Residential schools agreement is ‘good news’ for everyone, Primate says

Today’s announcement of a comprehensive agreement on native residential schools issues is good news for the Anglican Church and good news for Canada’s indigenous people, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada says.

Archbishop Hutchison hailed Ottawa’s promise of generous compensation for people who attended the Indian Residential Schools and said the Anglican church remains committed to its work in healing and reconciliation with indigenous people.

He also announced that the Anglican Church will seek to renegotiate the terms of the agreement it signed with the federal government in 2003.

In a letter to the church posted on its website ( Archbishop Hutchison says that in light of the agreement the federal government has reached with the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church will invoke a clause in its own agreement that says that if Ottawa reaches more favourable terms with another church, the Anglican Church can ask for the same terms.

Under the 2003 agreement, the Anglican General Synod and its 30 dioceses undertook to raise $25 million for a Settlement Fund to compensate people with proven claims of physical or sexual abuse in residential schools. The agreement called for the church to pay 30 per cent of awards and the government 70 per cent.

However under the terms of the agreement announced today, the Roman Catholic Church, while it agrees to fund healing and reconciliation programs, is not required to pay any compensation.

Archbishop Hutchison said that final ratification of the measures announced by Ottawa today is still several months away. Until then, he said, the terms of the original Anglican agreement are still in effect.

The church to date has raised about $16 million for the Settlement Fund and contributed about $6 million to compensation for former students of residential schools.

Archbishop Hutchison assured indigenous people that the new agreement treats them fairly and that the church maintains its commitment to working towards healing and reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

“Our first priority throughout these lengthy negotiations has been justice, healing and reconciliation with our native brothers and sisters,” Archbishop Hutchison says in his letter. “This priority remains and our work in achieving these goals will continue.”

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For more information, please contact Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Director of Communications, 416-924-9199, ext 306,[email protected]

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