Funds dealing with residential schools legacy continue to climb

Published March 1, 2005

The fund set up by the Anglican Church of Canada to pay victims of abuse in native residential schools has collected $13.3 million as of Jan. 31, 2005, according to the national church’s finance office in Toronto.

Under an agreement with the federal government signed in March 2003, the church’s liability in lawsuits seeking damages for abuse suffered by students was capped at $25 million. All 30 dioceses and the national office, called General Synod, are paying into the fund at varying levels over a five-year timespan.

About $4.7 million has been paid to claimants who have been able to prove that they were victims of sexual or physical abuse at Anglican-run schools that were part of a nationwide system of boarding schools for native children. The Anglican church ran 26 of the 80 schools that were in the system.

Another church fund related to native people’s experiences in the residential schools – the aboriginal healing fund – recently topped the $2 million mark in disbursements, according to fund co-ordinator Esther Wesley.

That represents the amount distributed by the fund since its inception in 1991, she said. Last year, 44 projects were funded that supported counseling, language training, youth-focused activities, gatherings of former residential school students and education about aboriginal traditions and skills, among others.

General Synod contributes $300,000 per year to the fund and contributions come in from individuals, parishes, dioceses and other organizations. The number of projects funded has risen steadily through the years – in 1999, for example, there were 20 funded, said Ms. Wesley. “People are more aware of the fund and there are more community projects happening. There was a lot of denial (about the effect of the residential school experience) before,” she commented.


  • Solange DeSantis

    Solange De Santis was a reporter for the Anglican Journal from 2000 to 2008.

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