TORONTO (Feb. 10, 2003) -- 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 $25-million.
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 dissenting vote.
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 $25-million, the federal government will pay the rest, and should awards fall short of the 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 $100 in order to raise $5-million. Athabasca in Alberta is selling an archdeacon's residence to raise $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.
Diocese 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 $22-million and that goal has been met. General Synod, the national embodiment of the church, will make up the remaining $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 finalized. 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 Nov. 20  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 finalization 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 agreement.
A tentative date of March 11  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 apologized to native people for the church's involvement in the schools.
TORONTO (March 5, 2003) -- Representatives of the federal government and the Anglican Church of Canada will officially sign an agreement on residential schools lawsuits, reached last November, at the church's national office next Tuesday, March 11 .
The agreement, announced in Ottawa on Nov. 20, establishes a Settlement Fund to which the church will contribute $25-million and which will be used to compensate former students of residential schools with proven claims of sexual or physical abuse.
It will be formally signed 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Anglican Church's national office at 600 Jarvis Street in Toronto. It comes into effect on March 15 .
Before being signed, the agreement had to be ratified by each of the church's 30 dioceses. The dioceses also had to agree to commit a total of $22-million over the next five years to a settlement fund. General Synod, the Anglican Church's national organization, contributed $3-million.
The dioceses concluded the ratification process last month and the goal of $22-million in contributions was met, with most dioceses contributing a percentage of their budget similar to the amount given annually to General Synod. Although the agreement requires the dioceses to pay into the Settlement Fund in quarterly installments over the next five years, several dioceses have said they will pay the full amount immediately.
If compensation amounts to more than $25-million, the federal government will pay the rest. It is less, the extra money will be returned to the dioceses.
Signing on behalf of the church at Tuesday's ceremony will be Archbishop Michael Peers, the Anglican Primate, and federal Public Works Minister Ralph Goodale, whose portfolio includes responsibility for residential schools resolution.
Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod and the chief Anglican negotiator during talks with the federal government, said the church wanted to have the signing at its national office so that General Synod staff who have worked under circumstances of extreme uncertainty for the past three years could attend and witness the signing.
Also attending the signing ceremony will be representatives of both the Anglican and government negotiating teams who worked for several years before an agreement was reached.
The Anglican Church was involved, with the federal government, in operating 26 residential schools from the mid-19th century until the 1970s. In 1993, Archbishop Peers formally apologized to native people for the church's involvement in the schools.
The Anglican Church was named in about 2,200 of more than 12,000 lawsuits launched against the federal government.
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Contact: For more information, please contact Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Acting Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306; 416-540-3653 (Cell); firstname.lastname@example.org OR
Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod, 416-924-9199 ext. 280; email@example.com
OTTAWA, November 20, 2002 -- An agreement-in-principle has been reached outlining how the Anglican Church and the Government of Canada will participate in compensating former Indian residential school students who suffered sexual and physical abuse. Ralph Goodale, Minister responsible for Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, and the Most Reverend Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, made the announcement today.
The agreement would provide compensation to former students with validated claims, who attended Anglican Indian residential schools.
"The moral responsibility shown by the Anglican Church in accepting the responsibility to the former students of the Anglican residential schools has opened the door to this agreement-in-principle," says Minister Goodale. "Instead of meeting each other in court, Canada and the Anglican Church can focus our efforts together to settle the thousands of outstanding claims in a more supportive way for victims, who continue to be our first priority."
This agreement-in-principle, when accepted by the Anglican dioceses across Canada, preserves the financial integrity of the Anglican Church, while opening new pathways to closure, healing and reconciliation for all the parties.
"This agreement is part of our commitment to healing and reconciliation within the Anglican Church of Canada and within Canadian society," says Archbishop Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. "I have sat in healing circles and heard the painful stories of abuse. By entering into this agreement, we are saying that we have heard these stories, that we acknowledge our tragic part in them, and that we will take up our new role not only in addressing the abuses of the past, but in seeking a new and life-giving way of living together as native and non-native Canadians, in the church and in society".
The agreement-in-principle between Canada and the Anglican Church will see the Church approach lawsuits for compensation from former students as a whole denomination, involving all the dioceses. The highlights include:
- Payment of 70 per cent by Canada and 30 per cent by the Anglican Church for all validated sexual and physical abuse claims at Anglican Indian residential schools up to a maximum Church contribution of $25 M.
- All Anglican dioceses will be invited to contribute to the payment of compensation.
- The Anglican Church will co-operate in the resolution of Indian residential schools abuse claims, and continue its dedication to the healing of individuals and reconciliation with all parties.
- The Anglican Church will create a separate corporation to establish a Settlement Fund to pay compensation to survivors of sexual and physical abuse.
- The cessation of the practice of naming the Church as a party in court cases or `third partying'.
- The delivery of 100 per cent of compensation to former students of Anglican residential schools with validated claims.
"This agreement with the Anglican Church will help remove barriers to healing for those individuals who have been abused," said Minister Goodale.
The agreement-in-principle, negotiated over the past ten months, must now be ratified by the 30 independent Anglican dioceses across Canada and signed by the federal government.
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Contact: Office of the Minister, Pat Breton, Press Secretary ph: 819-997-8437; Jim Boyles, General Secretary, Anglican Church of Canada, ph: 416-924-9199; Office of the Minister, Jim Embury, Director of Communications, ph: 819-997-5421; Nicole Dakin, Media Relations, Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada, ph: 613-996-2609
In a letter to be published in the October 2003 Journal, Ralph Goodale says they have been listening to the concerns of ACIP [Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples] about the ADR [Alternative dispute resolution] process.