Hockey Canada reopened an investigation into alleged 2018 sexual harassment

TORONTO – Hockey Canada made several announcements in an open letter to Canadians on Thursday, including the resumption of a third-party investigation into alleged sexual harassment with members of the country’s 2018 World Junior Team.

The National Federation has said that controversial players should take part in the investigation and anyone who refuses will be banned from all activities and events of the federation immediately. Investigating the alleged incident at the Hockey Canada tournament in London, Ontario said earlier that the players had been given “strong incentives”.

Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith, who took office on July 1 and has held various positions at the federation since 1995, testified last month that 12 or 13 of the team’s 19 players were interviewed in September 2020 under an original, incomplete investigation. Completeness,,

Hockey Canada said in a letter: “We know we have not done enough to address the actions of some members of the 2018 national junior team or to end the culture of toxic behavior in our sport. We apologize unconditionally for that. “” We know that we, the people of Canada, want to make hockey on and off the ice, and we need to do more to address the contradictions that want to reduce many of the good things that come to our country from the sport. Wants to. “

Hockey Canada quietly dismissed the case in May when a woman said she was attacked by eight players, including members of the country’s 2018 gold medal-winning junior team. No charges have been proved in court.

The then president and outgoing CEO of Hockey Canada, Tom Renee Smith, was questioned by lawmakers last month following reports of an alleged assault and compromise in Ottawa. Unhappy with what he heard from the authorities, the federal government later suspended public funding for the National Institute. Many companies have suspended sponsorship as they wait for the next steps.

The Hockey Canada letter reads: “We have it and we will do better to make Canadians aware of our responsibilities.”

Hockey Canada said it will now require players, coaches, team staff and volunteers associated with its high-performance program to participate in mandatory sexual violence and consent training.

It will also conduct a full third-party review of the organization’s work and is committed to signing a new government agency, the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, with the authority to independently investigate and approve complaints of abuse.

Hockey Canada said it would create an “independent and confidential complaints mechanism” to provide victims with the tools and support to come forward.

Sports Minister Pascal Saint-Onge said last month that federal funds would be restored only after officials prepare an incomplete third-party report and only then sign it in the Office of the Integrity Commissioner. According to government records, Hockey Canada received $ 14 million from Ottawa in 2020 and 2021, including a 4 3.4 million COVID-19 subsidy.

Hockey Canada has promised not to give an incomplete or complete report in its letter to the government. Once the investigation is complete – through the same Toronto law firm appointed in 2018 – “a reference will be made to an independent panel of current and former judges, who will determine the appropriate outcome, including a lifetime ban on Hockey Canada’s activities.” Restrictions may be involved. Out of the snow. “

Women’s Hockey Canada, which carried out the attack, was seeking $ 3.55 million in damages from the Canadian Hockey League and anonymous players.

Hockey Canada wrote, “We acknowledge the courage of the young woman involved and respect her decision to participate in the investigation in the manner she chose.”

Hockey Canada said it became aware of the incident the day the allegations were made, launched an investigation and notified police.

Details of the settlement have not been released, but Smith testified before the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee in June that Hockey Canada brought in the money and paid in full, no government funds were used. Saint-Onge ordered an audit to investigate the matter.

The committee will meet on July 26 and 27 to hear more witnesses. He also requested a restructured copy of the non-disclosure agreement related to the agreement, along with a lengthy list of Hockey Canada communications.

The NHL is also investigating as some players are now in the league.

Companies that have withheld or withdrawn funds from Hockey Canada or a specific event include Scotiabank, Telus, Tim Hortons and Imperial Oil under the Esso brand.

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