SFU Library staff: log in here or create a new account
NOTICE (August 15, 2018): SFU Library has launched a new list of databases. Access to this portal will be decommissioned on August 31, 2018.
Please update your links and bookmarks, including those that point to individual databases and lists by subject, to point to the new list.
Contact us if you have any questions about this change.

The Shirley Petten Collection

Online access
Public message
Full description

Correspondence, newspaper clippings and other materials related to Shirley Petten's landmark ruling on same-sex survivor benefit rights from the BC Worker's Compensation Board in 1992.

In December 1991, Beverly Holmwood, Petten's partner of 20 years, died of hepatitis C. The disease had been the result of a needlestick injury from a contaminated needle while Holmwood was working as a nurse at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. In November 1992, Petten won a landmark ruling against the British Columbia Workers’ Compensation Board, who had initially refused her a survivor’s pension, and was the first in Canada to receive same-sex benefits from the board. In February 2009, Petten received a left ventricular assist device as treatment for her progressive heart failure. When she died on May 22, 2014, she was the longest surviving recipient of such a device, having had it for 5 years.

In 1999, Cynthia Petersen, a lawyer based in Ontario, wrote about Petten's case in a chapter of the book Laboring for Rights: Unions and Sexual Diversity Across Nations, edited by Gerald Hunt, entitled "Fighting it Out in Canadian Courts."

Acknowledgements: Contributed by The Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony and Special Collections and Rare Books, Simon Fraser University Library. SFU Library gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by numerous donors through the crowdfunding efforts of Cameron Duder.

Alternate names
Group records
Embargo period
Resource type
Digital collection 
Content types
Primary sources 
Simultaneous users
Update frequency
Titles indexed
Print equivalents
Open access
Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies 
Terms of use: Electronic resources are governed by license agreements which restrict access to Authorized Users. It is the responsibility of each user to abide by the license agreements and specific terms and conditions for each product. Systematically downloading, distributing, or retaining substantial portions of information may result in loss of access to these resources for the entire SFU community. Please see SFU General Policy 24 on Fair Use of Information Resources.

Personal Privacy: Some licensed resources allow you to create a personal account for the purposes of creating folders, saving searches, and downloading entire e-books as well as other personalized services. Please be advised that the personal information you disclose to these and other external websites may be stored on servers located outside of Canada. When you use these services, no personal information about you is collected by or for the University. Canadian privacy laws do not apply to personal information you provide directly to these external websites. SFU Library recommends that you review the privacy policies of these and other external websites before using the services.