Acadie-Bathurst Titan welcomes proposed changes to NB New Brunswick's Employment Standards Act

The Acadie-Bathurst Titan welcomes proposed changes to New Brunswick's Employment Standards Act that would see amateur athletes exempt from minimum wage and other provisions.

Board president Serge Theriault says the decision recognizes the importance of junior hockey to players, families, and fans in communities across the province.

Under the proposed changes amateur athletes would also be exempt from provisions governing vacations, work hours as well as termination of employment.

Labour Minister Donald Arseneault says the changes would result in major junior teams saving approximately $380K per year, thereby making major junior teams more viable.

The move comes in the middle of a bitter multimillion dollar class-action lawsuit against he CHL covering current and former major junior hockey players for wages and holidays and vacation pay.

The CHL Players' Association is furious that the province would make such a proposal.

Association's Randy Gumbley says players should have a right to earn minimum wage and be protected, and likens the situation to "slave labour".  protected and have a right to earn minimum wage.

Theriault, meanwhile, says the lawsuit is fundamentally misconceived and misunderstands the nature of sport, including junior hockey, in Canada.

He says the success of players, both on and off the ice is the only evidence needed to know the system is meeting its objective of supporting players' progress and talent, as well as much needed financial support for education.