(The Canadian Press)

B.C. WHL team owners can be named in lawsuit over players’ wages: court

A class-action lawsuit is asking for back wages, overtime and vacation pay

Alberta’s highest court has ruled that a class-action lawsuit against the Western Hockey League can proceed with the players involved, and that owners and former owners of B.C. teams can be named in the suit as well.

The claim contends that players have been paid less than the minimum wage — as little as $35 per week for between 40 to 65 hours of work.

It is asking for back wages, overtime and vacation pay.

The Court of Appeal dismissed various appeals calling for changes, saying the judge who granted certification last June was right to exclude players from the league’s teams in the United States.

“Absent a material change of circumstances, or reversal on appeal, the order stands,” said the ruling released Tuesday in Calgary. “Certification does not forbid evolution of the action.”

The allegations have not been proven in court.

READ MORE: Hanlon gone as Vancouver Giants GM

The WHL, meanwhile, is arguing its players are “amateur student-athletes” and it can’t afford to pay them minimum wage on top of benefits they receive, including post-secondary scholarships.

It also alleges several teams would fold if forced to pay minimum wage.

It’s the second such court case against a major junior league in Canada. The Ontario Supreme Court approved an action against the Ontario Hockey League last April.

A similar suit against the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is also pending.

The three major junior hockey leagues, featuring a combined 60 teams of players between the ages of 16 and 20, fall under the umbrella of the Canadian Hockey League.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Police investigate sexual assault in Abbotsford

Man grabs woman by shoulders and makes sexual comments

Rising river prompts road closure in Chilliwack

Fraser expected to continue rise on Monday

FLOOD: 18 homes in Nicomen Island area under evacuation order

Fraser Valley Regional District issues order due to safety concerns

Fraser River water levels creeping towards near-record highs

Mission gauge currently reading just under 6 metres but forecasted to rise

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to B.C.

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

‘Concussion is at the forefront of our thinking’: Rodeo doctor

As in any other contact sport, concussion prevention and treatment efforts continue to evolve

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Most Read