Mobilising Support for Bill C-481 – An Option to Work Beyond 65

We are mobilizing support for lifting of mandatory retirement age. Employers of federally regulated companies, are allowed to set a mandatory retirement age, which is normally 65, says Suresh Jaura, volunteering for the community service initiative, Canadians Against Forced Retirement, sponsored by Globalom Media for Global Cooperation Council (North America chapter).

Bill C-481 is for lifting of mandatory retirement age to give employees an option to work beyond 65.

Ed Komarnicki, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour, in his speech on Bill C- 481 mentioned that it is "2% of the federally regulated employers", who have to retire. He has supported the Bill with need for ‘necessary amendments’ namely to exclude ‘Canadian Forces’, include ‘a transition provision to allow employers and unions to adjust to the changes’, and ‘a coming into force provision.’

While it is recognised by the government that ‘Forcing someone to retire because of age is a form of discrimination’ and there has been ‘consistent progress, why the ‘Less than 2% of the federally regulated employers’ should continue to be discriminated against, especially those who are not part of the Canadian Forces?

What is the need for ‘a transition’ and ‘coming into force’ provision which would not help those being forced to retire now? Should part of those ‘less than 2%’ have to be continued to be discriminated against? That amounts to a double whammy for those who are 65 or nearing 65. Is it their fault that they were not born a couple of years later to allow for this ‘transition’ period that you have in mind? Is it also their fault that they don’t work for the federal government or for provincial employers?

Mandatory retirement has been abolished in all Canadian provinces and territories. The employees can no longer be forced to retire at the age of 65.

Politicians, medical professionals including physicians and surgeons, lawyers, university professors, judges are amongst those who no longer have to retire at 65. Senators are appointed and can continue to work till they are 75 years.

Even if it is 2% why should be they be discriminated against and forced to retire.

Bill C-481, introduced as a private member’s bill by Raymonde Folco, Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC, is an Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canada Labour Code (mandatory retirement age).

It is "the myth of mandatory retirement," as Chris Charlton, MP Hamilton Mountain, ON, stated while speaking on the Bill in the Commons. “There is no universal prohibition in place now that would stop all Canadians from working past the age of 65”, she added.

Discrimination on the basis of Age is one of the prohibited grounds in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms under Equality Rights. However, the Canadian Human Rights Act permits “an employee organization to exclude, expel or suspend an individual from membership in the organization because that individual has reached the normal age of retirement for individuals working in positions similar to the position of that individual."

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has held hearings since July 1980 on 65 cases of Age discrimination.

Vilven and Kelly vs Air Canada is the latest case on which the Tribunal ruled on November 8 this year. Both filed complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC); Mr. Vilven on August 5, 2004 and Mr. Kelly on March 5, 2006. Their first hearing with the Tribunal was in 2006 and 2007.

Even though the Tribunal has decided in their favour, the ruling applies only to them, and not other pilots, who have to fight individually.

At the same time, members belonging to other unions with Air Canada and employees of other federally-regulated organisaitons, for whom ‘mandatory retirement age’ is set at 65, would have to fight on their own, if they wish to continue beyond 65.

While the 65-year retirement age made sense when the life expectancy was much lower, it does not any more when it is between 78 to 80 years for males and females.

Many of the professionally qualified and experienced immigrants to Canada are in the age group of 35 – 42 (maximum allowed for applicants at the time of application). It takes another couple of years or more before they arrive in Canada. This does not give them enough time to earn enough to save for retirement, especially when there are obstacles in them finding gainful employment in their chosen profession on the basis of which they have migrated to Canada. The new immigrants end up working odd jobs, such as labourers, security guards, drivers, pizza delivery drivers etc.

Not with enough money for retirement, they end up living hand-to-mouth or collecting Guaranteed Income Supplement which is an added burden on the public exchequer.

There is not only the fear that their existing pensions will not be enough to cover them throughout their retirement., there is increasing evidence that retired people are living in poverty due to shortfalls in their pension provisions.

There is the Damocles’ sword hanging over the pensioners who periodically feel threatened with cuts (as much as 20% to 30% in some cases) at the time of negotiations for renewal of union contracts.

In general those, who wish to work beyond 65, if allowed to work, will be paying not only taxes but also not collecting welfare payments.

For more information, check Canadians Against Forced Retirement Blog at http://againstforcedretirement.blogspot.com/

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1 Comment

  1. This is a shame that the government is going this way. The youth in this country have no future. They will be working minimum wage jobs until they die. All the baby boomers have had good paying jobs their whole lives and they are so greedy that they can’t pass them down to the younger generation. They should just shut down all of the universities in this country. No one can find a job once they graduate.

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