Demise of Mandatory Retirement One Step Closer – Bill C-481 passes Second Reading Today


December 6, 2010
CARP congratulates Parliamentarians for voting unanimously to end mandatory retirement calling it a victory against age discrimination.

Bill C-481, which passed Second Reading in the House of Commons today and could become law before the next federal election, would remove Section 15(1)(c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act which currently permits age discrimination in the form of mandatory retirement.

The Bill picks up where the courts have left off. In a recent high profile case reinstating two Air Canada pilots, aged 65 and 67, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in the George Vilven and Robert Kelly case overruled the mandatory retirement provisions in the collective agreement applying to Air Canada pilots.

However, the Tribunal does not have the legal authority to strike down the law but its determination that the law should not apply was a monumental step in Canadian jurisprudence.

Indeed, pursuant to a combination of the Tribunal rulings and Federal Court decisions in this case, Section 15(1)(c) has been found to be contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms but there remains a Federal Court decision to come determining whether that breach was protected under Section 1 of the Charter. So the issue remains unresolved.

Consequently, CARP has been calling on Parliament to enact legislation to remove Section 15(1)(c) to end age discrimination for all federally regulated employees, including those in the transportation, banking and the telecommunications industries.

“The passage of this legislation will be a triumph for those who value their human dignity and want to continue their employment beyond ages that are arbitrarily chosen by employers and unions to force them out of the workforce”, said Raymond D. Hall, counsel for the Fly Past 60 Coalition which brought the Vilven and Kelly case to court.

CARP members have been clear in their support for this amendment and some 2,500 emails were sent via CARP e-Voice to MPs of all parties in advance of the Bill’s introduction on November 15th – in response to our callout: and

“CARP has called on the federal government – of all stripes – over the years – to take a stand against age discrimination by removing the offending provision in its own Human Rights Act. Employment should be based on competence and merit, not arbitrary and discriminatory factors like age. This is welcome news for all Canadians that one more element of age discrimination may soon be eliminated but especially important for those people who must stay in the labour force for economic reasons or simply for the dignity of work”, said Susan Eng, VP Advocacy for CARP.

CARP is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to advocating for a New Vision of Aging for Canada, social change that will bring financial security, equitable access to health care and freedom from discrimination. CARP seeks to ensure that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and provides value-added benefits, products and services to our members. Through our network of chapters across Canada, CARP is dedicated to building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.