Sport Minister Says Hockey Canada Lacks Transparency, Needs New Leadership

Sports Minister Pascal Saint-Onge has again called for a change in Hockey Canada’s leadership following new allegations against the troubled sports organization.

The Globe and Mail reported Monday that Hockey Canada is transferring player registration fees “including but not limited to sexual harassment” to a second fund, according to documents obtained by the newspaper.

In July, it was revealed that another fund, known as the National Equity Fund, was being used to settle sexual harassment claims.

“I think it shows a complete lack of transparency,” St Ong told reporters on Parliament Hill on Monday.

“And another thing that this shows is that sexual harassment in Hockey Canada is treated as an insurance problem rather than a systemic problem that needs to be addressed at the root of the problem.”

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In July, it was revealed that Hockey Canada paid $7.6 million in nine settlements related to sexual harassment and assault dating back to 1989.

Monday’s news also suggests that people at the top of the organization may have to resign, St. Ong said.

“What needs to be done with Hockey Canada from now on needs to be done with the new leadership,” he said. “I don’t see how they can rebuild trust with the same people who have done little in recent decades.”

In May, TSN reported that Hockey Canada had awarded undisclosed compensation to a woman who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by eight players, including members of Canada’s 2018 junior world team.

The plaintiff demanded compensation of 3.55 million dollars. None of the accusations were proven in court.

Canadians and the government have “lost confidence” in Hockey Canada’s leadership. Trudeau – August 31, 2022
St. Onge ordered a forensic investigation by Hockey Canada to ensure no public funds were used as part of the settlement.

An investigation into alleged sexual harassment involving members of the 2003 youth team is also underway.

St. Onge and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among those calling for the resignation of Hockey Canada executives.

Michael Brind Amour, Chairman of the Board of Directors, is the only CEO to have retired so far. He resigned on August 6, at the end of November, a few months before the end of his term. Temporarily replaces Andrea Skinner.

Both Brindamoor and Skinner will appear before a federal government panel on Tuesday to investigate how the sports organization handled sexual harassment allegations.

Hockey parents and the general Canadian public will seek clarity when it comes to leaders, says NDP MP Peter Julian, a member of the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee.

“Hockey Canada lost a lot of credibility over the summer and it remains to be seen if the chairman of their board of directors will answer questions fully, comprehensively and transparently tomorrow,” he said.

“But I think this is the only option for Hockey Canada to be open and transparent with Canadians. And in recent months they have failed miserably.”

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Julian believes the federal government could do more to bring about change in hockey’s national governing body. He said he is demanding that St. Onge review Hockey Canada and its finances.

“We’ve been saying for a while that the federal government needs to take responsibility for national sports organizations,” he said. “They had a very wrong approach and it was time to change.”

The federal government is using a number of tools to bring about changes to the sports organization and will consider different ways of working, St Ong said on Monday.

“Hockey Canada belongs to its members first,” he said. “It’s also the parents who submit the entry fee who have the right to change the organization from within, it’s the members of Hockey Canada who have to apply for those changes as well.”

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