Early in the year, each parish receives from the Synod Office an all-important annual statistical return package. In addition to the statistical return itself (seeking, for example, the number of people on the parish roll, in full communion, identifiable givers, and in the church school and parish groups, along with financial information), the package also includes the “pink sheets,” the parish contact information form and an administrative covering letter.
Please note that although the forms are fillable electronically, they need to be downloaded to your computer before you fill them out to ensure that they may be saved and printed. The completed forms must be submitted, with signatures where required, to the Synod Office by March 15. Don’t forget to make copies for the parish files.
Find below the contents of the current annual statistical return package. Please do not forget to include an audited financial statement with the statistical return.
- Statistical Return Letter
- Form 1: Certificate of Election of Lay Members to Synod 2018 (formerly referred to as the Pink Sheets; Side A)
- Form 2: Parish Officers and Assistants (formerly referred to as the Pink Sheets; Side B)
- Form 3: Parish Contact Information (formerly referred to as the Yellow Sheets)
- Form 4: Statistical Return Form 2017
- Critical Information for the Calculation of Exemptions Form
- Parish Fair Share Review Guidelines
For many years a central pay system has been in place to administer the cost of priestly services on behalf of parishes. The net payments to clergy are deposited biweekly in their bank accounts. Parishes may elect to have members of their lay staff (e.g. caretaker, organist, secretary) serviced in the same way. There is no administrative charge for this service, which is offered by the accounting department of the Synod office. The advantage to the parish is that the parish is relieved of calculating employer and employee salary deductions, of forwarding such deductions to the appropriate authorities, and of handwriting salary cheques.
All parishes must file a complete information return each year with Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate. All the information one needs on the procedure is clearly outlined at the CRA Annual information return (T3010) webpage.
It is extremely important to file your T3010 return within 6 months of the previous year-end.
There are serious consequences for not doing so, including loss of charitable status — loss of the ability to issue charitable tax receipts for donations to your parish. A couple of parishes have, in fact, lost their charitable status in recent years, causing a great deal of upset and consternation among regular and major givers with every expectation of timely tax receipts.
With respect to T3010 returns, the Risk and Audit Committee recommends you
- include in Line 5050-Total gifts to qualified donees excluding enduring property your annual Parish Fair Share and equalization remittances to the Diocese
- report in Schedule 3 – Compensation all people employed by your parish, regardless of whether they are paid through the diocesan Central Pay fund or your parish account
- if filing online, be sure to print the final version before shutting down, as CRA does not save the completed form for you
- submit your T3010 form on time!
The Consolidated Trust Fund (CTF) of the Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Ottawa is one of the Diocese’s three separate funds. CTF holds and manages investments for parishes, Synod, third parties and for various cemeteries. Synod is a registered charitable organization and is exempt from income taxes.
- Application Form
- Application Form Guidelines (.doc)
- Allowing parishes to withhold monies from the CTF
- Decision Rights Details
- Decision Rights Matrices
- Deposit Form
- Encouraging prepayment of Church Extension Fund (CEF) loans
- Financial Performance Summary (.xls)
- Financial Statements
- Investment Policy Statement
- Using CTF funds for capital project-related fair share (Coming soon)
Agreement between Owner and Contractor
The Contractor Agreement Template has been prepared to facilitate the process of obtaining a written agreement with a Contractor chosen to undertake construction/repair work at your churches.
Why You Need a Written Agreement
Oral agreements invite costly misunderstandings because there’s no clear written statement of what the Contractor has agreed to do, how much you have agreed to pay, or what the two of you will do if a dispute arises.
These misunderstandings might be innocent — you and the Contractor may genuinely remember your agreement differently — or they may be intentional. Either way, it will be your word against the Contractor’s. It’s much safer to rely on a written document that clearly sets out the details of what has been agreed to.
A good, solid written Agreement is also the foundation for a positive renovation/construction experience for both the parish and the Contractor. It helps build confidence and the relationship.
More importantly, it helps to prevent misunderstandings and false expectations that can lead to a breakdown in the relationship and jeopardize the project.
When hiring Contractors, keep in mind there are special considerations that cannot be omitted from the Contractor agreement, apart from the obvious items such as the nature of the work and the price. Examples are warrantees, dispute resolutions, insurance issues, etc.
Members of the Property and Finance Committee have prepared the agreement template, with the expectation that parishes will use this kind of agreement when hiring a Contractor, thereby avoiding potential pitfalls and lessening the likelihood of complications and differing opinions.
Here’s hoping the parish and the Contractor used will find it a solid guide.
Equalization among parishes has long been an accepted principle and practice in the Diocese of Ottawa. ECOPS is the financial assessment system we have carefully developed to strengthen our congregations, ministry and mission.
ECOPS enables clergy appointments to be guided principally by ministry gifts and their “fit” with a parish. With ECOPS our bishop is able to appoint senior, experienced clergy with particular gifts to any parish in the Diocese without affecting that parish’s ECOPS payments.
With ECOPS, the amount parishes pay for priestly services is a function of their share of the total diocesan cost of priestly services (excluding housing) and not a function of their particular incumbent’s stipendiary costs. The Parish Fair Share percentage under ECOPS is the three-year average of a parish’s assessable income expressed over the total of all the parishes’ net assessable income.
Parishes are responsible for their own annual financial reports, which should be audited under the terms specified in Bylaw B.5.02 Section 9, and also Regulation 5.06.
At the end of each fiscal year, Deloitte & Touche accountants audit three financial reports for the Diocese:
- Consolidated Trust Fund (CTF), which helps parishes manage and invest their trusts, income from bequests, and proceeds from the sale of rectories or other parish property
- Extension Fund, which provides loans to parishes for capital projects.
- Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Ottawa. Financial data on Community Ministries, mortgages/promissory notes and parish capital assets are included in this document.
Three fiscal policies, in particular, bring parishes onto ground watched closely by the Property and Finance Committee:
To help parishes create a five-year financial budget, there is now a powerful and easy-to-use Excel template available from the Diocese of Ottawa accounting department. It incorporates standard budget categories and calculations that accelerate in-parish financial planning. Its macros let you see, immediately, the impact of any suggested expenditure or revenue over the stretch of years. A preliminary worksheet where you record your own budget assumptions helps make the process both straightforward and deliberate. An additional feature accommodates parishes with outstanding or contemplated loans: the automatic calculation and inclusion of loan financing costs.
Download the latest version of this useful planning tool by clicking the link below. Once you have opened, renamed and saved the file, work your way through the modeling exercise starting with the Model Assumptions tab.
If you require help, simply contact the Director of Financial Ministry by email or at (613) 232-7124 Ext. 241
- Five-year budget template (xls) (July, 2011)
A parish on occasion might be looking for sources of funds for a capital project or other purpose. There are two organizations that the Synod of Ottawa would mention as compatible funding agencies, both of which provide grants. For more information on these, please consult their websites:
Diocese of Ottawa Innovation Fund
The Innovation Fund has been established to provide grants to parishes and deaneries to explore courageously new and innovative ways of being church in support of the vision and priorities of Embracing God’s Future. The Fund seeks to support innovative and forward-thinking projects that will not only benefit the immediate project participants but also serve as a seed for the whole diocese. Grants may be made for up to $10,000 a year for a maximum of two years. Applications must be submitted by September 15, 2018.
Funded by the diocesan operating budget, support grants may be provided to parishes demonstrating a need for assistance. Applications should be submitted to the Synod office, after the Parish Fair Share assessment statement has been received, no later than November 1.
The Church Extension Fund provides loans to parishes for construction of new buildings, and the expansion or renovation of existing buildings. The Fund is administered by the Property and Finance Committee and therefore applications, with appropriate documentation, must be submitted through the Director of Financial Ministry.
The Synod’s operating budget is funded from various sources such as investment income, grants, fees and contributions from all parishes. Contributions from parishes are called Parish Fair Share (PFS). The calculation of PFS is complicated, in part because the Diocese takes into account the ability of each parish to pay. When parishes report their income at the end of a fiscal year, the figures are reduced through very specific deductions then finalized as “assessable income”. The assessable income total for each parish is the basis of the proportional percentage of the total of all parishes’ net incomes.
The PFS calculation is based on the average of the parish’s assessable income for the most recent three years. The purpose of averaging is to even out the anomalies that tend to create significant swings in some parishes’ apportionment figures from one year to the next. Once these percentages are known, the Synod’s budget is proportioned out to each parish.
Parishes must obtain the approval of the Property and Finance Committee before withdrawing any significant amount from the Consolidated Trust Fund (CTF), undertaking any mid- to large-size capital projects, withholding a gift or bequest, or receiving a loan from the Church Extension Fund (CEF). The committee is also pleased to respond to other specific finance-related requests from the parish corporation i.e. churchwardens and incumbent. It meets usually on the second Wednesday of each month (July and August excluded). Your covering letter should summarize the request, clearly stating if it seeks
- a withdrawal from the Consolidated Trust Fund,
- an approval for a project,
- permission to withhold a gift or bequest, or
- some other decision
The deadline for submissions is:
* first Monday of the month (July and August excluded) at the Synod office
Before making a submission be sure to review the
To quote from By-law B3.19 “The possession of all Church land and buildings, the Churchyard and any burying ground attached or belonging thereto, is vested in the Incumbent and Churchwardens for the time being, and the care of the property is therefore their joint responsibility”. However, because of the ultimate ownership of the properties being the Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Ottawa, Regulation R.5.01 states that “Before calling a meeting of the Vestry to deal with any matter respecting lands and buildings…. the Incumbent and Churchwardens shall first consult with the Bishop to discuss any proposal before it is made to the Vestry”.
Policies, procedures and guidelines have been put in place to help parishes understand what they have to do in cases where properties are involved, and also when financial issues related to property matters need to be addressed.