Within 18 months the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Fund, formed last year to compensate survivors who could prove claims that they had suffered physical or sexual abuse while attending residential schools, has reached over $13 million.
The church—General Synod and each of the 30 dioceses—committed itself to paying $25 million into the fund over a five-year period ending in 2008.
“Within 18 months, we have already passed the half-way mark in raising the $25 million. That is really a great achievement and show of commitment by all the dioceses,” said Archdeacon Jim Boyles, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada.
The Settlement Fund has paid about $3.5 million dollars to 130 former residential schools students, said Mr. Boyles.
The fund pays 30 per cent of settlements (with the federal government paying 70 per cent) to plaintiffs who prove sexual or physical abuse in Anglican-run schools. The Anglican church operated 26 residential schools out of the 80 that existed for more than a century into the 1970s.
Recent publicity has centered on the amount of money the federal government has been spending on the administration involved in handling abuse claims as compared to the amounts paid to survivors. In response, some parishioners have questioned whether the Anglican church is spending a disproportionate amount on administration.
Mr. Boyles said that, the Settlement Fund is fully administered by the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corp. staffed by General Synod employees “so there really are no administration costs that are incurred.”
The corporation is responsible for accepting all donations and for making payments to plaintiffs whose claims had been validated by trial, pre-trial settlement, or alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
If there needs to be a church representative during case hearings, “we send either a local bishop or representative from that area where the case is being heard—this minimizes our administration costs,” Mr. Boyles said.
Mr. Boyles said he remains concerned about the slowness of the ADR process by the federal government. “It is an expensive operation and the government has attempted to approach it through a consultation process which has proven to be very slow,” he said.
Mr. Boyles urged all diocesan bishops to contact his office if they have concerns.
For further information please contact:
Archdeacon Jim Boyles
Anglican Church of Canada
Email: [email protected]
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