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Access to locker rooms for trans amateur hockey players: J.T. v. Hockey Canada et. al.

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This case involved a transgender boy, Jesse Thompson, who was denied access to the boys’ locker room the rest of his amateur hockey team used during the 2012-2013 hockey season. Jesse alleged that this resulted in him being ‘outed’ as trans, excluded from important team interaction and bonding, and exposed to harassment and bullying.

At the time, Hockey Canada’s Co-Ed Dressing Room Policy required male and female players aged 11 years and older to change in separate dressing rooms. The policy was being applied based anatomical sex, not gender identity.

With his mother acting as a litigation guardian, Jesse filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging that he had been discriminated against in services based on his gender identity by Hockey Canada, the Ontario Minor Hockey Association and the Oshawa Church Hockey League. Jesse was represented by the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.

The OHRC intervened as a full party in the application.

The settlement agreement

On September 11, 2014, the parties reached a settlement agreement that included individual and public interest remedies.

The public interest components of the settlement agreement were:

  1. Amateur hockey players in Ontario will have access to a dressing room in accordance with their gender identity

Hockey Canada will amend its Ontario Co-Ed Dressing Room Policy to state that players:

  • have the right to use a dressing room that corresponds with their self-identified gender identity;
  • will be addressed by their preferred name and referred to by pronouns corresponding with their gender identity; and
  • are entitled to privacy and confidentiality about their trans status.

The amended policy will be publicly posted on the websites of all the Ontario branches of Hockey Canada.

  1. Record keeping and registration procedures will be revised to protect confidentiality about trans status

The Respondents will review and revise their record keeping and registration procedures in relation to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of trans players.

  1. The Ontario  hockey community will receive information and training about gender identity and the amended dressing room policy

Hockey Canada will provide training to all Ontario coaches and trainers on:

Hockey Canada will also provide information about the amended policy to other staff, volunteers, parents/guardians, and players as appropriate.

The steps listed above will be completed in consultation with Egale Canada, an expert on gender identity issues approved by the OHRC. Hockey Canada is also required to provide the OHRC with a description of the proposed changes for review and comment.

Hockey Canada’s new Ontario policies on gender identity and expression (2016):