Air Canada ordered to reinstate veteran pilots

“The tribunal is saying ‘We’re only going to apply it to these two guys,’ but the employer is terminating everybody not on the basis of these two guys, but on the basis of the collective agreement provision,” he says. “The whole purpose of human rights legislation is to stop discrimination, and they haven’t stopped [it]. They’ve stopped discrimination against these two individuals only.”

Hall says that he has another 123 clients before the CHRT dealing with mandatory retirement among Air Canada pilots, and another 25 in queue at the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Susan Eng, vice president of advocacy for the Toronto-based Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), says the association welcomes the ruling, but is calling, along with the Fly Past 60 Coalition, for the repeal of Section 15(1)(c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. The section states that “it is not a discriminatory practice if an individual’s employment is terminated because that individual has reached the normal age of retirement for employees working in positions similar to the position of that individual.”

In declining to use its discretionary power to order Air Canada to cease its practice of requiring pilots to retire at 60, the tribunal “made it clear that the decision in the case for these two pilots does not conclude the issue of whether mandatory retirement is eliminated for everyone else in federally regulated industries – or even other pilots at Air Canada,” Eng says in a statement.

She adds that a private member’s bill by Quebec Liberal MP Raymonde Folco to eliminate the mandatory retirement age in federal workplaces will face a vote on November 15. This will determine whether it receives second reading and proceeds to a review committee, she says.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick says that the airline is currently studying the decision, “so we have nothing to offer. We will, of course, continue to comply with the law and regulations that govern our industry.”

© Occupational Health and Safety Magazine

Keywords: mandatory retirement, ageism