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, firstname.lastname@example.org OR Michael Thompson, Principal Secretary to the Primate, 416-924-9199 ext. 277, email@example.com; 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.
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
TORONTO, Dec. 16, 2003 -- The Anglican Church of Canada's commitment to raising $25-million for a residential schools settlement fund has not changed, despite a British Columbia Court of Appeal ruling that the government is solely responsible for liability arising from abuse at the schools.
In a statement, Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of the Anglican Church's General Synod, said the church will study all the implications of the judgement. He noted that the federal government has 60 days in which to decide if it will appeal the B.C. court decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
He also stressed that throughout the residential schools' negotiations with the government, the chief goal of the Anglican church was to effect healing and reconciliation with former students of the schools who suffered physical and sexual abuse.
The has not changed either, he said.
In a unanimous judgement released last week, the B.C. Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the United Church against a previous judgment that had assessed liability at 75 per cent against the government and 25 per cent against the church in a case of sexual abuse by a residential school employee.
In overturning that decision, the B.C. court ruled that "the church should not, in this case, have been held liable for the wrongdoings of (the employee) even if there is some merit to be found in the contention that it was, in some degree, his employer".
Archdeacon Boyles noted that the position taken by the courts is what the Anglican church had argued for several years before it reached an agreement with the federal government capping its liability at $25-million earlier this year. That agreement committed the Anglican General Synod and the church's 30 dioceses to collectively raise a $25-million settlement fund over the next five years. Money from this fund will be used to compensate former residential schools students with proven claims, but the government assumes responsibility for all claims after the $25-million fund has been expended. To date, Anglicans have generously contributed more than $7-million to the fund and $1.5 million has been paid to about 60 claimants.
Archdeacon Boyles noted, however, that there is a clause in the Anglican church's agreement that says if the government and another church negotiate terms more favourable to that church than those in the Anglican agreement, then the more favourable terms will apply to the Anglican church as well. He said he would seek further discussions with the government in this regard.
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For more information, please contact: Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306, firstname.lastname@example.org OR Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod, 416-924-9199 ext. 280, email@example.com
"If, however, the watchman sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, the enemy will come and kill those sinners, but I will hold the watchmen responsible for their death." (Ezekiel 33:6)
On March 10th , after prayerful consideration, we, as members of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, met with Archbishop Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, to urge him not to sign the Settlement Agreement between the Anglican Church and the Government of Canada until changes were made to prevent re-victimization of survivors and promote true healing and restoration.
At our meeting from March 6 to 9th, 2003, we reviewed the Settlement Agreement for the first time as a Council. We shared in the Circle our fears and pain concerning the contents of the Agreement and its implications for Indigenous peoples. In essence, we fear that the Agreement and its related documents will have damaging effects upon survivors and their descendants.
We oppose the requirement of survivors to waive all future claims for loss of language and culture in order to gain a settlement for physical and sexual abuse -- a requirement which we understand to be an extinguishment of our Aboriginal rights to our languages, cultures, and traditions. We are appalled by the torturous nature of the Alternative Dispute Resolution process that is currently being drafted by the Federal government, in consultation with the Anglican Church, and fear that such a process will further violate survivors while offering most of them very little compensation in return.
We believe that the effects of the Agreement and its related documents have not been widely discussed or understood in the wider Church due to the lack of meaningful consultation with ACIP [Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples], as well as the rushed timeframe of discussions within the dioceses and their overwhelming focus on the financial aspects of the Agreement.
All of these concerns we have expressed to the Primate, as well as to other leaders of the National church. We are deeply saddened by the fact that these concerns have not been deemed sufficient to warrant a delay in the signing of the Agreement.
In 1994, representatives of our people signed a Covenant in which we agreed to call our people into unity in a new, self-determining community within the Anglican Church of Canada. At that time, we extended the hand of partnership to all those of the broader church who would help us build a truly Anglican Indigenous Church in Canada. In 1995, the General Synod of the Anglican Church accepted that extended hand and pledged to walk in partnership with us.
It is with heavy hearts that we declare that neither the content of the Settlement Agreement itself nor the process by which it has been negotiated reflects that covenant of partnership. Our responsibility now, as representatives of Indigenous Anglicans from across the country, is to inform our people of the pitfalls of the Agreement, and to warn them of the dangers of the Alternative Dispute Resolution process.
As the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, we want to declare that on March 11th , when the Settlement Agreement is signed and made official by the Primate on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada, he will not be doing so in our name.
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Contact: Andrew Wesley, ACIP Co-chair 416-922-3871 or 416-504-9416; Todd Russell, ACIP Co-chair 709-896-1377 or 709-896-0592; Maria Jane Highway, ACIP Member 205-627-0015 or 205-623-3311
General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada will continue to work with the federal government on a proposal that addresses abuse claims stemming from the Indian residential school system. While a recent Alberta court decision dismissed lawsuits against General Synod relating to residential school abuse claims in Alberta, General Synod believes it is important to reach a settlement based on moral and financial reasons.
"Given the moral and financial considerations, we believe it is important that we continue to work with the government to negotiate a settlement to address residential school abuse claims," said Archdeacon Jim Boyles, General Secretary of General Synod.
"We believe a settlement will move us closer to more positive relations between the Church and Indigenous Peoples. Healing and reconciliation continue to be our primary goal and reaching a settlement with the government will help facilitate that," he said.
"As a Church, we have acknowledged our moral obligation regarding our involvement in the residential school system, and we believe it is important to act accordingly. We've said our primary goal in reaching a settlement with the government regarding liability stemming from abuse claims is to enable our work of healing and reconciliation with Aboriginal communities. This goal remains notwithstanding the Alberta Court decision.
We would like to find a way in which the Anglican bodies involved can make a legitimate contribution to settlements and continue to work towards healing and reconciliation with Aboriginal communities".
In addition to the moral obligation, General Synod is concerned that it still faces severe financial challenges as a result of legal costs given that the Alberta Court decision is likely to be appealed by the government and may not be applicable to claims in other provincial jurisdictions. On October 24 , The Honourable Mr. Justice T.F. McMahon of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta dismissed all claims against General Synod based on the finding that it, at no time, had any responsibility or involvement in the management, operations, supervision or staffing of the Residential Schools in Alberta. While the decision did not dismiss claims against the Missionary Society of the Anglican Church of Canada, it did acknowledge that General Synod and the Missionary Society are distinct corporate entities, with neither body bearing liability for the other.
While General Synod welcomed the Alberta Court decision, its legal counsel cautioned that the federal government will likely appeal the decision, and a higher court could overturn the decision. Should higher courts continue to rule in General Synod's favour, General Synod will continue to face considerable legal costs as the matter works its way through the court system. As well, legal counsel has cautioned that the decision may not be considered relevant in other provincial jurisdictions where abuse claims have been filed.
"To date, General Synod has spent a considerable amount on legal costs relating to residential school abuse claims", said Boyles. "A settlement with the government means that funds would be directed to survivors of abuse whose claims have been vindicated, rather than being used up in litigation and for legal costs".
On October 24 , representatives of General Synod presented a draft proposal, developed during nine months of negotiations between General Synod and government representatives, would need ratification by both the Federal Government and the Dioceses that form the Anglican Church of Canada. At present, details of the draft proposal are confidential.
That the Council of General Synod confirms its adoption by e-mail voting of the following motion:
“That this Council of General Synod authorizes the Primate and the Acting General Secretary or the General Secretary to do all things necessary to give effect to the Agreement in Principle entered into on November 20, 2005 between Canada, as represented by the Hon. Frank Iacobucci, Plaintiffs, as represented by the National Consortium, Merchant Law Group and other legal counsel, The Assembly of First Nations, The General Synod of The Anglican Church of Canada, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, The United Church of Canada and Roman Catholic Entities, and without restricting the generality of the foregoing, authorizes the Primate and the Acting General Secretary or the General Secretary to:
(a) execute all documents necessary to amend the Settlement Agreement entered into on March 11, 2003 between the Government of Canada, The General Synod of The Anglican Church of Canada, The Missionary Society of The Anglican Church of Canada, and The Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corporation, in accordance with section 8.1 of that Settlement Agreement, so as to incorporate provisions no less favourable than those in any settlement agreement concluded by the Government of Canada with any denomination or church entity other than the Anglican Entities with respect to IRS Abuse Claims arising from Indian Residential Schools, and
(b) instruct legal counsel for the purpose of giving the consent of the Council of General Synod to the certification of any class actions and to the making of any settlement orders required to give effect to any final settlement agreement between the parties to the Agreement in Principle of November 20, 2005.” CARRIED #02-05-06
The federal government's decision to appeal a British Columbia Court of Appeal ruling that found it completely liable for physical and sexual abuse at the Alberni Indian Residential School is disappointing because it will prolong the uncertainty for those seeking compensation, says Archdeacon Jim Boyles, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod.
Many of the people seeking compensation for abuse while they attended the school are now elderly while others are unwell and the human approach to dealing with their claims would be to expedite them rather than seek further legal delays, Archdeacon Boyles noted.
These delays could also put at risk the government's own alternative dispute resolution process, Archdeacon Boyles said.
In a unanimous decision released in December , the B.C. Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the United Church against a previous judgment that assessed liability at 75 per cent against the government and 25 per cent against the church in a case of sexual abuse by a school employee. The B.C. Court of Appeal ruled that the federal court was wholly liable.
The government announced today that it would seek leave to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
In a statement, the federal minister for Indian Residential Schools Resolution and the Attorney General said the B.C. ruling needs to be clarified because it differs from principles on the vicarious liability of non-profit organizations for the abuse of children in their care as enunciated by the Supreme Court of Canada.
In deciding to appeal this ruling, the federal government has also said that until the case is resolved, the agreement it has with the Anglican Church where the government pays 70 per cent of compensation and the church pays 30 per cent, will continue.
The Anglican General Synod and each of the church's 30 dioceses are currently involved in raising money for a $25-million Settlement Fund created by the agreement between the church and the federal government. This fundraising will continue.
Archdeacon Boyles stressed in his statement that the church's legal and moral commitment to the Settlement Fund remains despite anything the courts might do. The church's five-year commitment to raising $25 million for the settlement fund is intact, he said.
As of the end of last year, more than $8-million had been raised and $2.2 million paid to people with proven claims of abuse at residential schools.
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For more information, please contact: Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199 ext. 306; firstname.lastname@example.org or 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
TORONTO (Mar. 11, 2003) -- Ralph Goodale, Minister responsible for Indian Residential Schools Resolution, and leaders of the Anglican Church from across Canada today ratified an agreement that details the payment of compensation to victims with valid claims of sexual and physical abuse at Anglican-run residential schools. The signing follows approval of the agreement-in-principle by all thirty dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Under the agreement, the Government of Canada will pay 70 % of the compensation and the Anglican Church of Canada will pay 30 % to a maximum of $25M. At the same time, the two parties will work together to turn the current tide of litigation toward settlements with victims, and towards healing and reconciliation.
"Together, the Government of Canada and the Anglican Church have built a platform for a strong, productive relationship with a commitment to the victims of abuse to try to bring an end to the personal suffering," said Minister Goodale. "We have resolved our issues and defined our roles and responsibilities in making sure that these individuals receive 100 % of the compensation they are owed."
Archbishop Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, expressed gratitude to all involved in the negotiating process. "The negotiators for the church and government have helped us find a way forward, both in response to the individual cases in which persons were abused, and in our common concern for a new future together as aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians."
Archbishop Peers expressed gratitude to the dioceses and their leaders for their timely and generous response. "To commit such significant amounts of money to this agreement is costly for our dioceses. Without that response, we would not be able to move forward in a mission that includes a renewed relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians, both in the church and in the country as a whole."
Nearly 12,000 claims for compensation are registered by former students of native residential schools against the government and the four churches that operated the schools. The Anglican Church is currently named in approximately 18 % of the compensation claims.
The highlights of the agreement include:
- Payment of 70 per cent by the Government of Canada and 30 per cent by the Anglican Church for all validated sexual and physical abuse claims at Anglican run Indian residential schools up to a maximum Church contribution of $25M.
- All Anglican dioceses will contribute to the payment of compensation.
- The Anglican Church will continue its dedication to the healing of individuals and reconciliation with all parties and will cooperate in the resolution of all abuse claims.
- The Anglican Church has created a separate corporation to establish a Settlement Fund to compensate 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-run residential schools with validated claims.
Thus agreement does not cover compensation for language and culture claims. Both the Government of Canada and the Anglican Church feel that individual compensation is not the answer to a broader community and inter-generational concern. In December 2002, the Government of Canada announced a dedicated $172.5M in funding to preserve, revitalize and promote Aboriginal languages and cultures. It is to be used to address issues [such] as the loss of knowledge of traditional languages and cultures by Aboriginal peoples, including those who attended Indian residential schools.
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Contact: Office of the Minister, Pat Breton, Press Secretary ph: 819-997-8437; John Embury, Director of Communication ph: 819-997-5421; Anglican Church of Canada, Archdeacon Jim Boyles ph: 416-924-9199