by Leanne E. Standryk
The Government of Canada has recently confirmed repeal of the legislative provisions which have allowed for mandatory retirement of employees governed by federal employment and human rights legislation by proclamation of Bill C-13. As a result, the law governing federally regulated employers will now fall in line with several provinces that have already eliminated mandatory retirement.
Bill C-13 will amend the relevant provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act. The amendments are scheduled to take effect 2012. The elimination of mandatory retirement will mean that federally regulated employers will not be able to terminate employment because of age unless the employer is able to establish a bona fide occupational requirement. Our experience with provincially regulated employers is that this can be quite a difficult threshold for employers to meet.
The elimination of mandatory retirement in the provincial context has led to employers’ proactive performance management of aging employees because they can no longer rely on the mandatory retirement provisions previously contained in applicable human rights legislation. The introduction of Bill C-13 will likely lead to the same approach for those employers who are federally regulated and face the same elimination of mandatory retirement by reason of the Royal Assent of Bill C-13.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact our office. The foregoing is provided to you for information purposes only. We caution you to obtain legal advice specific to your situation in all circumstances.