Hockey Canada: a new mechanism for reporting abuse

Hockey Canada: a new mechanism for reporting abuse


In an effort to “end the culture of silence that plagues [the] sport,” Hockey Canada said Thursday it has changed its mechanism for reporting incidents of abuse. 

At the same time, the sports federation announced that it has joined the Abuse Free Sport program, a new initiative aimed at preventing and countering mistreatment in sport in Canada. As such, complaints of discrimination or harassment across the country will be directed directly to the Office of the Commissioner for Integrity in Sport (BCIS).

“Today's announcement marks an important milestone of our work to end the culture of silence that plagues our sport,” said Natasha Johnston, vice-president of sport safety for Hockey Canada, in a press release.

“We are delighted to be part of this turning point in Canadian sport and hope that the Canadian public hears the strong message that is being sent, namely that under no circumstances will inappropriate behavior be tolerated in the world of hockey.” p>

Third Party Review

As for incidents related to individuals affiliated with Hockey Canada beyond the national programs, they will be reviewed by an independent third party made up of “diverse professionals and seasoned professionals reflecting gender and racial diversity”.

“The third party will work jointly with BCIS to ensure that no gaps remain in the handling of complaints, which should follow a trauma-informed approach that ensures fairness and respect for all parties,” added Johnston.

“This is a completely confidential process that ensures that every effort will be made to ensure that individuals who violate a Hockey Canada policy on safe sport are identified and subject to appropriate investigation and disciplinary action.

The organization also amended certain policies and procedures to adopt the sixth version of the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport, dubbed CCUMS. This aims to “promote a respectful sporting culture that offers quality sporting experiences that are inclusive, accessible, welcoming and safe”.

Hockey Canada has found itself in the hot seat because of its judged management unacceptable in relation to, among other things, a case of gang rape committed by junior players in June 2018. An out-of-court settlement reached with the alleged victim raised the ire of many, including the Minister of Sport, Pascale St-Onge, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. Earlier in October, CEO Scott Smith and board members tendered their resignations.