The money train is set to halt for Hockey Canada, at least for now.
Amid ongoing allegations, the Canadian government is freezing millions of dollars in federal funding to the organization until it better equips itself to handle, investigate, and issue sanctions surrounding sexual assault and abuse allegations, according to TSN's Rick Westhead.
The feds doled out 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.
The federal government is freezing Hockey Canada’s funding until the organization signs up with a new federal agency that has the power to receive and investigate abuse complaints and issue sanctions for inappropriate behaviour.
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Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge made the announcement in an interview on Wednesday, stating “This is about changing a deeply entrenched culture, it’s not about simple Band-Aid solutions.”
St-Onge said that Hockey Canada must sign up with the newly-established Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner, which started accepting abuse complaints involving national Canadian sports teams this week.
“I am going to use all the tools at my disposal to make sure that people are held accountable for what’s happening in hockey,” St-Onge said.
Hockey Canada will also be required to record its plans to implement change within the organization.
Lastly, St-Onge said Hockey Canada must publicly disclose the recommendations it received from the Toronto law firm it hired to investigate recent sexual abuse allegations in order to resume resuming its funding.
Earlier this week, Hockey Canada president Scott Smith and outgoing chief executive Tom Renney testified before the Standing Committee about those allegations. The woman, now 24, claims she was assaulted by eight Canadian Hockey League players — including at least several members of Team Canada’s 2018 world juniors team — in a hotel room after a Hockey Canada golf tournament and gala that was held that June in London, Ontario.
During his testimony, Smith declined to divulge details surrounding two other sexual assault complaints that Hockey Canada is currently investigating, adding that the organization fields two to three sexual assault complaints per year.
Hockey Canada and the the 24-year-old woman mentioned above reached a settlement over the allegations in May. At the time, she was seeking $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the CHL and the unnamed players.
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