Ontario may scrap mandatory retirement

Move will be key part of provincial government's re-election strategy

The Ontario government is looking at scrapping mandatory retirement, according to the Toronto Star.

There are no laws anywhere in Canada that mandate retirement at age 65, but many workplaces force retirement at that age — through workplace policies or collective agreements — even if the employee still wants to work. According to the Star, the government hopes to woo baby boomers, many of whom have seen their retirement savings depleted in recent years, as it prepares to call an election.

The move has met with criticism from some opposition parties. The NDP said there should be a strong pension regime that allows people to retire without having to rely on a salary. Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove said the CAW, and most of the collective agreements in the province, include mandatory retirement.

“Quite frankly, we’ve had very few complaints over the past 20 years (about having to retire),” he said.

But the idea has been met with approval by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP).

“We are very determined that there has to be a choice rather than mandatory retirement because a lot of people want to continue working,” said Judy Cutler, CARP’s director of communications. “They have a lot to contribute. And there are many that need to work just to stay above water. Then there’s the age discrimination side of it, which assumes that somebody who turns 65, that they are not useful and or productive. It’s just not true.”

According to the government source the Star spoke to, the plan to eliminate mandatory retirement could be officially announced sometime this week.

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