TORONTO (Dec. 18, 2002) -- An agreement between the Anglican Church and the federal government over liability for Indian Residential Schools will allow the church to continue to serve society and to forge new bonds with native people, the Anglican Primate says.
In a letter to church members posted on the Anglican Church of Canada's Web site, Archbishop Michael Peers says he is "profoundly encouraged" by the way Canadian Anglicans and Anglican dioceses have responded to the agreement.
Under the terms of the agreement, all 30 Anglican dioceses must ratify and agree to contribute $25 million to a settlement fund over a five-year period.
The agreement effectively ends the Anglican Church's involvement in costly litigation that was threatening the future of its national organization.
The text of Archbishop Peers' letter follows:
The past few weeks have marked a watershed in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada. Beginning with the announcement of an agreement with the Government of Canada as to how validated claims of sexual and physical abuse in Indian Residential Schools would be apportioned, we are now in a period of discernment and decision together. In each diocese, a process is, or will be, in place to decide the diocesan response to our national responsibility.
Let me offer some background and interpretation for this time of discernment and decision in dioceses and congregations, and for your own reflection as an Anglican and a member of Christ's body.
From 1820 to 1969, the Anglican Church of Canada was involved in residential schools. In 1911, the first contracts were signed between the Government of Canada and a number of dioceses. In 1921, the Missionary Society of the Church in Canada began to assume those contracts. In the words of the Bishop of Keewatin [David Ashdown], a person with experience of the schools decades ago and a partner in dialogue with many former students, this was not a good system with a few bad people in it, but a deeply flawed system with many good people in it. In 1969 we abandoned participation in the schools, and began to forge a new relationship with aboriginal Canadians that would be rooted in justice, solidarity, and mutuality.
More than twenty years later, former students of the schools began to come forward, alleging abuse at the hands of those in authority in the schools. Those allegations have prompted our church to come to terms with two painful realities. First, our partnership with the government in seeking the assimilation of aboriginal Canadians was itself a profound error. Second, some within the schools used their power to take advantage of the vulnerability of children.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, defines "remorse" as the discovery that we do not control the telling of our stories -- that we play unflattering and sometimes destructive roles in the stories of others. In the stories of aboriginal Canadians, we hear that our actions were not noble and our impact was not life-saving.
Remorse is hard for us. We did not intend to collaborate in undermining the well being of children. We did not intend to foster a climate in which predators could assault the vulnerable. We did not intend to contribute to a rift between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians. Yet we did all those things.
In 1969, we embraced another way of understanding and telling the story of our relationship with indigenous peoples. Together with them, we began to look for a better way. In the past decades, signs of that better way have begun to emerge. For example, the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples identifies a unique and vital contribution that the churches can make: "Of all the non-governmental institutions in Canadian society, religious institutions have perhaps the greatest potential to foster awareness and understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people".
In November , the Anglican Church of Canada and the Government of Canada reached an agreement on a settlement of validated claims of sexual and physical abuse in schools administered by the Anglican Church. We are asking each diocese to consider the proposed agreement, and to make a financial commitment to the settlement fund. The proposed settlement with the Government of Canada allows us to proceed with integrity along "a better way". We have not evaded our responsibility within the legal structures and systems that our nation has established to deal with such claims. We have acknowledged both our part in the damage that was done and the many good and generous people who -- in a deeply flawed arrangement -- acted humanely. We are involved in significant explorations with the indigenous constituencies of the Anglican Church of Canada as to how we can, together, live up to the potential identified in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
It was "our people" -- people who share with us a faith, and a tradition -- who suffered in the residential schools. In the Anglican Church of Canada, there are whole dioceses in which the majority of our members are aboriginal Canadians. As we continue the hard work of fashioning a church that brings us all together for mission, we can bear witness to the possibility of reconciliation in a nation in which the divide between aboriginal persons and communities and the dominant culture seems to widen with each passing year.
This settlement is not about "getting out" of anything. It is instead a way of getting more deeply into the healing and reconciliation by which we can both strengthen our own common life and extend that life into mission in our own society.
I am profoundly encouraged by the way in which dioceses and their members have begun to address the challenge before us. Several dioceses have already ratified the agreement, and the others have a clear process in mind for coming to a decision. At least four of the dioceses that have ratified the agreement had no formal relationship with any of the schools, and therefore no legal liability. That we recognize both a common "moral liability" and a common vocation to ministry and mission in our society, whether or not we are directly and legally affected by the schools issue, is surely one of the strengths of this Anglican Church of Canada.
In the months and years ahead, I believe we can use that strength to serve our society and all its members. Because we bear witness not only to the deep flaws of our past, but also to the deep need for healing and reconciliation in our present, we are poised to contribute to a crucial process of discernment for a Canadian society in search of a humane future. Because we are entering more deeply into the spirit of partnership between aboriginal and non-aboriginal persons and communities within our church, we are poised to contribute to the emergence of a similar sense of partnership within Canadian society as a whole.
For reasons of our common life, and for reasons of our common mission within Canadian society, I profoundly hope that we will all be able not only to support and contribute to this settlement, but also to celebrate the possibilities it opens up for us all.
Yours faithfully, Michael G. Peers Archbishop and Primate
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Contact: Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Acting Director Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306, email@example.com OR Michael Thompson, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 416-924-9199 ext. 277, firstname.lastname@example.org; www.anglican.ca
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.
OTTAWA (June 6) -- The 300-member General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada responded enthusiastically to a report commending further work on the process of healing and reconciliation for former students of Native residential schools.
General Synod, meeting in Ottawa this week, heard a summary of the work done by a Residential Schools Working Group created three years ago by the Anglican Church to address the needs of Aboriginal people who suffered physical, emotional, sexual and cultural abuse in the government-funded schools. Between 1820 and 1969 hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal children were placed in residential schools administered by Christian denominations.
The Residential Schools Working Group recommended to General Synod that its work, which has included the development of educational resources, government submissions and grants for support programs for victims of abuse, continue under the auspices of the church's Council for Native Ministries, whose members are Native Anglicans.
Angeline Ayoungman, co-chair of the working group, said the church must work to continue the healing which began at the Native Convocation in 1993, when Archbishop Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, apologized to Aboriginal peoples on behalf of the church.
"We've come a long way, but we have a long way to go before the healing and reconciliation is complete," said Ms Ayoungman. She said it may take several generations before the impact of residential schools, manifested in high levels of alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide among native communities, can be fully resolved.
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Contact: Sam Carriere or Lorie Chortyk, Media Relations, General Synod. News Room: (613) 788-2600 ext. 2040 Cellular (613) 720-1468
"When it comes to tracking the process of healing, spreadsheets and metrics aren't all that useful. It takes someone like Esther Wesley, the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation ("AHF") co-ordinator, to sense when healing starts to happen. Wesley's face lights up when she talks about Aboriginal Neighbours, a group of volunteers on Vancouver Island with a practical, authentic approach to bringing together indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Aboriginal Neighbours is one of 494 projects that have received AHF grants. Founded in 1991, the AHF now uses funds raised by dioceses in order to comply with the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement of 2006. So far, the fund has distributed more than $5 million to projects addressing the legacy of residential schools". "Wesley says AHF's work is fundamentally the same as that of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission: to educate people about residential schools and bring people together. It's hard and painful work sometimes, but for her, Aboriginal Neighbours stands as a slow and steady example of how healing can happen. 'We need more of that people-to-people contact', Wesley says. 'It's about recognizing each other, sharing culture and stories and being people of God'."
Eight page insert (1-8) with May 2013 issue of Anglican Journal. Anglican Church of Canada Ministry Report. Insert produced by Resources for Mission Dept.
November 5, 1993 -- Twenty-five years after the last residential school for Native Canadians closed, their legacy remains among the most serious barriers to a just relationship with Aboriginal Canadians, an Anglican Church brief says.
The residential schools were run by churches and funded by the federal government. The schools were the most prominent feature of a set of policies designed to assimilate Aboriginal people into European culture and to eliminate Aboriginal culture. The results of these policies have been broken family relationships, loss of individual and community self-esteem, loss of identity and culture, and loss of spiritual roots. The residential schools are now recognized as a significant contributing factor to the high levels of substance abuse, community and family dysfunction, and suicide among native communities.
Now the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People has requested a special consultation with the historic mission churches -- Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United -- which operated the schools. The Anglican brief will be presented at the two-day consultation which begins Monday [8 November 1993]. It says the church and government shared responsibility for operating the schools, and now must share responsibility for helping to bring healing.
The Anglican Church administered 26 residential schools between 1820 and 1969. In 1969, after a major review of its relationship with Aboriginal people, the church refocused its efforts away from assimilation toward shared advocacy with Aboriginal people related to self-determination, treaty rights, and environmental concerns.
In its submission, the Anglican Church of Canada reaffirms its support for "the inherent dignity and intrinsic value of the cultural and spiritual traditions of Aboriginal peoples; the rights of Aboriginal peoples to self-determination in political, cultural, economic, social and spiritual spheres; and the rights of Aboriginal peoples to control their own land bases."
The submission draws attention to the church's own apology for its role in the residential schools, and its commitment to support the healing process for Aboriginal healing programs for people harmed by the schools.
Non-Aboriginal Canadians also need help to acknowledge their deep sense of shame that often leads them to deny the oppression of Aboriginal peoples, says the brief. Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people need to work together on mutual healing and developing a new partnership.
Enclosures: Executive Summary of the Anglican Church submission; List of Anglican participants
For further information: John Bird, Special Assistant to the Primate on Residential Schools, 416-924-9199 Ext. 256 [During the hearing, Citadel Hotel, Ottawa 613-237-3600]; Doug Tindal, Director of Communications 416-924-9199 Ext. 286
A SUBMISSION BY THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA TO THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON ABORIGINAL PEOPLES
Aboriginal people today speak repeatedly of their desire to recover the values and freedoms they enjoyed before contact with Europeans. They focus on the struggles:
- to become self-determining once again;
- to regain their own land bases and their relationship with the land;
- to rediscover their spiritual values and practices;
- to rediscover and revive their cultures; and
- to recover their sense of identity and self-esteem as the First Peoples of this land.
The same concerns are expressed by Native people within the Anglican Church of Canada. The constitute approximately four percent of Anglican membership. There are 210 active Anglican congregations in Aboriginal communities. Two suffragan (assistant) bishops, and approximately 70 clergy are Aboriginal persons.
I. THE CHURCH'S HISTORICAL RELATIONSHIP
At the time of first contact, the British had recognized the nationhood of the Aboriginal peoples, and treated them as potential political allies and trading partners. The relationship between the First Nations and the Anglican Church began in 1753 when the Reverend Thomas Wood became a missionary to the Micmac people.
British/European missionaries were convinced that their unique culture and faith expression must represent the truest reflection of Christianity and, therefore, of God's will. The church felt it had a Christian responsibility to help the First Nations assimilate into the cultural, political, economic and social structures of the British empire.
Educating and converting children soon became a key component in meeting this responsibility. The historic mission churches were supported by the federal government to establish and run a series of "residential schools" across the country. From 1820 to the end of Anglican involvement in 1970, the Anglican Church of Canada administered more than 26 residential schools for Aboriginal people in an area stretching from Quebec west, and including the territories. Between 50,000 and 100,000 Aboriginal people are estimated to have attended. For about 100 years the schools were central to the church's relationship with Aboriginal peoples.
II. A CHANGE IN DIRECTION
In the social ferment of the 1960s, the church was challenged by the growing strength and role of provincial and national Aboriginal organizations. Anglican leaders recognized that the First Nations had been severely marginalized and oppressed throughout Canadian history. They also identified the church's complicity in this. The church began to question both the theological basis of its relationship with the Aboriginal peoples, and its role in administering residential schools.
In 1968 the Anglican Church broke off its collaborative relationship with the government, and began to engage in solidarity actions supporting the Aboriginal peoples in three major areas:
- political self-determination;
- treaty and land rights; and
-industrial and environmental development.
This work is carried on through ecumenical agencies such as the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (formerly Project North), and through the church's own working groups, task forces and committees.
The solidarity work required a parallel response within church structures to make space for the concerns and spiritual and cultural expressions of Aboriginal Anglicans. A Council for Native Ministries (CNM) came into being, composed of Aboriginal Anglicans from across the country, and reporting directly to the church's National Executive Council (NEC).
During the late 1970s and much of the 80s, this Council worked in two areas:
- educating the church constituency about Aboriginal issues to enlist broad support in advocacy with government and society;
- and advocating for a greater role for Aboriginal persons within the church itself, for example by increasing Aboriginal representation on various church committees.
During the latter half of the 1980s, the Council became increasingly convinced that the process of recovery must begin with self. Accordingly, CNM returned to the traditional circle and consensus decision-making for its own meetings, and initiated dialogue on Aboriginal spirituality and Christianity.
III. RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS : HEALING AND RECONCILIATION
The legacy of residential schools emerged again in the fall of 1990. With leadership from the Council for Native Ministries, NEC established and staffed a Residential Schools Working Group, and provided funding to enable healing and reconciliation.
Staff and members of the Residential Schools Working Group (RSWG) have participated in a number of conferences and healing circles related to Anglican-run residential schools, and have heard the individual stories of many former students and family members. The RSWG has identified
- broken family relationships
- loss of individual and communal self-esteem
- loss of identity and culture, and
- spiritual confusion
as the nearly universal results of experiences in residential schools. This has contributed to extensive substance abuse, family and community dysfunction and suicide in Aboriginal communities, even among succeeding generations.
The condition of Aboriginal peoples a generation after the closing of most residential schools constitutes a national crisis. The institutions that ran the schools (church and government) must acknowledge their responsibility to support and encourage healing.
IV. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE
Over the last quarter century, the Anglican Church has repeatedly affirmed:
- respect for the inherent dignity and intrinsic value of the cultural and spiritual traditions of Aboriginal peoples;
- the rights of Aboriginal peoples to self determination in political, cultural, economic, social (e.g. education, justice, health care) and spiritual spheres;
- the rights of Aboriginal peoples to control their own land base.
The church has also called repeatedly on federal and provincial governments to take action in accordance with these affirmations.
Through the Aboriginal Rights Coalition, the Anglican Church participated in developing the 57 recommendations contained in ARC's submission to the Royal Commission (see Appendix #6 for full list of ARC recommendations).
In August 1993, with the support of the NEC, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada publicly apologized to Aboriginal people for the violence they had suffered in Anglican-run residential schools, pledged continuing support for healing and reconciliation related to this issue, and encouraged diocesan bishops to take similar actions within their own jurisdictions.
In October 1993, the Residential Schools Working Group passed a series of resolutions encouraging the church to commit continued financial and personnel resources to healing work related to residential schools, and to support cultural and spiritual recovery for Aboriginal people within the church. Other resolutions also ask the National Executive Council to urge the federal government to apologize for its role in the residential schools, and commit financial resources to support grassroots, Aboriginal healing programs for people harmed by the schools.
ANGLICAN PARTICIPANTS IN THE SPECIAL CONSULTATION with the ROYAL COMMISSION ON ABORIGINAL PEOPLES
Citadel Hotel, Ottawa, November 8-9, 1993
Representatives at the Table
Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of the General Synod, Toronto, ON
The Rev. Peter Hamel, Consultant on National Affairs, Staff representative on Aboriginal Rights Commission, Recently appointed priest at St. Paul's Church, Haida community of Masset, B.C.
The Rev. James Isbister, Member: Plains Cree Nation, Atakakoop Reserve, Saskatchewan, Deputy-Prolocutor of General Synod, Chair: Council for Native Ministries
The Rt. Rev. Caleb Lawrence, Bishop: Anglican Diocese of Moosonee, Ontario Member: National Executive Council Liaison for Council of the North with the Council for Native Ministries
Vi Samaha, Member: Nlaka'pamux Nation, Diocese of Cariboo, British Columbia. Member: National Executive Council Member: Council for Native Ministries Former student of St. George's Residential School, Lytton, BC
Staff Back-up: John Bird, Special Assistant to the Primate on Residential Schools (Media Contact at the Consultation); Shirley Harding, Special Assistant to the Primate on Residential Schools; The Rev. Laverne Jacobs, Co-ordinator for Native Ministries
At head of page: "Announcing the 2016 RFP [Request for Proposal] Recipients of $10,000 each. Theme: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action". "Urban Indigenous Ministry Developer, the Rev. Vincent Solomon provides training to counselors and pastoral care workers to promote Indigenous ways of healing in the city of Winnipeg". [Text of entire article.]
"General Synod 2010 did not approve the so-called local option that would allow diocese to grant same-sex blessings. Neither did it take a legislative decision on the matter. It did, however, recognize that local option had been exercised by some and may be taken by others in future, even though 'it's not local option approved by the national church', said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. 'We're not ready as a national church to say, "We're building this into our doctrine that we approve of same-sex unions", he told a press conference following the close of General Synod 2010 in Halifax. What synod did say was, 'We need to have more conversations,' confirmed Archbishop Hiltz, adding, 'That's an action'." "Archbishop Hiltz called the synod's acceptance of the report [on sexual discernment] a 'watershed moment' for the life of the church and its place in the worldwide Anglican Communion. 'There's been healing in this church', he declared. 'We're no longer demonizing one another .. We're regarding one another differently .. more patiently, more graciously'."
In March 2003 the Anglican Church of Canada signed an historic Settlement Agreement with the government of Canada to resolve financial responsibility for abuse in the Indian residential schools. "As part of the Agreement, the Anglican church undertook to establish a Settlement Fund and raise $25 million to be made available for compensation to those who had been abused in the schools between 1920 and 1969. When each claim is settled, the government pays 70 per cent and the church, from this fund, pays 30 per cent. Once the total $25 million has been expended, the church's obligation comes to an end, and the government will pay 100 per cent of any later claims." Just 18 months into this effort, more than half the funds have been raised ($13.9 million). Six dioceses have contributed their total amount, and others are engaged in various fundraising projects to meet their commitments". "So far, more than $3.5 million has been paid out to victims of abuse, almost all resulting from pre-trial settlements. The government has established an alternative dispute resolution process (ADR) to expedite the claims and to provide a less adversarial setting for the hearing of claims than is available through court processes. To date, more than 800 applications have been received, 175 of those involving Anglicans." "[F]rom the beginning of the flood of litigation, we have been clear that our first goal is healing. .... The Anglican church's Indigenous Healing Fund ... which was established in 1991 has made just under $1.7 million in grants to local community and church organizations that have developed healing programs. In 2004, $300,000 was available from the General Synod budget to provide resources for this work". In 2004 the Episcopal Church U.S.A. gave an unrestricted gift of $250,000 (US) to the Canadian Church. "The Council of General Synod decided to give 30 per cent of this gift to the Healing Fund, and to share the rest with the dioceses who have incurred legal costs over the years. The Settlement Fund will be fully in place by 2008, and no more fundraising for it will be required. Our financial obligation will be finished. All former students whose claims have been validated will receive compensation, and the church can carry on with its regular mission work, including the crucial work of healing and reconciliation with the nation's indigenous peoples".
"'Anglican healing has nothing to do with placing the emphasis on a cure', explains Shelley Tidy, pastoral care associate at St. Paul's Bloor Street in Toronto, who for the past six years has chaired the Bishop's Committee on Healing in the diocese of Toronto. 'Everything is done in the name of lightening a person's burden by placing it at the foot of the cross', she says". "Anglican healing sacraments include the laying on of hands and anointing with oil, both accompanied by prayer. While performing the laying of hands is restricted to ordained clergy, anointing may be performed by licensed laity under the supervision of a priest". "Every year, Tidy runs a popular fall weekend program at the Convent of the Sisters of Saint John the Divine in Toronto to train lay anointers through lectures, practical training, group discussion and prayer".
Author "is a journalist and parishioner at St. Cuthbert's, Oakville, Ont."
Early in his tenure as rector of St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Saskatoon, Sask., Archdeacon Larry Mitchell "invited people to come forward to the altar for a healing prayer. ... The lineup for healing extended along the altar rail and down the aisle to the back of the church. 'That experience told me this is a ministry the church needs to develop', says Mitchell". Mitchell "became involved with the International Order of St. Luke the Physician (OSL), an ecumenical organization started in 1932 by John Gayner Banks, an Episcopalian priest. Today with more than 7,000 current members, OSL provides missions, conferences, training and resources on Christian healing ministry". Mitchell served as North American director of OSL from 2004 to 2011, the first Canadian to hold that office.
Author "is a journalist and parishioner at St. Cuthbert's, Oakville, Ont."