Buying and selling church property

Canon 6 – “Acquisition, Disposition and/or Alteration of Real Property and Related Rights”

Canon 6 states that “all real property in the Diocese is held for the Diocese irrespective of the name of the registered owner.” As a result, all purchases and sales of property (e.g. vacant land, rectories, other residential housing) must be approved by Diocesan Council.

Approval process

The Procedure Pursuant to Canon 6 outlines the process you need to follow, along with the documentation you need to submit.

  • Discuss any acquisition (including buying property or receiving it as a donation/gift) or disposition of property with your area bishop to get their written support. You should also consult the Executive Director of the Diocese.
  • All requests are reviewed by both the Executive Board and the Trusts Committee. Each makes a recommendation to Diocesan Council.
  • Parishes can’t enter into a binding legal agreement until Diocesan Council has granted its approval. To make sure that happens, all Agreements of Purchase & Sale must include three additional vendor’s conditions that parishes can get from the Director of Property Resources.

To avoid any potential conflicts of interest, all real estate professionals (realtors, solicitors, etc.) retained by the parish should be at arms-length from the corporation.

Disestablishment of a parish or congregation

Disestablishment happens in consultation with the area bishop and in keeping with Canon 13. The churchwardens need to complete all church business and deliver specific documents and information to the Diocesan Centre within 90 days of the Declaration of Disestablishment.

Churchwardens should consult the Church Closing Checklist for help through the disestablishment process.


For more information, contact Wendy Pearson, Property Resources Specialist, at 416-363-6021, ext. 245 (1-800-668-8932).