hc governance review lead e

Former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell to lead Hockey Canada’s Governance Review

August 4, 2022

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada is announcing the Honourable Thomas Cromwell, C.C. will lead an independent review of the organization’s governance structures and systems.This work, undertaken on behalf of the organization’s board of directors, is an integral part of Hockey Canada’s Action Plan.

Since 1914, Hockey Canada has been the organization that Canadians have trusted to lead, develop and promote positive hockey experiences.

Recent events have called that trust into question. This is of very real concern to our Board of Directors who, as volunteers, have worked diligently to deliver on its mission in a responsible way, including through the recent launch of an Action Plan to, among other things, elevate the expectations we have for everyone in hockey and effect positive behaviour from the grassroots to the national team level.

With that in mind, the governance review will examine the organization and make recommendations to ensure its governance structure, systems, personnel and processes are geared to the requirements and best practices of a national sport organization of similar size, scope and influence in Canada. This will include an examination of the National Equity Fund. Once complete, the review will provide recommendations to change and/or improve the organization’s governance. The full terms of reference are provided below.

The Honourable Thomas Cromwell, C.C., is a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and previously chaired the Chief Justice of Canada’s Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters. He will be supported in his review by Ms. Victoria Prince and Ms. Nadia Effendi of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG). 

“This comprehensive governance review is a critical step to restoring trust with Canadians and ensuring we have the right people and systems in place to deliver on our Action Plan to improve Canada’s game,” said Michael Brind’Amour, Chair of the Hockey Canada Board of Directors. “We have heard Canadians loud and clear and are committed to making the changes necessary to allow us to be the organization Canadians expect.”

The governance review will begin immediately and is anticipated to provide interim recommendations in advance of Hockey Canada’s annual general meeting in November 2022.

Terms of Reference for the independent governance review:

Through the independent governance review, the Hockey Canada Board of Directors has retained the Honourable Thomas Cromwell to answer the following questions:

1. Was Hockey Canada’s use of the National Equity Fund to fund uninsured liabilities which were met by the Fund appropriate?
  a. Is there appropriate oversight concerning payments out of the National Equity Fund?
  b. Is the use of the National Equity Fund sufficiently transparent within the organization and in reports to stakeholders?
2. Are the organization’s By-Laws concerning the constitution and operation of the Board of Directors in line with current best practices, appropriate or require amendments? In addition:
  a. Recognizing the Board’s current composition, are there recommended changes to the organization’s governance structure that would support and further enhance the diversity of the Board?
  b. Are current terms and term limits aligned with best practices?
  c. Does the nominating process need to be amended?
  d. Is the structure of the various standing committees and task teams, including their Terms of Reference/mandates and reporting mechanism to the Board, appropriate?
3. Does the Board exercise an appropriate degree of oversight of senior management as compared to similar organizations, including:;
  a. Is the Board’s current structure, as a volunteer Board with accountability for oversight of the organization, appropriate and in the best interests of hockey in Canada?
  b. Is there a clearly defined process describing what items staff must report to the Board (policy vs. operations)?
  c. Is the reporting structure to the Board (staff and committees) comprehensive enough to ensure the work of Hockey Canada is efficient, effective, and of the highest quality?
  d. What role should the Board play in operations versus policy and strategy?
4. Is the Senior Management Team properly structured and constituted to oversee the operations of Hockey Canada, from the grassroots level to the high-performance level?
5. In the area of governance, are there any other recommendations for actions that the Board of Directors and senior management could take to improve the confidence Canadians have in Hockey Canada?


About The Honourable Thomas Cromwell, C.C.

Thomas sat on the Supreme Court of Canada from December 2008 to September 2016 and on the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal from 1997 to 2008. From 2008 until 2018, he chaired the Chief Justice of Canada’s Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters.

His contribution to the legal community and society as whole has been widely recognized and he has received numerous awards, including his appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest honour of the Order of Canada in December 2017, recognizing him as one of Canada’s most important voices on enhancing access to justice.

About Victoria Prince

Victoria is a Partner and National Leader for the Charities and Not-For-Profit Law Group at BLG. She counsels charities and non-profits on a wide range of issues, including corporate governance advice and training. She is a frequent speaker to the sector. Victoria has been a member of the OBA and CBA Charities and Not-For-Profit law sections for many years.

About Nadia Effendi

Nadia is a Partner and Chair of the Public Law and Appellate Advocacy Group at BLG. She specializes in administrative, regulatory, constitutional, and human rights law, and has appeared before all levels of federal and provincial courts, including numerous times before the Supreme Court of Canada. She more recently served as Lead Counsel to the Honourable Louise Arbour, who was appointed to carry out an independent external review into the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence in response to reports of harassment and sexual misconduct within Canada’s military.

Nadia is a member of the CBA Federal Courts Bench and Bar Liaison Committee, and a past president and current board member of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO).

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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