Mandatory retirements under scrutiny

|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2003

Eleven years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the University of Guelph’s policy requiring employees to retire at age 65. (McKinney v. University of Guelph (1990), 76 D.L.R. (4th) 545 (S.C.C.)

The Supreme Court of Canada? That should be the final word on the matter, right? Not according to the British Columbia Court of Appeal. In a recent decision, that court narrowed the scope of the McKinney judgment. In fact, the court concluded that one employer’s mandatory retirement policy was unlawful: Greater Vancouver Regional District Employees’ Union v. Greater Vancouver Regional District, 2001 BCCA 435 (B.C.C.A.).

What’s more, the issue of mandatory retirement is being re-addressed in human rights forums across the country. For example, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has examined the human rights of older workers and recommended that protection against age discrimination be extended to people over age 65.