The Anglican Church of Canada?s residential schools settlement fund has reached $5.5 million since an agreement with the federal government capping church liability was signed in March. “I’m very pleased with the contributions from the dioceses,” said Archdeacon Jim Boyles, president of the Anglican Church of Canada?s Resolution Corporation, and the national church’s General Secretary. “Many are on schedule, while others are ahead of schedule” in their payments, said Mr. Boyles. Of this total, General Synod has contributed $2.4 million. So far, $1.2 million has been paid in compensation to 39 victims of abuse at residential schools once operated by the federal government and the Anglican Church of Canada, Mr. Boyles said. Each case was settled before trial in cases in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario. “We’re pleased that through the fund, we’re seeing contributions reach victims of abuse,” said the General Secretary. “It is not being used for litigation.” The corporation administers the settlement under the terms of an agreement ratified with the federal government last March, which caps the church’s liability in residential schools litigation at $25 million. About 12,000 to 13,000 former students have filed claims with the federal government for alleged sexual or physical abuse in Canada’s residential schools, said Mr. Boyles. The federal government assesses each claim; if the evidence is credible, the government makes an offer to the claimant and a settlement is negotiated. For each proven claim, 30 per cent of the final compensation is taken from the church’s settlement fund. The federal government pays the remaining 70 per cent. “The government is moving slowly on these, but I expect there will be more pre-trial settlements,” Mr. Boyles added. In a process that began last November, the church’s 30 dioceses ratified an agreement reached by the national church and the federal government and unanimously agreed to contribute to a settlement fund. The process was completed in February 2003. Each diocese was required to sign on to the agreement before it could come into effect. In total, Canadian dioceses were asked to contribute $22 million toward the settlement fund. General Synod, the national embodiment of the church, will make up the remaining $3 million.