Report: Hockey Canada has a second fund to deal with sexual assault claims

Hockey Canada has a second previously undisclosed fund used to settle sexual assault claims, according to a report on Monday at Globe and Mail.

Called the Participant Legacy Trust Fund, the fund was established in 1999 by transferring money from the National Equity Fund, which is funded in part by player registration fees, according to globe.

The trust was established to handle claims against member branches of Hockey Canada that occurred between 1986 and 1995, before Hockey Canada began purchasing insurance for sexual assault and other liability claims, according to the report. This fund, among other things, provides cover for sexual harassment cases related to former WHL coach Graham James.

The fund was established to be dissolved in May 2020, but according to globeHockey Canada went to court in late 2018 and early 2019 to extend the use of trustees until 2039.

Jeremy Knight, spokesman for Hockey Canada, told globe that the fund is not extended with the knowledge of a particular event in mind.

“It is important to remember that since 1999, when the trust was first formed, Canadians’ understanding of the nature and extent of sexual harassment claims has increased significantly,” Knight said in a statement. “We now know that these claims often arise decades after the alleged incident occurred, which is why it makes sense to apply for a credential extension beyond 2020.”

The revelations drew sharp criticism from Conservative MP John Nater, a member of the Heritage committee who will meet Tuesday in the next series of hearings on Hockey Canada’s handling of allegations of sexual harassment involving Canada’s world junior team in 2003 and 2018.

“This is a blatant omission of pertinent information that our committee and Canada really need to know,” Nater told globe. “When families put their money into registration fees, they assume it will have to do with their children, with their families, their participation in sports. And to hear that funds are being used for significant misconduct, this fails the transparency test.”

In a letter sent Monday morning to Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge, the NDP MP and committee member Peter Julian reiterated his request for a full financial audit of Hockey Canada.

“As the Minister in charge of Sports Canada and Hockey Canada, it is your responsibility to ensure that Hockey Canada uses government funds and hockey parent registration fees in an accountable and transparent manner,” Julian said in the letter, a copy of which was sent to Sportsnet. “Recent disclosures show that Hockey Canada has not been transparent and accountable to the public and in particular to hockey parents.”

A recent Nanos survey showed that “73 percent of Canadians are angry that the National Equity Fund – money financed by player registration fees used for non-insurance payments covering sexual assault complaints – is administered by Hockey Canada.”

Hadwin Floyd

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