Independent Third Party
Hockey Canada and its Members want to end the culture of silence that exists in parts of hockey. To help ensure that we are a safe space for raising concerns, Hockey Canada has established a new, fully independent, and confidential reporting mechanism for all individuals regarding any incidents involving Hockey Canada sanctioned programming as outlined in the Action Plan. This reporting mechanism is known as the Independent Third Party and is led by Brian Ward and Jahmiah Ferdinand.
The role of the independent third party is to:
- receive all hockey related maltreatment, sexual violence, harassment, abuse or discrimination complaints by someone affiliated with Hockey Canada;
- analyze complaints in light of Hockey Canada and Member policies and determine how they are to be managed and the proper jurisdiction;
- where applicable, ensure matters are properly reported to law enforcement or child protection services;
- retain investigators and dispute resolution panels who are also independent of Hockey Canada;
- work with Canada's Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner and the Member associations to ensure no gaps in complaint coverage and that all complaints are handled in accordance with applicable policies and that decisions are documented in writing.
The role of the independent third party is not to:
- process appeals for matters that take place in other jurisdictions;
- receive complaints related to personality conflicts and differing opinions that do not constitute maltreatment;
- receive complaints relating to matters such as transfer requests or appeals;
- receive complaints about operational matters such as fee disputes and refunds;
The new Hockey Canada Discipline and Complaints policy that outlines the role of the Independent Third Party and the applicable processes is available for download here.
A key feature of the Independent Third Party structure is its independence from Hockey Canada. The Independent Third Party has sole jurisdiction to handle complaints and keeps the identity of complainants confidential from Hockey Canada and Member associations. The Independent Third Party will not be unduly influenced by anyone at Hockey Canada regarding the complaint administration process. Although the Independent Third Party mechanism is staffed by some lawyers, those lawyers do not provide any legal advice to Hockey Canada.
Hockey Canada will receive anonymized reports from the Independent Third Party from time to time documenting the number of complaints received, categorizing complaints and reporting on other metrics such as response times and the time required to close complaints. This reporting protects the identity of all those involved with a complaint process while also ensuring proper oversight of the performance of the Independent Third Party.
Reporting Abuse or Harassment is often a difficult process. The Independent Third Party is committed to operating in a trauma informed manner. For example:
- All reports will be kept entirely confidential, in line with the wishes of the person making the complaint. This includes confidentiality from Hockey Canada and Member association staff.
- All Complaints will be followed up in a timely manner.
- The Independent Third Party has developed resources to share with survivors of abuse and can direct survivors to additional supports.
- The Independent Third Party answers questions about the complaint process.
- Complaints are taken seriously and rigorously examined.
The Independent Third Party is staffed by a number of diverse professionals reflecting both gender and racial diversity. Service is available in both French and English.
Additional resources will be developed as the Independent Third Party continues its work and analyzes the ongoing needs to ensure a safe and trauma informed complaint mechanism.