The Organization of Canadian Quakers
Canadian Yearly Meeting is both an annual event and a year-round working body of Quakers in Canada. As an organization and a meeting, it strengthens bonds between Canadian Quakers and works on projects of national and international scope.
For more on Canadian Yearly Meeting’s history, see the article “A History of Canadian Yearly Meeting.” For more details on committees structures and procedures, see CYM’s manual Organization & Procedure.
Archives Committee is responsible for the receiving, oversight, preservation, inventory and indexing of records and documents of Canadian Yearly Meeting, its constituent meetings, its standing committees, and other related bodies which entrust their records to its care.
The archives are currently located at Pickering College in Newmarket, Ontario. The committee guides and assists Canadian Yearly Meeting and its constituent bodies in the creation, care and preservation of their records and encourages them to deposit records in the archives.
Archives Committee also develops and maintains the Arthur Garratt Dorland Friends Historical Collection, which is a comprehensive reference library of Quaker publications, and the Rendell Rhoades Collection of Quaker Disciplines. Both of these collections are in the Dorland Room of Pickering College Library.
The Archivist is appointed by and accountable to the Archives Committee. The Archivist is responsible for the general operation of and access to the archives and the collections. The role may be either a volunteer or paid position.
Archives Committee works in cooperation with the Canadian Friends Historical Association to foster interest in and knowledge of the heritage of Canadian Friends. Where relevant it works with other Quaker-related and regional archival and historical associations.
Contributions Committee helps to raise the funds needed to carry out the programs of Canadian Yearly Meeting. Besides supporting the website, The Canadian Friend, and other material for members and enquiries, we fund an annual meeting, travel for committee members and Friends doing educational work, outreach opportunities and a small part-time administration.
We welcome your donations to enable the continuing work of Canadian Yearly Meeting.
Donations are tax-deductible in Canada. You can donate online (using a credit card) by clicking on the DONATE button above, which will lead you to the CanadaHelps site. Or you can mail a cheque to 91A Fourth Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1S 2L1. You can also make automatic monthly donations via Canada Helps, or by arrangement with the CYM office. If you wish to leave a bequest to CYM, please read the Bequest Policy. We are happy to answer questions about our financial accountability at .
For members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting, there is a Contributions Committee section of the business side of our website, which has committee documents and other information. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
Camp NeeKauNis Committee
We are always looking for people to help us wisely steward this beloved space. With the COVID-19 pandemic the Steering Committee has moved to meeting via zoom which has enabled us to meet more regularly and include Friends from across the country. Previously the Steering Committee met in-person three times a year, twice at Camp and once at Friends House in Toronto in the winter. Subcommittees are expected to meet between Steering Committee meetings and the Steering Committee communicates regularly by email throughout the year.
Camp’s programs run from late June to early September, with opportunities for rental at other times. Friends are also invited to join us for Opening Weekend in May and Closing Weekend in October. In 2022 we are celebrating Camp’s 90th Anniversary on the August long weekend.
Please visit our website for more information and to sign up for our occasional newsletters: www.neekaunis.org
Discipline Review Committee
The Discipline Review Committee is responsible for reviewing Organization & Procedure and amendments proposed to it.
While revisions will only be undertaken at the direction of Canadian Yearly Meeting, the Discipline Review Committee (DRC) committee is sensitive to current practices and changes, and any needs for guidance. The committee may encourage Monthly Meetings to present questions in writing to Canadian Yearly Meeting. More details about the review process can be found in section 6.13 of Organization & Procedure.
The committee is also responsible for the oversight of CYM’s Procedures Manual. Each standing committee is responsible for creating a relevant section for its own work and seeing it is updated annually. The DRC will see that it is posted. This will ease the transition for new committee members and enable work to be continued seamlessly.
For members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting, there is a Discipline Review Committee section of the business side of our website, which has committee documents and other information. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
Education & Outreach Committee
Education & Outreach Committee is responsible for supporting Quaker education within Friends meetings in Canadian Yearly Meeting, as well as providing and promoting outreach to the wider public. It was formerly Home Mission & Advancement. Its current projects include establishing a visitation program within Canadian Yearly Meeting, making videos of our elders, facilitating on-line courses for Friends, programming events for Quaker youth, and assisting Canadian Friends with participation in courses and Quaker events. The Committee has 9 members and meets once or twice a year in person and several times by conference call or on the internet. Young Friends are encouraged to be members of the committee. The Committee meets occasionally in different parts of Canada, hosted by Monthly Meetings.
Education & Outreach Committee encourages and facilitates the ongoing spiritual journey.
Education & Outreach Committee:
- Facilitates life-long religious education:
- Makes available and encourages the use of materials and resources.
- Makes Friends ways and Canadian Yearly Meeting better known to Friends in Canada.
- Administers financial support for Friends undertaking Quaker studies and other Quaker related activities.
- Makes our Society known to seekers:
- Answers enquiries, maintains a supply of materials suitable for the purpose, and arranges contact, on request, with local Meetings.
- Encourages and facilitates outreach by local meetings.
- Is a resource for programming at Friends’ gatherings.
- Encourages and facilitates visitation and Travelling in the Ministry.
For more information and to learn about Education & Outreach’s programs, please refer the E&O material in the Resources section.
For members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting, there is a Education & Outreach Committee section of the business side of our website, which has committee documents and other information. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
Finance Committee ensures the work of Canadian Yearly Meeting can be funded from current and future financial resources.
Finance Committee recommends annual budgets for Canadian Yearly Meeting and monitors our performance against them. We provide advice and guidance on financial issues for CYM and CYM committees, evaluate requests for funding of special concerns and ensure Canadian Yearly Meeting meets its obligations as a Canadian charitable organization.
For members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting, there is a Finance Committee section of the business side of our website, which has committee documents and other financial information. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
The Nominating Committee helps appoint members of Canadian Yearly Meeting committees and the clerk and assistant clerks of Canadian Yearly Meeting by bringing forward names of suitable individuals at CYM’s annual session.
If vacancies occur between sessions of Yearly Meeting, Nominating Committee can bring recommendations to Representative Meeting.
The nominating process is very consultative. The clerk of Nominating Committee initiates the process in January by contacting all clerks of monthly meetings, preparative meetings, half-yearly meetings in Canada and standing committees of Canadian Yearly Meeting. The letter outlines the process and includes a list of positions to be filled at Canadian Yearly Meeting, requesting names of suitable Friends to fill these positions. Monthly Meetings are requested to consider names of members in Worship Groups and Allowed Meetings under their care.
Clerks of standing committees are also asked to inform Nominating Committee about their particular needs, in terms of skills, geographic representation and other concerns.
Careful discernment is required of the Nominating Committee to identify the most suitable individuals to meet the needs of each position or committee. Nominating Committee is not required to recommend all the names it receives and may put forward other names if deemed appropriate. The Nominating Committee endeavours to communicate with monthly meetings or standing committees regarding names not recommended.
Ideally, Nominating Committee receives supporting minutes from the meetings in which nominees hold membership, however, this is not an absolute requirement if the committee is otherwise convinced of the person’s qualification to serve. Nevertheless, consultation with that Friend’s meeting is considered best practice.
Nominations may also be made during Canadian Yearly Meeting when the Nominating Committee reports. However, it is strongly preferred that nominations by individuals be submitted in writing to the Nominating Committee prior to the committee’s report to Yearly Meeting.
Representatives of Yearly Meeting to outside bodies must be members of a monthly meeting in CYM. Nominees for standing committees shall also be members, but in exceptional circumstances a monthly meeting may propose the name of an attender for service on a Canadian Yearly Meeting standing committee. A minute explaining these circumstances must accompany such a proposal. If Nominating Committee accepts the proposed name, the clerk of Nominating Committee shall forward the nomination, along with the explanatory minute, to the meeting of delegates and Canadian Yearly Meeting.
Consent to serve must be obtained, or be forthcoming, from the nominee before Yearly Meeting approves any appointment.
The appointment process is completed when Yearly Meeting approves the nominations.
Delegates Meeting appointments members to CYM Nominating Committee during Canadian Yearly Meeting on the recommendation of its Naming Committee.
- clerk and assistant clerk,
- members of Canadian Yearly Meeting standing committees as required,
- representatives of Canadian Yearly Meeting on other Quaker bodies and on interdenominational boards, committees and bodies, and
- other nominations for other positions as directed by Canadian Yearly Meeting.
Nominating Committee does not consider names for ad hoc committees and other task groups. These are directly appointed by Yearly Meeting or Representative Meeting. Yearly Meeting can request Nominating Committee to provide names in special instances.
Monthly Meetings appoint Friends to serve on their behalf at Representative Meeting.
For members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting, there is a Nominating Committee section of the business side of our website, which has committee documents, the nominations package, and other information. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
Personnel Committee is responsible for maintaining a just work environment for the employees of Canadian Yearly Meeting.
Friends’ beliefs are founded on our experience of “that of God” in all persons and situations. Flowing from this, we are committed to reconciling the creative tension of respecting the dignity of the person while recognising the nature of corporate life. We affirm the dignity of labour as part of human existence and affirm its importance in the lives of our employees.
As a communal employer, Canadian Yearly Meeting must consistently seek ways to ensuring the full development of persons at every stage of life. To be consistent in seeking justice, we must act with justice – individually and institutionally.
Our Personnel Policy and Operation Manual are available on the Personnel Committee webpage, which is a section of the business side of our website. (If you haven’t already, you will be prompted to log-in or register for our business site to access this page.)
Program Committee serves as a planning and oversight committee for the annual sessions of Canadian Yearly Meeting and acts as a coordinating body for the different groups responsible for aspects of the yearly meeting sessions.
The planning and oversight responsibilities include site selection, liaison with the site’s administrators, local arrangements, publicity, scheduling of daily events, arrangements for the Sunderland P. Gardner lecture and the Bible or Quaker study. The committee takes into account evaluations of previous Canadian Yearly Meetings.
Program Committee works actively with Continuing Meeting of Ministry & Counsel, Agenda Committee, Education & Outreach Committee, and the Canadian Yearly Meeting office, among others, in planning and carrying out the sessional duties of CYM.
Members of Program Committee are appointed with regard for appropriate geographical representation in order to facilitate liaison with the local arrangement committees for sites chosen for the annual gathering. By virtue of their positions, Program Committee includes the clerk(s) of Canadian Yearly Meeting, Continuing Meeting of Ministry & Counsel, Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting, and others.
For members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting, there is a Program Committee section of the business side of our website, which has committee documents and other information. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
Publications & Communications Committee
Publications & Communications Committee uses various media in support of the Canadian Quaker community to foster dialogue among its members and support the work they do as part of Canadian Yearly Meeting. The committee also aims to provide clear and useful information about the Religious Society of Friends for non-Quakers.
Publications & Communications Committee is responsible for production and distribution of The Canadian Friend, the main communications tool of CYM, which is available in print three times a year. It also oversees Quaker.ca and has the Canadian Learning Series under its care. It also publishes the CYM e-mail newsletter, a compilation of news and announcements for Canadian Quakers, often related to the life the Yearly Meeting.
For members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting, there is a Publication & Communication Committee section of the business side of our website, which has committee documents and other information. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
Other Working Bodies
Board of Trustees
Canadian Yearly Meeting is an unincorporated religious body. It is therefore required to have Trustees who are responsible in law for all the undertakings and actions of Canadian Yearly Meeting.
The Board of Trustees of Canadian Yearly Meeting holds title to all properties belonging to CYM and is responsible for ensuring their good stewardship. The management of some properties is delegated to standing committees of Canadian Yearly Meeting or a subcommittee of trustees. The trustees administer a number of funds and are responsible for allocations, consistent with the terms of each fund and all bequests (see Bequest Policy).
The CYM Investment Policy describes the ethical and financial guidelines approved by CYM for use by the trustees. The trustees make an annual report to CYM describing the status of Canadian Yearly Meeting’s holdings and their actions as trustees. This report appears in Documents in Advance for the Yearly Meeting Session, along with the audited financial statements, which include details about investments, revenues and expenses for all of the funds. (These documents are on password-protected Business site, under Yearly Meeting Documents.)
Trustees are appointed by Canadian Yearly Meeting to serve without term limitations.
Canadian Yearly Meeting owns the following properties:
- Camp NeeKauNis – located in Waubaushene (Ontario) and managed by the Camp NeeKauNis Committee, who are appointed by CYM
- Canadian Yearly Meeting Library and Archives – located at Pickering College (Newmarket, Ontario) and managed by the CYM Archivist under the direction of the Archives Committee, who are appointed by CYM
- Pickering Friends Cemetery – an open cemetery located in Ajax (Ontario), administered by a member of the Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground Committee, and maintained by local volunteers
- Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground – an open cemetery located in Newmarket (Ontario) and managed and administered by the YSFBG Committee, a subcommittee of the CYM Trustees
- Hay Bay Cemetery – a closed cemetery located in Adolphustown (Ontario), maintained by a local caretaker
For a complete list of funds established for a variety of CYM activities, see the Trustee Resources page and the pamphlet Quaker Trust Funds in Canada (PDF). The amounts available for programmes are listed in the annual audited financial statements. (The latest audited statement and links to past ones are on the Donation page.) For funding individual Quakers can apply for, see the Quaker Funding page.
The funds disbursed by the decisions of the CYM Trustees include:
- Albert S. Rogers Fund — funds disbursed on recommendation of Trustees
- Joseph P. Rogers Fund — for assistance to Friends who have been of service to Friends
- Sarah E. Richardson Fund — for Friends travelling in the ministry in Canada
- Pickering Cemetery Fund, Yonge Street Cemetery Fund, Hay Bay Cemetery Fund — for each of the cemeteries.
For members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting, there is a Board of Trustees section of the business side of our website, which has committee documents and other information. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
Canadian Friends Service Committee
Founded in 1931, Canadian Friends Service Committee addresses the peace and social concerns of Quakers in Canada, nationally and internationally.
Rooted in our Quaker faith, Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC) is guided by a vision of a world in which peace and justice prevail, where the causes of war and oppression are removed, a world in which the whole of Creation is treated with respect and where individuals and communities are freed to reach their fullest potential.
Visit CFSC’s website for more information about its work and witness.
Foreign Mission Board
In recent years, the concept of missionary work has changed—and with it, the emphasis of the Board. The Board maintains interest and support of the work of Canadian Friends overseas insofar as these projects minister to the whole person—both the physical and spiritual condition.
The Board receives funds from several previous bequests, and more recently, from capital from the sale of the Botsford Street Meetinghouse in Newmarket, Ontario. The Board does not currently initiate projects.
Ministry & Counsel
Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (CMM&C) seeks to help and encourage Friends to look to spiritual guidance, known as ‘leadings’. CMM&C does not solve problems, but rather aids Friends in a search for solutions in the Spirit. It is the ongoing presence of a separate organization: Canadian Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel. These groups perform some of the functions of paid clergy in other religions.
Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Council (CMM&C):
- provides pastoral care and support for all Meetings for Worship across Canada;
- receives and considers concerns arising from Meetings or individuals in matters relating to worship, or the living out of our faith and testimonies as Friends. When appropriate, CCM&C may channel these concerns to other bodies of the Canadian Yearly Meeting;
- receives and shares the joys directed to us from any part of the Canadian Yearly Meeting (CYM) family;
- performs major preliminary planning for the next CYM session and sends a representative to Programme Committee in the fall to further plan the program for the next year;
- names a theme and finds a leader for the Pre-CYM Retreat;
- receives State of Society Reports from Monthly Meetings and Worship Groups from across Canada and drafts a report on the findings to be read and approved at CYM;
- addresses challenges Friends face (such as aging, community safety, death and dying, conflict in Meetings, care of children) and provides helpful resources.
Responsibilities at Canadian Yearly Meeting in Session
- holds the Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel at which representatives from all Canadian monthly meetings of Ministry and Counsel may be present. The purpose of this meeting is to share joys and concerns, derive support and strength to take home for our responsibilities in our own meetings, and consider nominations for CMM&C;
- cares for all Meetings for Worship, including business meetings, held at CYM;
- organizes worship study, worship sharing, silent worship, walking meditation, chanting, Memorial Meeting, Pre-CYM Retreat, ‘Experience of The Spirit In My Life’ Worship, and meeting for healing;
- names and cares for the CYM Listeners;
- encourages Friends to look for the leading of the Spirit in process of doing business;
- ensures there a silent room for all, and a space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer Friends should they wish to worship together as well.
- puts in place Committees of Care when needed;
- connects with youth programs.
State of Society Report
Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Council encourages meetings and worship groups across the country to look deeply into the spiritual health of their meetings, to act on their findings as necessary and write about it in a yearly State of Society Report. CMM&C receives these reports and prepare a report on our findings to present to CYM.
Creating this report is a truly spiritual exercise—a commentary on our corporate spiritual health as reflected by the monthly meetings across Canada.
Structure of Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel (CMM&C)
The committee comprises of six appointed Friends (two from western, central and eastern Canada) who carry on the work of Canadian Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel throughout the year.
CMM&C reports to Canadian Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel.
Canadian Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel itself is a separate but parallel meeting to CYM and is composed of the six members of CMM&C as well as all members of monthly meetings’ Ministry and Counsel committees (or appointees to represent them who are present at the Yearly Meeting). The Canadian Yearly Meeting of Ministry and Counsel assists, nurtures and supports those attending CYM in session, while CMM&C carries this responsibility during the year.
Appointment to the Committee
The presiding members of M&C and the CYM Nominating Committee recommend names for new appointments to M&C.
A letter of recommendation from the Monthly Meeting where the nominee holds membership is also required.
Final approval of membership comes from CYM.
Appointments are for a three-year term with an additional three-year appointment possible with a second nomination approved by CYM. Six years is the maximum period one can serve successively.
CMM&C meets twice a year. The committee is open to invitations from any Canadian monthly meeting to host these meetings.
In order to facilitate communication with other Friends committees, CMM&C meets in the fall before CYM Programme Committee and Representative Meeting, and again in the spring before Representative Meeting.
A representative from CMM&C attends CYM Programme Committee and both Representative Meetings. All CMM&C members are required to attend CYM.
For members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting, there is a Continuing Meeting of Ministry & Counsel section of the business side of our website, which has committee documents and other information. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
Quaker Ecology Action Network
The Quaker Ecology Action Network’s work concerns the relationship of our activities with the environment and other living things. It works to promote a Quaker faith perspective on living in harmony with God’s continuing creation. Meeting annually at CYM, its current main activity is an open e-list to which members are able to post.
Representative Meeting is entrusted with the general care of matters that affect the life of Canadian Yearly Meeting between the full sessions of Yearly Meeting.
Representative Meeting is entrusted to take action and make public statements on behalf of Canadian Yearly Meeting in light of the faith and practice of Yearly Meeting as determined by testimonies and procedures of Friends. It is not authorized to make changes to the Yearly Meeting Discipline or to extend statements of faith. These matters are the responsibility of Yearly Meeting in session.
Representative Meeting extends advice and assistance to Friends suffering on account of their witness to Friends’ testimonies.
Representative Meeting has responsibility for care and administration of financial and personnel matters within Canadian Yearly Meeting. It meets on such dates as Canadian Yearly Meeting or Representative Meeting may designate. It reports annually on its proceedings to Canadian Yearly Meeting and may ask Yearly Meeting to consider some matters in full session for specific action.
Each monthly meeting appoints a representative to Representative Meeting for a term of five years, so that approximately a fifth of these representatives are named each year at the rise of Canadian Yearly Meeting. Monthly meetings may appoint an alternate if their representative is unable to attend. Quarterly and half-yearly meetings may also appoint representatives.
Representative Meeting consists of:
- a representative from each monthly meeting of Canadian Yearly Meeting;
- a representative from each quarterly meeting and half-yearly meeting of Canadian Yearly Meeting, if they wish;
- the clerk(s) of Canadian Yearly Meeting;
- the clerks of Canadian Yearly Meeting standing committees;
- the clerks of other Canadian Yearly Meeting bodies (trustees, Continuing Meeting of Ministry and Counsel, Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting);
- the clerk of Representative Meeting and the clerks of Finance and Personnel Committees;
- the treasurer of Canadian Yearly Meeting.
At least ten members must be present to hold a Representative Meeting.
Members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting can access the Representative Meeting Docs page on the business side of our website, which has minutes, agendas, and other documents. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
Young Friends Meeting
Canadian Young Friends Yearly Meeting brings together young Quakers to age 18 and young adult Quakers to age 35 in yearly sessions held at the same time as Canadian Yearly Meeting.
Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground
Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground (YSFBG) is an active cemetery, located at 17000 Yonge Street, just south of the Yonge Street Meeting House in Newmarket. Lots for interment and rights for scattering ashes are available for purchase. The Burial Ground is for the use of members and regular attenders of the Religious Society of Friends and their immediate family members (spouses, parents, children, or grandchildren).
For more information – including some history, photos, and how to purchase space there or donate to support the cemetery, visit the Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground webpage.
Several previous committees have been laid down because of an end of mandate or the transfer of responsibilities to other committees. For further information on these, contact the CYM Office.
For members and attenders of of Canadian Yearly Meeting, the Past Committees section of the business side of our website still have documents and other information from some of these committees. To access this section, you will be prompted to sign in or sign up as a user of the business site.
Substantial material on a Consultation and Renewal Process that operated from 2004 to 2012 is publicly available in Resources>Reports.