Federal government freezes Hockey Canada funding due to assault allegations
The money train is about to stop for Hockey Canada, at least for now.
Among ongoing allegationsthe Canadian government is freezing millions of dollars in federal funding to the organization until it is better equipped to handle, investigate and impose sanctions regarding allegations of sexual assault and abuse, according to TSN’s Rick Westhead .
The federal government distributed more than $14 million to Hockey Canada in 2020 and 2021, according to government records cited by Westhead, which included $3.4 million in emergency COVID-19 relief funds.
Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge made the announcement in an interview Wednesday, saying, “It’s about changing a deeply rooted culture, it’s not just about band-aid solutions.
St-Onge said Hockey Canada must sign on with the new Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner, which this week began taking abuse complaints involving Canadian national sports teams.
“I’m going to use every tool at my disposal to make sure people are held accountable for what happens in hockey,” St-Onge said.
Hockey Canada will also need to document its plans to implement changes within the organization.
Finally, St-Onge said Hockey Canada must publicly disclose recommendations it received from the Toronto law firm it hired to investigate recent sexual abuse allegations in order to resume its funding.
Earlier this week, Hockey Canada president Scott Smith and outgoing CEO Tom Renney testified before the Standing Committee about the allegations. The woman, now 24, claims she was assaulted by eight Canadian Hockey League players — including at least several members of the 2018 Canadian junior team — in a hotel room after a golf tournament and gala of Hockey Canada which took place in June in London, Ontario.
During testimony, Smith declined to divulge details about two other sexual assault complaints that Hockey Canada is currently investigating, adding that the organization files two to three sexual assault complaints a year.
Hockey Canada and the 24-year-old mentioned above reached an agreement over the allegations in May. At the time, she was seeking $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the CHL and Players Anonymous.
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