2018 Allegations of Sexual Assault | Hockey Canada Resumes Investigation

(Toronto) Hockey Canada promises change.

Posted at 6:23 am
Updated at 12:39 pm

Joshua Clipperton
Canadian press

It remains to be seen if these measures are sufficient to satisfy the general public, fans, the federal government and sponsors.

The National Sports Federation, which has been attacked for several weeks, made a series of announcements in an open letter to Canadians issued Thursday morning. In particular, we will resume investigating allegations of sexual assault involving members of the 2018 National Junior Team. The investigation will be conducted again by an independent third party.

Hockey Canada has clarified that the participation of all affected players is mandatory and added that anyone who refuses will be immediately banned from all activities and programs in effect.

The organization has previously stated that it “strongly encourages” players to participate in the investigation of the case after the 2018 Hockey Canada Reception, but did not mandate it.

Scott Smith, President and CEO of Hockey Canada, took office on May 1st.er In July, he has held various positions since 1995, but last month he told the Heritage Standing Committee that he was among the 19 players on the team before the first incomplete investigation that ended in September 2020. “12 or 13” said they were interviewed.

“We are inadequately responding to the actions of some members of the 2018 National Junior Team, or even to end the culture of toxic behavior within our sport. I know that, “Hockey Canada wrote in a three-page letter on Thursday.

“I am truly sorry. “”

Hockey Canada quietly filed a proceeding in May following a woman’s allegations of being attacked by eight players during an event in London, Ontario, including members of the National Junior Team, who won the 2018 gold medal. solved.

Neither claim has been proved in court.

Smith, then president of Hockey Canada, and retiring CEO Tom Lenny were questioned by Ottawa lawmakers last month after news of the alleged assault and the deal.

Dissatisfied with the leader’s reaction, the federal government then stopped providing public funding to the entire Union, followed by many sponsors waiting for the next step.

“We recognize that many of the actions we are taking today should have been done faster and faster,” continued the letter from Canadian Hockey. We are aware of this and will do everything we can to better fulfill our responsibilities to Canadians. »»

PHOTO JUSTIN TANG, Canadian Press Archive

Pascal strike Onji, Minister of Sport

Asked about her expectations for Thursday’s hockey Canada announcement, Federal Sports Minister Pascal Stoongji said she was positive about the move, albeit with some reservations.

“This is a step in the right direction, but since we expect the boots to follow the lips, it is the actions and consequences taken that show the strength of Hockey Canada’s commitment.” National Hockey. »»

Mmyself St-Onge praised the adoption of the educational component with consent, “because hockey occupies so much space in their lives that we need to discuss these issues with young people.” ..

However, the minister recalled that the written promise from Canadian hockey was not sufficient for the organization to regain government funding.

“Hockey Canada has not yet complied with the terms submitted (for funding). First, Hockey Canada has signed a document from the Sports Integrity Commissioner so that its office can report cases of abuse and abuse. You will be able to handle it, and you will also receive a company recommendation that you are working to improve the culture within Canadian Hockey, as well as a concrete plan to implement it. […] So unless you’re happy with your specific actions, we’ll keep the decision (to stop funding). “myself St-Onge.

Hockey Canada has clarified that athletes, coaches, team staff and volunteers associated with high performance programs need to participate in forced sexual violence and consent training.

He also promises to be the full signer of the Sports Integrity Commission (BCIS), a new government agency authorized to carry out and investigate the organization’s full third-party governance review. Imposing sanctions.

Hockey Canada has also announced that it will create an “Independent Confidential Complaint Mechanism” to provide victims and survivors with the tools and support they need to report these behaviors.

Sports Minister Pascal St. Onji said last month that authorities would prepare an incomplete third-party report and that federal funding would not recover until he became the signer of BCIS.

However, Hockey Canada did not promise to publish an incomplete or complete report to the government in a letter Thursday.

“We hear from the general public, players, their families, supporters, sponsors, and those affected by what happened in 2018,” the organization writes.

When the investigation was completed by the same Toronto law firm hired in 2018, Hockey Canada was referred to an independent arbitral tribunal consisting of current and former judges and may include a lifetime ban. Determine the outcome of such measures. ” From hockey Canada activities, both on and off ice. »»

The alleged victim of the assault sought $ 3.55 million in damages from the Canadian Hockey Association, the Canadian Hockey League, and anonymous players.

Hockey Canada said the woman refused to speak to both the London police (the police ended the investigation in February 2019) and her law firm.

Hockey Canada added that women have decided not to identify athletes.

“We pay tribute to the courage of the young women involved and respect her decision to participate in the survey the way she wants,” continued Hockey Canada.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed, but Smith told the Canadian Cultural Heritage Standing Committee in June that Hockey Canada had funded and paid the full amount, adding that government funding had not been used.

St-Onge ordered an audit to confirm that it was the case.

The Committee will meet on July 26th and 27th to hear from other Witnesses. He also requested an edited copy of the nondisclosure agreement related to the settlement and a long list of contacts from Canadian hockey.

We are also investigating the NHL as some of the players on the team are currently playing in the league.

St-Onge said he only learned about the case and reconciliation on the phone with Lenny a few days before TSN revealed the story. Hockey Canada said it notified Sports Canada of the situation in June 2018.

The Federation outlines a number of steps taken within our organization and with our partners and stakeholders to improve the culture surrounding our sport in a detailed “Action Plan”. Added that it will be announced.

“We know that this change won’t happen overnight,” Hockey Canada said.

“But we have every intention to learn and work with our partners to improve. »»

Scotiabank, Telus, Tim Hortons and Imperial Oil are companies under their Esso brand that have suspended or withdrawn funding for Hockey Canada or certain events.

According to government records, Hockey Canada received $ 14 million from Ottawa in 2020 and 2021. This includes a COVID-19 grant of $ 3.4 million.

Smith said last month that Hockey Canada reported three sexual assault complaints, including the London case, but refused to discuss the other two before the committee last month. He added that there have been up to two sexual misconduct complaints in each of the last five or six years.

“The message from the people is very clear. You expect our national sport and the people who represent it to work hard to earn your trust every day. We listen to you. We are determined to make the necessary changes to enable us to become an organization at your high expectations and regain our trust in us, “concludes the letter from Hockey Canada.” I am.

The Canadian Press Alexander Jefflion-McKinnis and Frederick Lavois-Couture