Safe Environments & Abuse Prevention

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton is committed to fostering a safe environment for its members and for all those who interact with the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Edmonton. Sexual abuses of the past done by a number of clergy and others must never be repeated. We are also called to take active measures to prevent abuse of any kind in the future. We must ensure to the best of our ability that our parishes and ministries offer a safe environment to all, particularly to children and vulnerable adults such as the sick, elderly or disabled.

For this reason, strong abuse prevention policies and protocols are in place throughout the archdiocese to support and ensure helpful and safe environments within all of our Catholic programs, ministries, parishes, and institutions. These policies and protocols are reviewed regularly and can be found on the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton website, Abuse Policies.

I am pleased to share with you the following information to further demonstrate and affirm our ongoing commitment towards creating and maintaining safe and secure environments for all.

  1. All clergy, lay employees and volunteers serving in the Archdiocese of Edmonton in medium – high risk ministries are required to:
    • Obtain an updated Police Information Check and Vulnerable Sector Check every four years
    • Obtain an Intervention Records Check when working with children or youth below 18 years
    • Participate in Called to Protect, an abuse prevention-training program that presents best practices in ministering safely to young and vulnerable populations. Called to Protect specifically teaches participants how to identify and respond to inappropriate boundary violations that may lead to sexual abuse and how to report abuse if it has occurred. Refresher courses are additionally mandated.

    To date, over 12,000 clergy, lay employees and volunteers within the Archdiocese have received Called to Protect training.

  2. Any archdiocesan employee, clergy or volunteer who offends against children or other vulnerable persons, is promptly removed from ministry, criminal offences are immediately reported to civil authorities, and victims receive an apology, compassion and assistance to recover from any harm they have suffered, including compensation where appropriate. Every allegation of abuse is taken very seriously, and the archdiocese cooperates with public authorities in investigating all matters of the abuse, especially those involving minors and/or vulnerable persons. An independent investigator is engaged in the process.
    • A confidential means of reporting abuse by clergy, employees and volunteers is available by email and by toll free phone number
    • A confidential means of reporting sexual abuse, misconduct or coverup of abuse by a Bishop is available on the website at or phone 1-866-892-3737. For more information, please visit: Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop.
  3. Pastoral care, accompaniment, advocacy, support and resources are provided to families and survivors of church-based sexual abuse, in their efforts to achieve psychological, emotional and spiritual healing. Survivors/victims receive an apology, compassion and assistance to recover from any harm they have suffered, including compensation where appropriate.
  4. The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton achieved Praesidium Accreditation® in 2017 by meeting Praesidium’s rigorous standards for organizations that serve children, youth and vulnerable persons.
  5. The archdiocese employs a Safe Environments Lead, supported by an Advisory Committee, to oversee implementation of Safe Environment and Abuse Prevention programs in the archdiocese.

The mistakes of the past have caused great pain, but they also offer us an opportunity to work for change in exercising our responsibility for the care of children, vulnerable people, and each other. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this important topic. We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we will always be diligent in answering the call to protect.

Sincerely in Christ,
✠ Richard W. Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton

Published August 2022



At the direction of Archbishop Richard Smith, the Archdiocese has worked since 2010 with Praesidium, an international leader in abuse risk management, to promote safe environments and best practices in abuse prevention at its parishes and institutions.

In March 2017 the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton achieved Praesidium Accreditation®, an honour that publicly demonstrates that it has worked to achieve the highest standards in abuse prevention. It is the first Archdiocese in North America to complete this rigorous process. We have again been accredited in 2023 until 2026.

See the News Release: Archdiocese Honoured for Abuse Prevention Practices.