By Lindsey Taylor
As we have discussed in previous editions, mandatory retirement across Canada is becoming a relic of the past. And employers are beginning to face the ripple effects. One of those ripple effects is benefits entitlement: Can Canadian employees over 65 be excluded from benefits? The answer isn’t clear. As a handful of recent arbitration cases suggest, the answer may depend on what you have negotiated with your union or employees.
Peace River School District
In British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union v. Peace River South School District No. 59, the arbitrator considered whether an employer could terminate its unionized employees’ health benefits at age 65 after mandatory retirement was abolished in British Columbia. Although the collective agreement said benefits would be provided to “all employees,” there was evidence that the parties’ originally negotiated terms of insurance coverage included termination at age 65. Thereafter, they agreed that there would be no change in these terms when they later agreed to change insurers.