Hockey Canada has paid CAD8.9 million to settle sexual assault claims since 1989 ©Getty Images

Hockey Canada has paid CAD8.9 million (£5.7 million/$6.9 million/€6.7 million) across 21 settlements over claims of sexual assault since 1989.

The organisation's chief executive Scott Smith has refused to step down in the wake of the revelation, which was made as Parliament grilled Hockey Canada leaders, despite calls for him to resign.

Per CBC, Hockey Canada's chief financial officer Brian Cairo testified that it had used CAD7.6 million (£4.8 million/$5.9 million/€5.8 million) for nine claims out of its National Equity Fund, which is generated by membership fees and investments.

Of that money, CAD6.8 million (£4.4 million/$5.3 million/€5.2 million) was for settlements related to Graham James, a former junior hockey coach convicted of sexually assaulting young players.

Hockey Canada came under fire for using the fund to settle sexual assault claims and has promised to no longer use it for that purpose.

Both Cairo and Smith defended the use, however.

"The insurance companies were not going to insure us for those types of instances," Cairo said, as reported by CBC.

Cairo later discoed Hockey Canada settled an additional 12 sexual misconduct claims during the same time period, with CAD1.3 million (£834,000/$1 million/€990,000) paid through insurance.

Hockey Canada has had its access to public funds frozen ©Getty Images
Hockey Canada has had its access to public funds frozen ©Getty Images

"We haven't used money to protect our image," claimed Smith.

"We've used money to respond [to] and support victims… so we've used money to support families."

Hockey Canada's handling of sexual assault complaints came under scrutiny earlier this year when it emerged it had settled a case for CAD3.55 million (£2.2 million/$2.7 million/€2.7 million).

The lawsuit in question was filed by a woman who alleges she was abused by eight former Canadian Hockey League players in Ontario in 2018, when they played for the junior national team.

A Police investigation into the matter has been reopened, while Hockey Canada has had its access to public funds frozen in response.

The governing body plans to implement a six-pillar action plan which includes promises to set up an independent mechanism for reporting wrongdoing, a tracking system to monitor instances of maltreatment, abuse or harassment, enhanced training and a policy that would force individuals to take part in any investigation.