The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) is the subject of a class action lawsuit brought forward by players who allegedly suffered physical, sexual and other types of abuse by older teammates and CHL staff.
A statement of claim has been filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
The victims allege the CHL “perpetuated a toxic environment that condones violent, discriminatory, racist, sexualized, and homophobic conduct, including physical and sexual assault, on the underage players they are obligated to protect.”
The case has two lead plaintiffs who were 17-year-old rookies in the CHL several years apart. Both say they were abused at the hands of older players and team staff in incidents of bullying and hazing.
Class action lawsuits involve a group of people, or class members, collectively suing a large organization, typically a large corporation or government, for collective wrongs that the organization has allegedly committed.
In this case, the class members are current and former CHL players who have experienced abuse, and the alleged wrongdoing is the systematic and institutionalized abuse and harassment at all levels of the CHL.
Many businesses have been forced to close, limit their hours, or reduce their capacity. Despite a vaccine, the economic impact will likely continue, particularly in the face of new strains of the virus.
On January 28, 2021, the Ontario Superior Court addressed “inadequacies in current legal responses to internet defamation and harassment” by creating a new tort of internet harassment and cyber bullying.
While the global pandemic has been incredibly disruptive, the Court is embracing these changes and the legal community is using the tools available to move matters through the court system despite challenges.