CANADA Hockey Canada commissions former Supreme Court justice to conduct...

Hockey Canada commissions former Supreme Court justice to conduct governance review


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Hockey Canada President and CEO Scott Smith (second from right) at a parliamentary hearing last week when MPs from several parties called for him to resign over his organization’s handling of allegations of sexual harassment. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Hockey Canada has hired former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell to conduct a review of the organisation’s governance structure amid growing calls for its leadership to resign over alleged sexual harassment cases.

The sport’s national governing body has faced scrutiny from the public and politicians over its cultural issues and how it settled a $3.5 million lawsuit. Alleged gang sexual assault in 2018 a case involving Canadian Hockey League players, including some members of the Canadian youth team at the time.

“We have heard Canadians loud and clear and are determined to make the changes necessary to enable us to be the organization Canadians expect,” Michael Brind’Amour, chairman of Hockey Canada, wrote in a statement.

The announcement comes as smaller hockey associations begin to pull back on funding. Major sponsors withdrew and a new police investigation into an alleged 2003 gang sexual assault in Halifax involving World Junior players was launched.

Conservative MP John Nather, who sits on a parliamentary committee investigating Hockey Canada’s sexual harassment lawsuits, said he continues to call for “an immediate change in Hockey Canada’s leadership” despite the new review.

“Those who have been in charge of Hockey Canada for the past 20 years are not the right people to oversee much needed change,” Nater wrote in a statement to CBC News. “The current leadership of Hockey Canada has shown that they are more concerned with protecting themselves than seeking the truth or fighting a culture of silence.”

Hockey Canada President and COO Scott Smith resisted resigning despite MPs from several political parties urging him to do so. Last week, Smith pledged to a parliamentary committee to spearhead cultural change for the organization.

Hockey Canada has directed former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell to review its governance structures. (Philippe Landreville/Canadian Supreme Court Collection)

The mandate of the new independent review is to make recommendations to ensure that Hockey Canada follows “the best practices of a national sports organization of similar size, scope and influence in Canada,” Brind’Armor wrote.

The review will also look at the controversial National Equity Fund, which has been used to pay out 9 of 21 settlements on sexual assault charges since 1989. sexual abuse.

Hockey parents and associations were outraged to learn that the fund was part of their registration fees. At least one local associations in Quebec cut funding over fears and encouraged others to do the same.

Sports Minister Pascal Saint-Onge said she was looking forward to seeing the findings of Cromwell’s justice.

“Hockey Canada has hired a very reliable person to review their organization,” she said.

Cromwell was a Justice of the Supreme Court from 2008 to 2016 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada after leaving office. He currently works for the law firm BLG as a mediator in disputes involving the public sector.

Cromwell was also bugged by now Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould during the SNC-Lavalin case circa 2019 to inform her of the limitations of attorney and client privileges after she resigned from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office.

WATCH / Ice Hockey Canada pays 21 compensation for sexual harassment

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather says the review is a positive step if it is made public and the process is transparent. But he said the published terms of reference lacked a clear overview of the board processes involved in sexual harassment settlement agreements.

“I also don’t think this should be an excuse to do nothing about the executives who were involved in the mishandling of these issues prior to November,” Housefather said.

Hockey Canada has paid 21 sexual harassment claims since 1989.

8 days ago

Duration 2:58

Since 1989, Hockey Canada officials have said the organization has paid nearly $9 million in compensation to 21 people who have alleged sexual harassment.

NDP MP Peter Julian said Tuesday he is asking the parliamentary committee examining Hockey Canada to reopen this month and appeal to the three sports ministers, who have been in office since 2018, about their oversight of Hockey Canada.

Hockey Canada informed Sport Canada of the allegation in 2018, but the ministry never informed the federal sports minister’s office. The then sports minister, Christy Duncan, introduced directive order that the minister’s office has been notified.

“I believe our next step should also include having the three ministers of sport in front of us at the time, Minister Duncan, who gave the original directive that all information about sexual assault or sexual harassment should go directly to her office, and then Minister Stephen Guilbaud. and Minister Saint-Onge.”

St. Onge has already testified before the committee once and reiterated today that she has ordered all allegations to be reported to her office and is working with Sport Canada to ensure they have “all the tools and experience”.

Do you have a story or news about the Hockey Canada scandal? Confidentially email

WATCH | The woman said she cooperated with the police on suspicion of sexual harassment

The woman says she cooperated with an investigation into alleged sexual abuse of World Junior Ice Hockey players.

2 days ago

Duration 3:02

The appellant, who is alleged to have been sexually assaulted by Canadian hockey players on the 2018 World Youth Team, says she has always cooperated fully with the police investigation into her case, despite Hockey Canada initially claiming that she did not do.

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