Hockey Canada has released a new plan of action for tackling the "culture of silence," which includes a focus on "masculinity, consent and toxic behaviours."
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In a statement shared on July 25, Hockey Canada outlined its plan on addressing and changing the culture in the organization.
"We recognize that there is an urgent need to address the types of behaviours that are rightly causing Canadians to question aspects of our game," said Hockey Canada President and CEO Scott Smith in the statement.
The Action Plan — as the organization is calling it — has several key aspects aimed at a culture shift within Hockey.
These include adopting a new Universal Code of Conduct To Prevent and Address Maltreatment and creating a system for tracking and reporting complaints of mistreatment, abuse and harassment.
Hockey Canada will also be training its players, coaches, employees and volunteers about things such as consent and masculinity.
It will also be reviewing all existing training with an "independent specialist."
The organization is going to introduce penalties for breaking codes of conduct or not participating in investigations, which could be as harsh as a lifetime ban from all Hockey Canada programs.
All high-performance players will also have to undergo an "enhanced character screening."
Finally, the organization is going to be "prioritizing" and "investing" in a department focused on promoting mental health, gender equity and more while combating abuse and harassment.
These sweeping changes come after several high-key controversies came out about the national hockey organization.
In May 2022, TSN reported that Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League settled out of court with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a group of eight Hockey Canada players in 2018.
While the players have not been identified, several of them are reported to have been on the World Junior Hockey team of that year.
Additionally, The Canadian Press found that Hockey Canada also had a fund that went to pay uninsured liabilities, including sexual assault allegations.
Most recently, Hockey Canada released a statement that it had become aware of another alleged group sexual assault that took place at the World Juniors Tournament in 2003.
These allegations and reports have led the federal government to pause funding of the sports body and even prompted condemnation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, call the Assaulted Women's Helpline at 1-866-863-0511. You can also contact the Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Assault at 1-866-887-0015.
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