The native residential schools settlement fund has collected $8.8 million (of a $25 million target) from Canadian dioceses and from General Synod as of Dec. 31, 2003, according to Jim Cullen, treasurer of General Synod.
The fund stood at $6.95 million as of Sept. 30, 2003. An initial burst of contributions occurred in the six months following the signing of an agreement with the federal government in March 2003 that limited the church’s liability to $25 million in lawsuits concerning the schools. The agreement staved off the threat of bankruptcy for the national church and several dioceses, although the diocese of Cariboo in British Columbia in 2001 suspended diocesan operations under financial pressure from residential school lawsuits.
The fund, called the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corp., is paying 30 per cent of settlements (with the federal government paying 70 per cent) awarded plaintiffs proving sexual or physical abuse in Anglican-run schools. As of Dec. 31, $2.2 million had been paid in settlements to 80 plaintiffs, according to General Secretary Jim Boyles. Of the 80 Indian residential schools that existed for more than century into the 1970s, the Anglican church ran 26.
General Synod has paid $3 million into the fund. Dioceses agreed to contribute funds over five years in proportion to their regular annual gift to General Synod.
Five dioceses Quebec, Moosonee, Athabasca, Calgary and Yukon have paid their five-year commitments in full. Parishes in the former diocese of Cariboo, now called the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, contributed $10,000 although they were not obligated to do so.