Ontario has introduced legislation that would, if passed, allow mandatory retirement at age 60 for the province's salaried firefighters. The changes would only apply to salaried firefighters who respond to emergency calls.
Recognizing the unique physical and hazardous work of firefighters, the proposed changes to the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 2011 would standardize the retirement age across the province. Currently the average retirement age for a professional firefighter in Ontario is 57.
"We rely on our firefighters to keep Ontario's families safe, and now we are acting to recognize their health and safety needs,” said Jim Bradley, minister of community safety and correctional services.
Most municipalities already include a mandatory retirement age for firefighters in their collective agreements. The proposed legislation would provide other municipalities two years to negotiate a new retirement provision.
"The salaried firefighters who keep our families and homes safe do so with great bravery and dedication, and deserve our utmost respect. I am pleased to introduce this legislation that recognizes their years of selfless service and the hazardous nature of the work," said Charles Sousa, minister of labour.
If passed, the legislation would also allow firefighters who believe their local association is not representing them fairly to take their complaints to the Ontario Labour Relations Board — as is the practice with other unions.
Human rights tribunals have generally upheld mandatory retirement for firefighters, based on the nature of the work firefighters do, according to the Ontario government.
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