The Government of Canada has decided to temporarily freeze millions of dollars it has been paying to Hockey Canada, while all elected members of the House of Commons believe an independent investigation into the organization is necessary.
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Federal Sports Minister Pascal Saint-Hung confirmed her decision on Wednesday afternoon.
“On Monday, Hockey Canada Certification did not provide us with enough information. We did not learn much, but what we did learn is very worrying.” The organization said it would not share with the committee the advice it received from the independent company or how it intends to act on that advice. We also learned that an independent investigation could not be completed and that the eight players had also not been identified. “This is unacceptable,” she added.
The minister set two conditions for the resumption of funding: on the one hand, that Sports Canada Hockey Canada send an “albeit partial” report on its independent mechanism, which includes “a plan detailing how the recommendations in the organization will be implemented.”
Second, Hockey Canada will need to join the Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner and work “closely to change the culture of silence” if the organization hopes to affect federal funds.
Mrs. St-Onge was called in to comment on the organisation’s direction, and she didn’t taint the words: ‘imperfect’, ‘inappropriate’ and ‘from another era’.
The statement comes two days after top Hockey Canada officials testified before the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee in the House of Commons.
It all comes down to the out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit brought by a woman who alleged that she was sexually assaulted by eight Junior Team Canada players in 2018.
Minister St-Onge said: “It is about changing a deeply rooted culture, and it is not just about first aid solutions. I will use all the tools at my disposal to ensure that people are held accountable for what is happening in the world of hockey.”
On Wednesday afternoon in the House of Commons, elected officials from all parties backed the Quebec bloc’s proposal calling for an independent investigation “into the Canadian hockey game’s management of the June 2018 events, to see if it was a single event or if there were deficiencies in Hockey’s handling of the matter.” Canada with complaints of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other types of misconduct being reported.”
All sides had expressed their dissatisfaction after the passage of the Senior Leaders Committee of Hockey Canada. Recently, Hockey Canada requested $2.2 million from the Canadian government to help it recover from the effects of COVID-19.
These funds will not be allocated as long as the union has not met the requirements of the political authorities. Canadian hockey has received nearly $14 million in grants from the federal government over the past two years.
During his testimony on Monday, CEO Scott Smith declined to discuss two other sexual assault complaints that are currently being investigated by Hockey Canada.
He also indicated that his organization receives complaints of sexual assault every two or three years.
“This is the most disturbing we’ve ever heard,” Saint Ong said. For me, this cannot be the status quo for Hockey Canada, one of the most powerful sports organizations in Canada. This culture can no longer be protected.”
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