- The federal government has decided to restore funding to Hockey Canada but with certain conditions and expectations for the organization going forward.
- The controversy related to Hockey Canada’s handling of sexual assault allegations led to the funding being frozen for 10 months.
- Hockey Canada will be required to tackle issues surrounding the safe sport, update the government on efforts to change the culture of hockey, and implement recommendations of two reports to receive the funding.
The federal government has restored funding to Hockey Canada after the controversy linked to its handling of alleged sexual assault claims. However, the government warns that this will not be a blank cheque and sets out expectations for the organization going forward. Hockey Canada must fulfill several conditions in exchange for financial support.
Funding is frozen since June 2022
Hockey Canada has been embroiled in controversy since it was revealed that registration fees paid by parents were used to settle a case in which a young woman alleged eight hockey players sexually assaulted her after a 2018 Hockey Canada gala. The funding from the federal government has been frozen since June 2022 due to the organization’s handling of sexual assault allegations.
Funding to be restored
The federal government is restoring its funding to Hockey Canada but says the organization must fulfill several conditions in exchange for financial support.
Funding is not a blank cheque
“While federal financing is only a fraction of Hockey Canada’s revenues, I wish to reiterate that our funding is not a blank cheque,” said Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge in a letter addressed to Hugh Fraser, Hockey Canada’s board chair.
Hockey Canada must tackle issues of safe sport
“Hockey Canada also must tackle issues regarding safe sport, such as the toxic behaviors, the trivialization of sexual violence, and the culture of silence, which has too often made the headlines,” St-Onge wrote. “There is no reason why such situations should continue to plague hockey or any other sport.”
Focus on ensuring compliance
Bruce Kidd, a professor emeritus of sports policy and sports politics at the University of Toronto, told CBC News on Sunday that the focus now is on Sport Canada’s ability to ensure Hockey Canada lives up to its promises.
Work to be done to change the culture of hockey
In a statement released Sunday by Hockey Canada, Fraser said the government’s announcement represented “an important milestone for Hockey Canada in our journey to earn and maintain the trust of Canadians. “While I would like to thank Minister St-Onge and the government for their vote of confidence and for their ongoing efforts to prioritize safe sport in Canada, I also wish to stress that we still have work to do to change the culture of our sport,” Fraser said in the statement.
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Funding is only a portion of the overall revenue
CBC News reported last month that the government was considering restoring funding to the organization. Hockey Canada received $7.7 million from Sport Canada in the 2022 fiscal year, but their funding has been frozen for 10 months. Sports Canada’s funding comprises about seven percent of overall revenue, according to government statistics.
Funding aimed at high-performance programming
St-Onge said in her letter that the funding will be aimed at delivering “high-performance programming for the women’s, men’s, and para-ice hockey programs.”
Funding is conditional
The funding is conditional on the organization meeting several expectations, the sports minister said. The organization will need to update the government on their work on changing the culture of hockey; implementing recommendations of two reports; and promoting the government’s safe sport program for athletes and member organizations.
Hockey culture needs to change
The federal government has pressured Hockey Canada to work toward a change in hockey culture, emphasizing inclusion and safety. Many Canadians still feel the sports system is in crisis. “Hockey culture will only change if it is addressed at all levels, and I believe Hockey Canada needs to drive this transformation,” St-Onge wrote. “I think that we need to keep on talking about the culture of silence, the sexual violence, the toxic culture because I don’t think everything has changed in a day,” the minister said from Brampton Sunday evening.
In conclusion, the federal government has announced that it will restore funding to Hockey Canada with certain conditions in place. The organization was embroiled in controversy regarding handling sexual assault allegations, and the government froze its funding in June 2022. The funding will be aimed at delivering high-performance programming for the women’s, men’s, and para-ice hockey programs.
Hockey Canada must update the government on their work on changing the culture of hockey, implementing recommendations of two reports, and promoting the government’s safe sport program. The government has emphasized the need for inclusion and safety in sports, and Hockey organizations will continue to be transparent and accountable to Canadians moving forward.