Sports minister freezes Hockey Canada’s government funding in wake of sex assault settlement

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The federal authorities has put Hockey Canada on discover.

Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge introduced Wednesday the group’s entry to public funds has been frozen, efficient instantly, over its response to an alleged sexual assault and subsequent out-of-court settlement.

The transfer comes after Hockey Canada president Scott Smith and outgoing CEO Tom Renney had been grilled by MPs earlier this week throughout a Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage listening to.

“We had been all anticipating solutions to all of the questions, the various questions, that we have now concerning how they dealt with the entire state of affairs once they testified,” St-Onge advised reporters in Ottawa. “Sadly, we didn’t obtain many solutions.

“However we did be taught just a few issues.”

St-Onge mentioned Hockey Canada will solely have funding restored as soon as it discloses suggestions contained in an incomplete report by a third-party regulation agency employed to research the alleged incident 4 years in the past.

Hockey Canada should additionally turn into a signatory to the Workplace of the Integrity Commissioner, a brand new authorities company with the facility to independently examine abuse complaints and levy sanctions.

“With the story itself that is fully horrible, and the entire administration of this example that’s completely inappropriate, I’ve determined to droop any future public funding till they meet two quite simple, however necessary, circumstances,” St-Onge mentioned.

WATCH | Hockey Canada denies public funds used for sexual assault allegation settlement:

Hockey Canada denies public funds used for sexual assault allegation settlement

Hockey Canada executives advised a parliamentary committee that it didn’t use public funding to pay a settlement following sexual assault allegations in opposition to gamers.

Then later Wednesday, the Home of Commons unanimously permitted a movement by Bloc Quebecois MP Sebastien Lemire to pursue an impartial investigation that can look into how Hockey Canada handled the allegations.

“[The aim is] to determine if this was an remoted occasion or if there are shortcomings with the way in which Hockey Canada handles complaints of sexual assault, sexual harassment and different varieties of misconduct,” Lemire mentioned in French.

Federal cash makes up six per cent of Hockey Canada’s coffers, in line with the group’s numbers, trailing enterprise growth and partnerships (43 per cent), funding businesses (14 per cent), insurance coverage premiums (13 per cent) and curiosity income (10 per cent).

St-Onge was requested if the federal government will request that Hockey Canada return any of its federal funding from the final 4 years.

“All choices are nonetheless on the desk,” she replied.

Hockey Canada quietly settled the lawsuit final month after a lady claimed she was assaulted by members of the nation’s 2018 gold-medal successful world junior hockey workforce in June of that 12 months at a gala and golf perform in London, Ont.

The lady, now 24, was looking for $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and the unnamed gamers. Particulars of the settlement haven’t been made public, however Smith mentioned Monday no authorities or insurance coverage cash was used.

St-Onge has mentioned she solely discovered of the allegations and settlement two days earlier than TSN broke the story late final month after receiving a cellphone name from Renney. Hockey Canada mentioned it knowledgeable Sport Canada of the state of affairs in June 2018.

A spokeswoman for Hockey Canada didn’t reply to an electronic mail request for remark Wednesday.

Legal investigation closed in 2019

Hockey Canada employed Toronto regulation agency Henein Hutchison LLP to conduct its investigation, however Smith and Renney advised MPs that whereas gamers current on the occasion in London had been “strongly inspired” to take part, it was not mandated.

That left MPs at Monday’s committee assembly shocked.

Renney initially testified that between 4 and 6 of the 19 gamers in query spoke with investigators earlier than Smith indicated later the quantity was 12 or 13.

“The impartial mechanism that they mandated to research … was unable to finish their investigation and never all gamers participated, which reveals that their mechanism shouldn’t be well-functioning,” St-Onge mentioned.

Hockey Canada has mentioned repeatedly the lady determined in opposition to talking with police or its investigators. Smith and Renney reiterated Monday the lady additionally selected to not establish the gamers.

The executives added Hockey Canada nonetheless doesn’t know the identities of the eight gamers in query.

Smith mentioned London police knowledgeable Hockey Canada its felony investigation was closed as of February 2019. The impartial investigation resulted in September 2020, however Renney mentioned the report is incomplete and should not be launched.

“There may be not rather more that we have now to supply by way of data alongside these traces,” he testified Monday.

‘Unacceptable’

“Hockey Canada mentioned they’d not share with the committee the recommendation they obtained from the impartial agency … or how they plan to reply,” St-Onge mentioned Wednesday in a press release. “We additionally heard that the impartial investigation was not accomplished, nor had been the eight John Doe gamers recognized.

“That is unacceptable.”

The NHL, which additionally solely just lately discovered of the allegations, is conducting its personal investigation as a result of a number of the gamers in query at the moment are within the league.

Hockey Canada obtained $14 million from Ottawa in 2020 and 2021, together with $3.4 million in COVID-19 subsidies, in line with authorities information obtained by CBC and TSN.

Smith testified Hockey Canada has reported three sexual assault complaints in recent times, together with the London incident, however would not focus on the opposite two in entrance of the committee.

“I can not touch upon the extent of investigation,” mentioned Smith, including there have been one to 2 complaints of sexual misconduct every of the final 5 or 6 years.

Not adequate, in line with St-Onge.

“I can not settle for this commonplace as enterprise as ordinary in our nationwide sport organizations,” she mentioned in her assertion.

“And Canadians shouldn’t both.”



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