Gender Equality

UNB ordered to reinstate women’s varsity hockey team

N.B. Labour and Employment Board ruled on an 8 year case

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) has been ordered to reinstate its varsity women’s hockey team for the 2017-2018 season.

The New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board released its ruling on Wednesday.

The case goes back to 2008 when the hockey team was demoted from a varsity team to a competitive sports club. A year later, former player Sylvia Bryson filed a complaint.

Bryson said it was an act of discrimination based on gender. According to labour board documents, Bryson argued that cutting the program put women players at a disadvantage to men because

  • They were not given equal opportunity to produce desired skills.
  • They were treated as inferior to the men’s team.
  • The inequities were based on sex. They include funding, budgets, scholarships, fundraising, promotions, equipment and access to dressing rooms.

UNB justified the demotion, saying the cut to the team, as well as five other varsity teams at the time, was due to budgetary limitations. The university stated it was “exercising its discretion in accordance with objective criteria that was equally applicable to all athletic teams.”

It also said the men’s and women’s varsity teams weren’t comparable because of their rankings and history.