The campaign, which was set up in the aftermath of the April 6 crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 others when the bus and a tractor trailer collided at an intersection in eastern Saskatchewan, raised over $15 million.
Kevin Garinger, president of the hockey team and the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund, said although the process will involve the courts, they remains committed to helping the families.
“We have made them aware of the legislated process, as well as our ongoing commitment to ensuring their financial needs are served,” Garinger said.
Under Saskatchewan law, money raised through a public appeal must follow a process that includes the appointment of a supervising judge, submitting a proposed court order for fund allocations, and a timeline for distribution.
Scott Thomas, the father of Evan Thomas who was killed in the crash, said the task of managing the fund is overwhelming and unprecedented.
“The legislation in place in Saskatchewan may make this process take a little longer than that of other victim’s funds,” Thomas said.
“Given the amount of money in play, we are pleased that there are a number of checks and balances in place to ensure the funds are distributed in a transparent and fair way.”
Thomas also added that for most parents, the memorial fund hasn’t been top of mind.
“I haven’t spent one conscious second thinking about how these funds should be divided. I see the argument, maybe it is that simple that they cut 29 even cheques and we all go our separate ways, but it can’t be that simple,” Thomas said.
“It just can’t be, because there’s two boys laying in a hospital bed with brain injuries that maybe need a little bit more money, two paralyzed boys that maybe need a little bit more money, Darcy Haugan’s boys that maybe need a little more money and the boys that walked through that carnage that will probably have PTSD for the rest of their lives, maybe they need a little more money,” he added.
“If someone from the Broncos comes to me and says ‘Scott, we’re going to take a little piece of what we allocated for Evan and your family and give it to these guys’, I guarantee my son would be standing here saying ‘you take care of those boys, make sure they’re taken care of.’ So it’s not that simple, and anyone who thinks it’s that simple, I would disagree with.”
No timeline has been announced for the distribution of the funds, but Garinger says they want to get it done as soon as possible.
“One of the mandates of our board is that we will get this done as quickly as possible if not sooner,” Garinger said. “Because we want this off our hands and where it was initially set up to go and that is to the 29 families.”
Saskatchewan is the only jurisdiction in Canada that has legislation in place for the administration of funds raised through public appeals.