An audit conducted on behalf of the federal government has concluded that Hockey Canada did not use public funds to settle sexual assault cases or pay for the associated legal expenses. In response to media reports of a $3.55 million sexual assault lawsuit settlement, Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge requested an investigation to make sure that public funds were only used to support amateur hockey. The audit determined that the federal funds given to Hockey Canada were used for the intended purpose. St-Onge stated, “We are satisfied that no federal money was used to settle lawsuits or out-of-court settlements and thus, there has been no breach of contract.”
The audit also found that Hockey Canada had a suitable internal control framework and budgeting process in place, but suggested improvements such as aligning the financial coding to the contribution agreements funded categories, reviewing the salaries recorded, and documenting financial processes. Chair of Hockey Canada’s board of directors, Hugh Fraser, expressed gratitude for the audit, which is a significant step in repairing the partnership between Hockey Canada and the government.
The sexual assault allegations stem from a 2018 incident in London, Ontario and a 2003 incident in Halifax, both involving hockey players. The 2018 incident resulted in a settlement, while the 2003 incident is still under investigation. Following public outcry, Hockey Canada’s board of directors resigned and a new board was elected in December.