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To: Telus, Scotiabank, Esso, Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Sobey, Chevrolet Canada, Hockey Quebec, Ontario Hockey Federation, Skip the Dishes

Reallocate Hockey Funds for Sexual Assault Centres

I am encouraged by your recent decision to pull or pause your sponsorships from Hockey Canada in light of serious incidents of sexual violence.

As you know, Hockey Canada has paid out $8.9 million in settlements to 21 survivors with sexual misconduct claims against its players, dating back to 1989. Public records have revealed at least 15 cases of sexual assault involving hockey players that have been investigated by police, and many more that were either not reported or not investigated. The recent Parliamentary Probe estimates that Hockey Canada received one or two reports of assault per year. This is deeply disturbing. Further, Hockey Canada has admitted that it drew on minor hockey membership fees to pay for liabilities, including for claims of sexual abuse. In October 2022, it was revealed that an additional fund, the Participants Legacy Trust Fund, was created specifically in 1999 for “matters including but not limited to sexual abuse.” This is shocking and egregious.

It is unconscionable that Hockey Canada is refusing any significant organizational changes and accountability. Instead, the association is doubling down and perpetuating a culture of toxic and violent masculinity in the sport. Incidents of sexual violence by hockey players are not just caused by a few “bad apples.” These are systemic problems that are deeply rooted in a culture of toxic masculinity and patriarchy. It is far beyond time that sports organizations, sponsors, and provincial sporting organizations refuse to be complacent and complicit in sexual violence.

You have a crucial role to play here at this critical time. I urge you to do much more than pausing and pulling your sponsorship from Hockey Canada, and instead to donate the money that you had designated for Hockey Canada to sexual assault and gender-based violence organizations and youth violence prevention programs across the country. Send a strong message that gender-based violence is never acceptable and that we all must take concrete actions to end it.

Why is this important?

For far too long, sexual harassment and sexual violence has been covered up and dismissed in a sport that you proudly sponsored. For far too long, survivors have been disbelieved, especially when speaking out against the culture of professional hockey.

For far too long, gender-based violence has been a pervasive reality in Canada.

The level of violence that women and girls experience in Canada has barely changed over the past two decades. Recent statistics show that more than 4 in 10 women has experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Indigenous, Black, immigrant and refugee, racialized, and low-income women, young girls, and gender-diverse people face the highest rates of compounding violence. Last year, 173 women and girls were violently killed in Canada.

Ending gender-based violence is a pressing priority. Yet, support services, such as sexual assault centres, gender-based violence organizations, transition homes, and VAW shelters, are grossly underfunded and under-resourced. Canada’s ambitious declaration of “a Canada free of gender-based violence” and the first-ever National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls has no actual timeline for implementation. We urgently need a universal, coordinated, and integrated system of anti-violence programs and support services that are adequately funded and offered across all geographic locations, and accessible to all women and gender-diverse people who have experienced any form of gender-based violence in Canada.

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Updates

2022-10-14 15:25:38 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2022-10-11 19:22:19 -0400

500 signatures reached

2022-10-06 20:24:23 -0400

100 signatures reached

2022-10-06 19:35:48 -0400

50 signatures reached

2022-10-06 19:18:37 -0400

25 signatures reached

2022-10-06 19:14:39 -0400

10 signatures reached