Federal government freezes Hockey Canada funding
The sports minister’s office confirmed to Sportsnet on Wednesday that it is freezing government funding for Hockey Canada, effective immediately.
The news, which was first reported by TSN, comes just two days after two of the organization’s top officials, outgoing CEO Tom Renney and Chairman Scott Smith, testified before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. on Monday about their actions around the June 2018 sexual assault allegations that just came to light.
The focus of the hearing included questions about whether or not Hockey Canada used public funds in its settlement of the lawsuit that followed last month. Canada’s sports minister, Pascale St-Onge, requested a forensic audit of Hockey Canada’s finances earlier this month.
When contacted by Sportsnet for further comment on the decision to freeze funding, St-Onge provided the following statement, which includes:
“On Monday, Hockey Canada’s testimony did not provide us with enough information. We haven’t learned much, and what we have learned is deeply troubling.
Hockey Canada said it would not share with the committee the advice it received from the independent firm (Henein & Hutchison), or how it intends to respond to it. We have also heard that the independent investigation has not been completed and that John Doe’s 8 players have not been identified. This is unacceptable.
Hockey Canada testimony also revealed that they had another case of alleged sexual misconduct by players in the past five to six years. I cannot accept this standard as business as usual in our national sport organizations, and neither should Canadians.
Given their testimony, and effective immediately, I am suspending further federal funding to Hockey Canada until they meet two conditions:
• They must disclose the recommendations for improvement provided by Henein and Hutchison and the concrete details of their plan for implementing the change.
• They must become signatories of the Sports Integrity Commissioner.
This means that Hockey Canada will not receive any further payments or new funding from Sport Canada until they comply with these terms. »
Each year, 6% of Hockey Canada’s annual budget, or approximately $7.8 million, comes from government funding.
Hockey Canada, its finances and the organization’s internal reporting structure have been in the spotlight since the June 2018 allegations were first made public last month with the settlement of a lawsuit brought by a woman. who claims she was sexually assaulted in a London, Ontario. hotel room by eight Canadian Hockey League players. She did not name the players, some of whom were part of the 2017-18 Canadian Junior Men’s National Team, and also made clear her wish to keep her own identity private.
The lawsuit, in which the woman sought $3.55 million in damages, was filed in Ontario Superior Court on April 20. Terms of the settlement have not been released.
Hockey Canada told Monday’s hearing that an independent investigation into the allegations was launched in 2018 but ultimately remains incomplete.
— With files from Paul Grant of Sportsnet