Mandatory retirement is history

It’s been two decades since Ottawa first tried to repeal legislation that allowed federally regulated employers to force workers into retirement because of their age. This week, the government managed to quietly overturn mandatory retirement after it had been in practice for 30 years.

Beginning December 2012, 12,000 federally regulated employers will no longer be able to force their 800,000 employees to retire against their will.

Susan Eng, Vice-President for Advocacy at CARP, Canada’s largest national organization representing Canadians as they age, noted that “This was an overnight success after 20 years of lobbying. They buried it in the larger budget bill, and this is one time where I’m glad they did. After 20 years of election promises by governments of all stripes, this government has finally eliminated mandatory retirement at the federal level. By itself, the repeal does not end workplace age discrimination, as evidenced by major employers still looking for ways to forcibly retire older workers, but this Parliamentary leadership will go a long way to ensuring that people are able to stay in the work force if they need to keep working or simply want the dignity of work.”

Although there are some exceptions for certain occupations, the repeal means employees in federally regulated industries such as transport, banking and communications will be able to continue working beyond the typically mandated ages of 60 or 65.

Economists argue that this will benefit increasingly cash strapped governments since the longer a person works, the longer they pay income taxes. They also pointed out that it will help with the shortage of labour as the boomer population ages.

Sources: CARP news release, National Post


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