Hockey Canada says it needs to 'do more' to foster a safe culture_freckle removal on lip

Hockey Canada says it needs to 'do more' to foster a safe cultureHockey Canada says it needs to "do more" when it comes to fostering a safe culture in the sport. The national organization released a brief statement Thursday after the federal government froze funding in response to its handling of an alleged sexual assault and out-of-court settlement.

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Feds froze funding in response to organization's handling of alleged sexual assault, out-of-court settlement

Joshua Clipperton · The Canadian Press(Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

CEO grilled

Hockey Canada president Scott Smith and outgoing CEO Tom Renney were grilled by legislators on Parliament Hill earlier this week during a Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage meeting that looked into the organization's handling of the 2018 incident.

"We were all expecting answers to all the questions, the many questions, that we have regarding how they handled the whole situation when they testified," St-Onge told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday. "Unfortunately, we did not receive many answers."

Hockey Canada quietly settled the lawsuit last month after a woman claimed she was assaulted by members of the country's 2018 gold-medal winning world junior hockey team at a gala and golf function.

The woman, now 24, was seeking $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and the unnamed players.

Details of the settlement have not been made public, but Smith said Monday that Hockey Canada came up with the funds, adding no government money was used. St-Onge has ordered an audit to make sure that's indeed the case.

None of the allegations made against the unnamed players have been proven in court.

St-Onge has said she only learned of the situation in a phone call with Renney days before TSN broke the story last month. Hockey Canada said it informed Sport Canada of the situation in June 2018.

Following the government's announcement on funding Wednesday, the House of Commons unanimously approved a Bloc Quebecois motion to pursue an independent investigation that will look into how Hockey Canada dealt with the allegations.

Federal money makes up six per cent of Hockey Canada's coffers, according to the organization's numbers, trailing business development and partnerships (43 per cent), funding agencies (14 per cent), insurance premiums (13 per cent) and interest revenue (10 per cent).

WATCH | Hockey Canada denies public funds used for sexual assault allegation settlement:

Hockey Canada denies public funds used for sexual assault allegation settlement

3 days agoDuration 2:31Hockey Canada executives told a parliamentary committee that it did not use public funding to pay a settlement following sexual assault allegations against players.

Players present at event in London

Hockey Canada hired Toronto law firm Henein Hutchison LLP to conduct its investigation, but Smith and Renney told MPs that while players present at the event in London were "strongly encouraged" to participate, it was not mandated.

Renney initially testified between four and six of the 19 players in question spoke with investigators before Smith indicated later the number was 12 or 13.

"Their mechanism (to investigate) is not well-functioning," St-Onge said.

Hockey Canada has said repeatedly the woman declined to speak with police or its investigators. Smith and Renney reiterated Monday the woman also chose not to identify the players.

The executives added Hockey Canada still does not know the identities of the eight players in question.

Smith said London police informed Hockey Canada its criminal investigation was closed as of February 2019. The independent investigation ended in September 2020, but Renney testified the report is incomplete and shouldn't be released despite the fact in contained recommendations.

The NHL, which has said it also only recently learned of the allegations, is conducting an investigation of its own because some of the players in question are now in the league.

Hockey Canada received $14 million from Ottawa in 2020 and 2021, including $3.4 million in COVID-19 subsidies, according to government records obtained by CBC and TSN.

Smith testified Hockey Canada has reported three sexual assault complaints in recent years, including the London incident, but wouldn't discuss the other two in front of the committee.

CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices|About CBC Canada's minister of sport launching financial audit of Hockey Canada following sex assault lawsuit

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