Politicians Waking up to CARP Agenda

The federal Minister of State (Seniors), Diane Ablonczy, has acknowledged what CARP has been saying for a long time: mandatory retirement has to go. Ms. Ablonczy says the federal Conservatives are considering removing legislation that allows federally-regulated companies to force workers to retire at age 65. This would eliminate mandatory retirement in most cases, discrimination that is currently allowed under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

This has been a key policy demand of CARP Advocacy, most recently conveyed by Susan Eng, VP Advocacy, in a meeting with Ms. Ablonczy in May 2010. In 2009 CARP had been in talks with Liberal MP Raymonde Folco, the Official Opposition Critic for la Francophonie, who tabled a Private Member’s Bill, C-481, which would resolve the issue. Click here to read up on CARP’s previous mandatory retirement advocacy as well as bill C-481.

The government could adopt that Bill or propose its own but given the growing importance of older voters (70% of Canadians over 55 vote, and their numbers are growing), it shouldn’t be a problem to obtain all-party support for such a Bill. “This would be a smart move for the Conservative government”, says Ms. Eng.

In a sign that the ruling party is looking for opportunities to tap into its base among the senior electorate, Ms. Ablonczy has also said her government is looking at income support for impoverished senior women who have lost their husbands and do not have decent pension income, and ways to make the labour force more welcoming to older workers, so that seniors have better options for remaining in the workforce if they choose.

The minister is also reminding voters of the government’s leadership in upcoming pension reform, with proposals targeted at soon-to-be seniors and their post-retirement income. While the government has significantly upped the amount of money seniors can earn without giving up their Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)—a key CARP demand—the minister ruled out any increases to GIS or OAS payments.

Keywords: mandatory retirement