Settlement fund raises nearly $17.7 million

Published March 1, 2006

The Anglican Church of Canada has collected nearly $17.7 million from its national office and 30 dioceses to cover potential damages sought by former students of the now-defunct Indian residential schools. As of Dec. 31, 2005, $7.4 million had been paid out from the residential schools settlement fund to claimants who proved they had been physically or sexually abused in the nationwide school system. Under an agreement with the federal government reached in 2003, the church’s liability concerning the schools is capped at $25 million. Recently, the accord was revised to reflect a more-favourable agreement reached in 2005 between Ottawa and the Roman Catholic church and Anglican officials have said their church’s liability would likely be reduced to less than $16 million. However, the earlier agreement remains in place until the revision is approved by the federal cabinet and seven Canadian courts. It is likely to become effective in late 2006. Meanwhile, at least one diocese has stopped its fundraising for the settlement fund in anticipation of a better deal. The diocese of Ottawa said recently that “in view of the pending amended agreement” the work of its diocesan commission for the schools settlement fund was put on hold. The Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and United churches staffed varying numbers of the schools, which were supervised by the federal government. The Anglican church ran 26 of the 80 schools. Hundreds of former students have sued churches and the federal government, alleging they suffered abuse there.


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