Hockey Canada announced that over 65 percent of player insurance fees will go to the organization’s National Equity Fund.
In a letter to Rep. Peter Julian obtained by The Canadian Press, Hockey Canada President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Smith provided a breakdown of how registration and insurance fees are allocated.
General Liability Insurance ($8.90), Directors and Officers Insurance ($2.00), and Security/Administration ($2.75) are allocated to the National Equity Fund and account for $13.65 of the $20.80 insurance fee, that are paid.
The breakdown said general liability insurance would have been used in part to settle sexual misconduct claims, although Hockey Canada has since said the reserve fund will no longer be used for that purpose and “will be dedicated exclusively to safety, wellness and justice initiatives.” . “
Accidental death and personal injury insurance ($5.15) and medical and dental insurance ($2) make up the remainder and are paid to the Health and Benefit Trust. Overall insurance accounts for most of the total $23.80 registration fee, with the other three dollars coming from evaluation and registration fees.
Although Smith shares such details, Julian is not convinced of their accuracy.
“Well, I’m skeptical because Hockey Canada tends not to provide extensive information,” Julian said. “That was certainly my experience. And the fact that I specifically wrote to Mr. Smith and asked questions he never answered makes me skeptical of the estimate of financial charges he puts forward.
“My experience with Hockey Canada, when they’ve been caught not providing accurate information, is they kind of double down. They have refused to provide the exact information until they complete the hearing. We certainly saw that with the executive bonuses, which they eventually released, but after the committee hearing.”
Smith responded to an Aug. 22 letter from Julian, in which the member of the House of Commons Heritage Committee denounced Hockey Canada for a lack of transparency regarding the use of registration fees.
“Hockey parents across the country deserve to know exactly how their filing fees are being used,” Julian said in the letter.
The National Equity Fund has increased its scrutiny of Hockey Canada since the organization confirmed its existence in a July 19 statement and said it had been used to resolve sexual misconduct claims.
Hockey Canada said the following day that it would no longer be used to resolve sexual assault claims.
At a July 27 parliamentary hearing, Hockey Canada’s chief financial officer, Brian Cairo, said the governing body used the fund to pay out $7.6 million in nine settlements related to sexual assault and abuse claims since 1989 .
This number does not include the undisclosed amount of a 2018 settlement of an alleged sexual assault involving players from that year’s world junior team.
Julian had also asked questions about perks and luxury accommodation for board members. Smith said that under the Board of Directors’ travel and expense policy, allowable expenses include airfare, lodging, meals and ground travel, which are regularly reviewed to ensure they are reasonable.
The MP said he received information about the spending from a former board member who chose to remain anonymous. These included board dinners costing over $5,000, as well as accommodations in excess of $3,000 a night, “like the presidential suite at the (Westin) Harbor Castle in downtown Toronto.”
Additionally, championship rings received from board members are said to be worth more than $3,000 each, which Smith himself explained at a previous hearing that “the board and our members have received a version of it from time to time.”
“We cannot speak to the information you have received regarding specific dinners or lodging as that information has not been obtained from Hockey Canada, but we do not believe it is accurate,” Smith said in response.
Julian called Smith’s response “disingenuous”
“Unfortunately more of this from Hockey Canada,” he said. “This is a complete lack of transparency. And for hockey parents who enroll their daughter or son in Hockey Canada programs that pay enrollment fees, who often struggle to raise the money to pay those fees – which are often quite high – what we have is Hockey Canada , which refuses to disclose information that I believe should be part of the public.
With Hockey Canada interim CEO Andrea Skinner, former chairman Michael Brind’Amour and former president and CEO Bob Nicholson being subpoenaed to testify at an Oct. 4 meeting, Julian plans to question the accuracy of a number of numbers to deliver.
“If you look at Hockey Canada’s books and compare them to the number of people enrolled, I think you get a sense of whether the numbers are transparent or not,” he said.
After months of what he described as the organization’s “stone walls,” Julian is hoping Hockey Canada will seize the opportunity to break in.
“My point on Hockey Canada is that the number of sponsors who have stopped sponsoring Hockey Canada events have completely decreased with their credibility so diminished – the way to deal with this crisis within Hockey Canada is to completely and to respond fully and honestly. ” he said.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 22, 2022.