York-Credit Valley – Best Practice

Building Inspections

You are expected to keep to the ten year Diocesan Schedule for regular inspection of your church buildings. The York-Credit Valley Schedule for the years 2008 to 2017 is as follows:

2009    Etobicoke

2012    Humber

2013    Parkdale

2014    Mississauga

2015    North Peel

2017    Toronto West

The Diocesan building inspection program was initiated in 1998 on the basis that all Diocesan-owned buildings are to be professionally inspected every ten (10) years. An inspection schedule was created whereby two Deaneries per year are identified to complete their inspections within the given year; each of these Deaneries is to be in a different Episcopal Area.

Church buildings must be inspected by a professional commercial/institutional building inspector with the requisite expertise, training, and insurance. The Diocese does not endorse or require the use of a specific inspection firm. Parishes are free to procure an appropriately qualified commercial inspection company of their choice.

You can find the Diocesan Building Inspection Policy and Download the full schedule at http://www.toronto.anglican.ca/parish-administration/real-estate/church-property/building-inspections/

Please check that your parish has indeed carried out any inspections due according to this schedule.

Do your churchwardens have a ‘book’?

As a matter of best practice and to help new churchwardens over the years, I recommend that each parish create and keep up to date a “Wardens’ things to do” book. Separated into months, it could include (by way of example only):


  • Audit finances
  • Prepare for Vestry
  • Walk through church property to ‘inspect’
  • Ensure insurance in place


  • Hold Vestry
  • Prepare Churchwardens’ return
  • Register for Parish Leadership 101
  • Etc.

(Continue as appropriate for each month of the year)

The churchwardens in my last parish found this an invaluable tool, as did their successors!

Bishop Poole, Area Bishop of York-Credit Valley,
Added April 25, 2014

Licenses and Lease Agreements

All first-time License Agreements or Lease Agreements require the support of the Area Bishop.

The process should be that, when you send your unsigned agreements to David Badian for the Trusts Committee, you provide me with details of the proposed agreement and request my support for the agreement.  I need to know something about the group with whom you are proposing to agree a license, how many hours a week the license is to cover and I need your assurance that your proposal is compliant with Diocesan requirements.

Assuming that I am happy with the agreement, my office will then provide a letter of support to the Trusts Committee and will forward a copy of this letter to you.

For all License Agreements and Lease Agreements, please ensure that you follow the Diocesan guidelines for Facility Rentals fully (including mandatory minimum insurance requirements) – you can find these on our website at: www.toronto.anglican.ca/parish-administration/real-estate/facility-rentals/.

Memo circulated by Bishop Poole, March 2014


It has come to the attention of the College of Bishops that there is some confusion about our policies in the Diocese of Toronto surrounding weddings, particularly those weddings that take place outside of parish churches.

Since the revision of the Marriage Canon XXI at General Synod in 2004, clergy are no longer required to ask “permission” of their bishop to officiate at a wedding taking place off church property:  either outdoors, in a private residence or  at a secular venue.    Rather, clergy are asked to “consult” with the bishop particularly if there is any question that the dignity of the occasion might be compromised.  It should be noted that, unlike in the Church of England for example, our clergy are never obligated to officiate at any marriage service that is contrary to their pastoral judgment.    

Canon XXI – Part II.12

12.  Place of Marriage

a)  Marriage is a public act and should be solemnized in the face of the Community and of friends and neighbours of the couple.

b)  Every marriage shall be solemnized in the presence of at least two witnesses in addition to the officiating minister.

c)  The body of the church is the appropriate place for the solemnization of a marriage but a marriage may be solemnized in another location if the incumbent, after consultation with the bishop, is satisfied that the solemnity and public nature of the occasion will be preserved and that the service will be conducted with dignity in godly and decent order.

The provisions of Canon XXI must be followed.  Clergy must use the authorized liturgies of the diocese.  Wherever possible, copies of the liturgy, or at least the people’s parts, should be made available to allow for maximum participation of all attending.  Clergy are encouraged to vest and should see that the reception is not actively in place during the time of the service. Clergy should inform those attending the service that the ceremony is a celebration of Christian marriage and as if done in a church.  The presiding priest is in charge of all aspects of the service.  In the Diocese of Toronto, deacons are not licensed to officiate at marriages.

It is a courtesy for an officiating cleric to inform the bishop of the area in which a wedding is taking place, if that cleric is from outside the area.  The bishop may also encourage officiants to contact the Incumbent of the local parish.  This is not only a courtesy but also allows for the local parish priest to provide follow-up pastoral care to the couple, when appropriate.   In all instances, marriage preparation or counseling is to be arranged beforehand. (See Canon XXI.7 and Schedule E.)

Please be reminded that if you are asked to officiate at any service outside of the Diocese of Toronto, you must ask the permission of the Bishop of that diocese.  If officiating at a wedding outside of Ontario, you will require a special marriage licence issued by that civil province, which can be arranged through the local bishop’s office when you call to ask permission. 

Weddings are to be registered in one of:

  • The register of the parish where the couple is affiliated, or
  • The register of the officiant’s parish in the Diocese of Toronto if the couple is affiliated to the priest but not to a parish, or
  • The Diocesan Register at the Synod Office when neither of the above apply (eg., the couple has no parish affiliation, and the officiant is a priest with no appointment in the Diocese of Toronto).  To make an entry in the Diocesan Register, please contact Cathy Gowen, Clergy Records Assistant, at cgowen@toronto.anglican.ca     

Officiating at weddings is a privilege.  In today’s society, it is also an opportunity that is ripe for mission and evangelism.  The College of Bishops appreciates your conscientiousness in maintaining the standards of our Church while extending God’s blessing and the Gospel message to committed unions.   

For more information on Weddings, please refer to the “Liturgical Standards and Resources”, section 1.11,  found at:  www.toronto.anglican.ca/parish-administration/human-resources-for-clergy/liturgical-standards-and-resources/

Memo circulated by the College of Bishops, September 2013


Workplace Harassment and Violence

All parishes have a responsibility under Bill 168 regarding Workplace Violence and Harassment. You should have completed a risk/hazard assessment and must ensure that employees are aware of possible risks and how to report and respond to a situation regarding violence or harassment in the workplace. Depending on your size, you may also be required to have written policies and to provide training on these. Please ensure that you are fully aware of these requirements.

You can find guidance on the Diocesan website at


York-Scarborough – Best Practice Archives