No government funds used to settle Hockey Canada sexual assault lawsuit: CEO | Radio-Canada News

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A Hockey Canada executive has told a House of Commons committee under oath that the organization did not use any government money to settle a lawsuit with an alleged sexual assault victim.

UKTN News reported Monday that financial records show Hockey Canada received $14 million in support from the federal government in 2020 and 2021, including $3.4 million in emergency COVID-19 grants.

But in testimony before the House of Commons Canadian Heritage Standing Committee on Monday, Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney said none of those funds were used to settle a 3.55 lawsuit. million dollars filed in April by a woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by eight former Canadians. Hockey League (CHL) players after a Hockey Canada Foundation event in London, Ont. in June 2018.

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The allegations have not been proven in court.

“I can assure that no government funds were used in this settlement,” Renney said in his opening statement to the committee.

The terms of the settlement and the identity of the parties to the lawsuit are not known.

Earlier this month, Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge ordered a financial audit of the out-of-court settlement, saying the move was to ensure taxpayers’ money was not used to settle the dispute. ‘affair.

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Renney said the organization would cooperate fully with the audit.

Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge has ordered an audit of the regulations. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

When questioned by the committee, Hockey Canada chief operating officer Scott Smith said the organization liquidated some of its investments to pay the settlement. Government funding is kept in a separate account, Smith said.

Renney said the organization decided to settle the case quickly because it felt it had a moral obligation to do so.

He said that while Hockey Canada’s independent investigation into the matter was inconclusive, the alleged incident was “unacceptable and inconsistent with Hockey Canada’s values ​​and expectations, and clearly caused harm. “.

He added that the organization hopes to address behavioral issues by changing its code of conduct and improving education programs.

Renney is expected to retire as CEO at the end of this month. He testified that his decision to withdraw is unrelated to the alleged events or the settlement.

Investigations failed to identify the players

Renney said Hockey Canada learned of the reported incident a day after it allegedly happened, and organization staff notified London, Ont. police.

Shortly thereafter, he said, Hockey Canada hired an independent investigator.

But on Monday, Smith said in questioning that no investigation was active – and investigations had failed to identify the eight players.

“We have not been able to confirm the identity of the accused,” Smith said.

Hockey Canada president and chief operating officer Scott Smith said neither a third-party investigation nor the London Police Service as part of their criminal investigation were able to determine the identity of the eight players. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

He said Hockey Canada contacted the unidentified players through a representative and UKTN investigation commissioned by Hockey Canada ended as a result of the settlement.

Officials testified that although Hockey Canada encouraged all players at the event to participate in the third-party survey, there was little participation.

Renney and Smith gave conflicting and unclear testimony about the number of players who participated.

Renney said if he had to guess, he would say “four to six” players participated. Smith argued the number was higher but did not give a figure.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said he felt there was a lack of effort by Hockey Canada to identify players.

“The fact that they haven’t been identified shocks me,” Housefather told the committee.

The complainant said in her statement that the eight players – currently identified as John Does one through eight – were members of Canada’s national junior team.

The National Hockey League (NHL) is investigating to determine if any of the eight are playing in the league.

Tory MP Kevin Waugh has expressed concern that the players will end up coaching hockey at some point in the future.

He also asked why the sequence of events had not been made public for four years.

“Who made the decision to keep it quiet? Waugh asked.

Smith replied that Hockey Canada is awaiting the conclusion of both investigations.

“We did the work we needed to do and were ready to respond once the investigation at the criminal level, or the investigation by our third party, was completed, but unfortunately none of those could be over,” Smith told the Committee.

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