Structure of The Anglican Church of Canada

The Anglican Church of Canada comprises 30 dioceses across Canada, each under the jurisdiction and pastoral care of a diocesan bishop. The dioceses together comprise approximately 2,800 congregations, organized into 1,700 parishes. Along with the bishops, each diocese sends lay and clerical representatives to the General Synod.

Dioceses are organized into districts called ecclesiastical provinces, to allow them to gather and function regionally. Canada has four provinces, each headed by a Metropolitan (Archbishop): British Columbia and Yukon (B.C. and Yukon), Rupert’s Land (Prairie Provinces and the Arctic), Ontario, and Canada (Quebec and Atlantic Canada).

General Synod consists of elected lay and clerical members and the bishops from across Canada who gather to discuss national and international concerns of the Church. General Synod normally meets every three years and is the governing body of the national Church. The Primate is the President and chairs the proceedings of General Synod. From time to time the responsibility for chairing sessions of the General Synod may be delegated by the Primate to the Prolocutor of General Synod.

The Council of the General Synod is the body that oversees the implementation of General Synod decisions, and exercises executive powers of Synod between sessions. It comprises the Primate, the Prolocutor, the Deputy Prolocutor, the Chancellor, elected representatives (from the Orders of Bishops, Clergy and Laity) from each of the four ecclesiastical provinces; one youth member from each ecclesiastical province; one member representing the Anglican Military Ordinariate; two members nominated by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples; one member nominated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; and the General Secretary (ex-officio).  (For detail see the Constitution of the General Synod, part VII, The Council of the General Synod, in the Handbook of the General Synod of The Anglican Church of Canada, pages 21-24).

The Anglican Communion is a world-wide family of autonomous, interrelated, and interdependent provinces and national churches, all of which are in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Anglicans speak many languages, come from many races and cultures, and are spread around the world. The Anglican Church is episcopally led (that is, by bishops) and synodically governed (that is, elected lay and clergy members together with the bishops).

Lambeth Conference, chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, meets every ten years or so and is attended by bishops from around the world. It is a forum for sharing and consultation rather than for legislation and is chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The most recent Lambeth Conference was held in 2022.

The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) assembles every three years, with up to three representatives from each national church within the global Anglican Communion. ACC is a synodical body. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the President of the Consultative Council and its proceedings are chaired by one of its members.