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The federal government has resumed funding to Hockey Canada, saying the organization has met reform requirements after facing a series of allegations about players accused of sexual assault and secretive funds to settle sexual-assault claims.

Ottawa had frozen Hockey Canada’s funding, and several major sponsors pulled their support in the months after it was revealed that Hockey Canada quietly settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight players – including members of the 2018 world junior team – after a foundation gala in London, Ont., in June, 2018.

The Globe and Mail reported last summer that Hockey Canada’s little-known National Equity Fund – including player fees collected from families across the country – was used to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual-abuse claims. The reports led to parliamentary hearings and the entire board resigning, as well as former chief executive Scott Smith.

Hockey’s national federation said it would have its funding resumed just before the puck dropped at its sold-out gold-medal final at the women’s world hockey championship in Brampton, Ont.

Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge said the suspension of funding was a temporary measure to force Hockey Canada to overhaul its governance.

“When we suspended the funding for Hockey Canada, it was never a matter of doing it forever. It was so that the proper change was implemented in the organization,” Ms. St-Onge said.

She said that Hockey Canada had satisfied her three conditions for reinstating funding: signing on to Abuse-Free Sport and the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner; implementing the recommendations from an independent governance review led by retired Justice Thomas Cromwell; and committing to more frequent reporting to the federal government.

Hockey Canada chair Hugh Fraser thanked the minister and the government for their vote of confidence.

“Today marks an important milestone for Hockey Canada in our journey to earn and maintain the trust of Canadians,” he said in a statement.

“This is a significant moment for the future of Hockey Canada, and hockey in Canada, as it will enable us to further our commitment to supporting all levels of the sport.”

Ms. St-Onge added that she had met with members of Canada’s women’s national team in Brampton. The women made the time during their tournament, despite having back-to-back games against Switzerland on Saturday and the U.S on Sunday. She also spoke with Hockey Canada’s para hockey players.

“I think that they’re still concerned with the organization,” said Ms. St-Onge of their comments about Hockey Canada. “They want to see the organization keeps moving in the right direction, but they were also worried about their funding and if the financial support was still going to be there for their teams. So this is part of the reason why we decided to move back in with the federal funding.”

In July, the women’s national team penned a sternly worded public statement, demanding that the truth behind those sexual-assault allegations come to light. They also advocated for women among the new leadership of Hockey Canada.

The standing committee on Canadian heritage – the same parliamentary committee that probed Hockey Canada executives during hearings in Ottawa last summer – passed a motion on March 27 ordering Hockey Canada to immediately hand over a report of its investigation into the 2018 allegations. Hockey Canada had hired Henein Hutchison Robitaille LLP to perform that third-party investigation.

When asked if Hockey Canada had revealed that report to the government yet as requested, Ms. St-Onge said it hadn’t because police are still investigating.

Hockey Canada said on that same day in March that players from its 2018 world junior team will not be considered to participate in international competition until the investigation is complete. The allegations against the unnamed hockey players have not been proven in court.

The newly elected board is comprised of eight directors and a chair who have wide experience in governance, law, sports and business. Five members are women.

Ms. St-Onge expressed optimism about Hockey Canada’s new leadership.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet the president of Hockey Canada and also all the board members, and we’ve had extensive discussions about their role. I’m extremely impressed by the diversity at the table right now,” Ms. St-Onge said. “They’re putting their own credibility in play by joining an organization in a time of crisis, so I know that they’re there for the right reasons.

“In November, there’s going to be a new board that’s coming in, a new CEO as well. Their mandate is only for a year. Their role is to change the governance that inner policies and to put this change in motion, and I think that that’s what they’re doing.”

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