By Leanne Witten
In general, the Anglican Church operates separately from the state, but is structured around a system of leadership from within the church itself.
There are two branches of the Anglican Church in Canada. The Anglican Network of Canada (ANiC) is under the Episcopal authority of Bishop Charles Masters under oversight of Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America. The Anglican Church of Canada is part of the Anglican Communion, and therefore under the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Though Canada is technically under the authority of our Head of State, the British Monarchy, which is directly involved with the Church of England, church and state relations between churches in Canada are very different from those of the Anglican Church in England. To begin with, there is no official state church in Canada like there is in England: In England, the Anglican Church is the official state church headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Anglican Church in England also has a law-making role in Britain, unlike the Anglican church in Canada. 26 Bishops sit in the House of Lords in England and bring religious ethos to the secular process of law. In Canada, there are laws protecting religious freedom, but otherwise there exists a tradition of non-interference in religious affairs within the country.
Though the church and state are separate in Canada, leadership from within the church is nonetheless important in the Anglican Church. The churches have deacons, priests, and bishops who oversee church governance and ensure the teaching in the Anglican church remains rooted in its foundational doctrines.