation, called the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corp., which
will administer the settlement fund under the terms of the agreement.
Under the agreement, 30 per cent of compensation will be paid from the
settlement fund to former residential schools students who have proven
claims of sexual or physical abuse. The remaining 70 per cent will be paid
by the federal government.
If compensation for these claims eventually exceeds CAN$25 million, the
federal government will pay the rest, and should awards fall short of that
amount, the money will be returned to the dioceses.
Canadian dioceses made individual decisions on how they would find the money
to contribute their share to the settlement fund. In the diocese of Toronto,
for instance, Archbishop Terry Finlay asked each Anglican to contribute
CAN$100 in order to raise CAN$5 million. Athabasca in Alberta is selling an
archdeacon's residence to raise CAN$125,000. Other dioceses dipped into
reserves or decided to mount capital campaigns to cover both contributions
to the settlement fund and other local projects.
Dioceses were asked to contribute to the settlement fund according to a
formula similar to the one used to determine their contributions to the
national church. In total, Canadian dioceses were called on to contribute
CAN$22 million and that goal has been met. General Synod, the national
embodiment of the church, will make up the remaining CAN$3 million.
The agreement was intended to move litigation over residential schools out
of the courts and into a form of alternate dispute resolution. The large
number of lawsuits was taking a long time in the legal system and the
process was costing vast amounts of money, to the point where the General
Synod of the Anglican Church was facing bankruptcy.
The details of a process to keep claims out of the courts (alternative
dispute resolution) have yet to be finalised. Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General
Secretary of General Synod and the chief Anglican negotiator with the
federal government, said at the time the agreement was announced, on 20
November 2003, that it would allow the church to use its resources to do
what it does best - minister to people who were harmed in the schools and
work at healing and reconciliation - rather than use them up in legal fees.
After this weekend's finalisation of the ratification process, Archdeacon
Boyles said that he was "very pleased with the way dioceses have responded
so quickly and so positively to the agreement. It shows the strength of the
Anglican family in Canada."
With the last of the ratification votes, the formal documents will now be
sent to the dioceses for signing, Archdeacon Boyles explained. Once the
documents have been signed by the dioceses, representatives of the Anglican
Church and the Government of Canada will formally sign the official
A tentative date of 11 March has been set for the formal signing by
Archbishop Michael Peers, the Anglican Primate, and federal Public Works
Minister Ralph Goodale, in charge of residential schools resolution. The
signing will likely take place at the Anglican national office in Toronto.
The Anglican Church was involved, with the federal government, in operating
26 of 80 residential schools from the mid-19th century until the 1970s when
the church ended its involvement. In 1993, Archbishop Peers formally
apologised to native people for the church's involvement in the schools.
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