Federal committee to discuss next steps after receiving documents from Hockey Canada

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Editor’s note: The following story deals with sexual assault and may be distressing for some readers.

If you or someone you know needs help, those in Canada can find centres, crisis lines and services specific to each province. here. For readers in America, a list of resources and references for survivors and their loved ones can be found here.

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has received a series of documents from Hockey Canada regarding the organization’s handling of sexual assault allegations in 2018 and the subsequent settlement of the lawsuit.

A Hockey Canada spokesperson confirmed to Sportsnet that the documentation had been provided to the committee and receipt of the documentation was confirmed Friday afternoon. The deadline to submit the documents, which were requested last month by the federal committee following Hockey Canada’s testimony in Ottawa, was Friday at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Members of the Heritage Committee will meet on Monday to determine how to proceed ahead of Hockey Canada’s next round of hearings on July 26-27, and determine what information the committee is able to release and what can legally be discussed at those hearings. hearings.

« Some are confidential. Some are privileged. And so we have to decide what we do, because we are having public meetings, » said the Hon. Hedy Fry, MP for Vancouver Center and chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, told CityNews Parliament Hill bureau chief Cormac Mac Sweeney on Friday. (The interview took place before receipt of all documents was confirmed.)

The committee’s request included the non-disclosure agreement (with the names of the requester and players redacted), copies of communications between Hockey Canada, the teams and the players, and all relevant internal communications regarding the handling of the allegations. and settlement between June 2018 and July 15, 2022.

« What can be made public will be. What can’t be made public won’t be, » Fry said of the documents.

She said « everything is on track » for the upcoming hearings and was clear about the committee’s objective:

“Our focus is not on who did what, allegedly, to whom – who are the perpetrators, who is the victim. We want to know how Hockey Canada handled this issue in 2018,” she said. « What steps did they take? What conversations did they have? We want to get to the bottom of this because we weren’t happy with our initial responses from them. »

Last month, after hearing testimony in Ottawa from Hockey Canada president Scott Smith, outgoing CEO Tom Renney and Hockey Canada Foundation president Dave Andrews about the handling of the incident, the committee called for other witnesses to appear before Parliament in July. These witnesses include members of Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League, Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge, representatives from the law firm Henein Hutchinson LLP and Hockey Canada’s insurance company, BFL Canada.

« I think if anyone watched the first round of hearings they would realize that the committee, without exception, all the political parties on that committee were concerned and felt that our questions had not been answered. appropriate, » Fry said of the June 20 testimony. . « That’s why we’re calling them back and we’re calling more people as well. And we’re trying to get our hands on some documents. But all of that has to be done in order to protect the privacy of the alleged perpetrators and the privacy of the victim. And these are things that we want to do.

Among the most significant findings of the first hearing on June 20 was that Hockey Canada did not require all players to cooperate with the investigation, led by Henein Hutchison LLP, and that the investigation remained incomplete when it was closed in September. 2020. Many politicians questioned what had been done in the years since the allegations to prevent further damage, and were troubled by the revelation that the organization had received reports of other incidents since .

“How often does this happen? Does this happen often? Why is this still happening after 2018? What steps have you taken to prevent this from happening? that we’re trying to achieve, » Fry said. Friday.

In April, a woman sued Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and eight CHL players, including some members of Canada’s 2017-18 World Junior Team. In the official statement, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she was sexually assaulted by eight players in a London, Ont. hotel room after a Hockey Canada gala. The lawsuit was settled in May. The case was not heard in court.

In the weeks since the allegations came to light with news of the settlement, Hockey Canada has come under intense scrutiny for its handling of the incident. Last month the government froze its funding and soon after several major sponsors announced they were withdrawing their support for the organization ahead of the next (rescheduled) 2022 World Junior Championships in August, demanding changes and changes. responsibilities within the organization.

On Thursday, Hockey Canada announced it was reopening its investigation into the incident. The woman, who was not involved in the 2018 investigations by police or Hockey Canada, will participate in the reopened investigation, her lawyer told Sportsnet on Thursday.

— With files by Cormac Mac Sweeney and Paul D. Grant

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