Air Canada ordered to reinstate two pilots forced to retire

Originally published by the Canadian Press on November 8th, 2010. To go to the Canadian Press website please click here

TORONTO — The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered Air Canada to reinstate two pilots, aged 65 and 67, who were forced to retire at age 60.

The tribunal had already declared the mandatory retirement provisions in their collective agreement with Air Canada discriminatory in an August 2009 ruling.

The decision released today dealt with the appropriate remedy, and while the tribunal ordered the two pilots reinstated, it did not order mandatory retirement to be eliminated for all Air Canada pilots.

The tribunal says its finding that a section of the Canadian Human Rights Act allowing mandatory retirement in federally regulated industries is not a legal precedent and only applies to this specific case.

George Vilven, 67 and Neil Kelly, 65, were forced to leave in 2003 and 2005, and today the tribunal ordered them reinstated at Air Canada with full seniority.

In addition, the tribunal ordered the airline and the Air Canada Pilots Association to compensate the men for lost wages from Sept. 1, 2009, plus interest, minus the pension money they received.

Advocacy group CARP said in a statement that they welcome the decision in favour of Vilven and Kelly, but they are still calling on Ottawa to repeal the relevant section of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

“The courts are doing what the federal government has declined to do although all parties have campaigned on it, but it is a long, arduous and costly process and still leaves things in a state of some uncertainty,’ Susan Eng, CARP’s vice-president of advocacy said in the statement.

The larger fight is to resume Nov. 22 when the Federal Court is to conduct a judicial review of the tribunal’s 2009 decision.

Keywords: mandatory retirement
© The Canadian Press