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Scott Smith
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Scott Smith
2022-07-27 11:27
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'm Scott Smith, the current president and CEO of Hockey Canada, and I'll speak on behalf of our organization.
We welcome this opportunity to speak to the committee once again.
Let me start today by reiterating that Hockey Canada understands Canadians' trust in us has been eroded, and we are committed to take every action possible to earn it back. That includes apologizing for not doing enough to address the actions of some members of the 2018 world junior team.
I know you have questions about the leadership of Hockey Canada and about my leadership. You want answers, and you want to see real action taken to end the culture of silence that allows toxic behaviour and sexism to fester in corners of our game. I do too.
You have asked for transparency. You've asked for accountability. You've asked for Hockey Canada to change. I am here to lead that change.
I took on this role a little over a month ago, just as you and Canadians challenged us to fix our house. I will not walk away from the demands you have rightly put before us. We can and must do better. We know we must make meaningful change to earn back your trust. Last month we committed that we would act, and we have taken the following steps.
We've reopened the independent investigation into the alleged sexual assault in 2018. Any player who does not participate will be banned from all Hockey Canada activities and programs, effective immediately. The investigation, once complete, will be referred to an independent panel of current and former judges to determine the appropriate consequences.
We acknowledge the courage of the young woman involved and respect her decision to participate with the investigation in the manner she chooses.
We are expanding the mandatory training not only for high-performance players, but also for coaches, team staff and volunteers. We'll dramatically expand the number of players who are exposed to enhance education with respect to off-ice issues and to drive a speak-up culture. These players will carry that training back to their leagues, provincial programs and minor hockey associations.
We will ask an independent third party expert panel to conduct a full governance review of Hockey Canada to ensure we have the right people and the oversight in place to give Canadians confidence in us going forward. We will have more to say on who will lead that in the coming days.
We will become a full signatory to the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner, which came into effect last month. As well, we are creating a new independent and confidential mechanism to investigate complaints, even those historical in nature, to serve our membership. These and a range of other measures are included in a detailed action plan we released earlier this week.
Culture change will not take place overnight and it is not something Hockey Canada can do alone, but we believe the action plan is an important step forward. We know the work ahead of us will define the future of Hockey Canada.
Before we take your questions, I will just reiterate that the process we followed regarding the incident in London in 2018 was not perfect, but it was intended to ensure that Hockey Canada did not and could not interfere in the investigation. Hockey Canada notified police and engaged an expert firm to conduct an independent investigation that spanned more than two years. Reopening the investigation is a step towards addressing the disappointment you and so many feel about the outcome of the process we followed.
We intend to let this investigation, and that of the London Police Service, proceed with whatever support from Hockey Canada that may be requested, but we have been rightly cautioned to be diligent in any public commentary in order to preserve the integrity of these investigations. That means we will be somewhat limited in what we can say before the committee.
We heard you clearly last month that, above all, you want to see consequences for wrongdoing. So, we trust you will also be diligent to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
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