After a scandal-filled summer, Hockey Canada continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons.
According to a new report from Grant Robertson and Colin Freeze of The Globe and Mail, Hockey Canada built a second fund to cover sexual assault claims and other lawsuits. The "Participants Legacy Trust Fund" was reportedly created with more than $7.1 million from the "National Equity Fund," which was used to settle a lawsuit filed this year by a woman who alleged she was sexually abused by members of Canada's 2018 World Juniors team.
The money in the Participants Legacy Trust Fund was used “for matters including but not limited to sexual abuse,” according to Hockey Canada documents obtained by The Globe and Mail. This fund was reportedly established in 1999 for Hockey Canada’s member branches, including provincial hockey organizations around the country. It was created to handle claims dating from 1986 to 1995, before Hockey Canada began purchasing insurance for sexual assault claims and other liabilities.
This trust was reportedly supposed to be dissolved in 2020, but the terms were altered to ensure it would remain in place until 2039.
Like the National Equity Fund, the Participants Legacy Trust Fund has drawn widespread outrage from politicians across Canada.
“The name of the fund is designed to conceal and there is no doubt that that is the attempt,” NDP MP Peter Julian told The Globe and Mail. “This is another example of stonewalling and concealing of information that hockey parents and the general public need to know.”
Conservative MP John Nater also criticized Hockey Canada, taking aim at the organization using player registration fees to help build these sizeable financial reserves.
“When families put their money into registration fees, they assume it’s going to be related to their kids, to their families, their participation in the sport," Nater told Robertson and Freeze. "And to hear that funds are being used for matters of significant wrongdoing, this fails the test on transparency.”
Hockey Canada interim board of directors chair Andrea Skinner and former chair Michael Brind'Amour have been summoned to testify on Tuesday in front of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage as hearings are set to resume.
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