The laws that generally provided for mandatory retirement in Canada have been eliminated. Across Canada, with very few exceptions, employees generally cannot be forced to retire at age 65. But can their benefits be cut off at age 65?
Even if employers are permitted to cut off benefits to workers 65 and older under human rights antidiscrimination laws, are they contractually entitled to do so? Recent labor arbitration decisions indicate that if employers don’t properly contract to cut off benefits, they may not be entitled to cut off benefits at all.
In 2008, Ontario’s Human Rights Code was revised to specifically permit Ontario courts to award damages for breaches of the Code. Before this, it was only the Human Rights Tribunal that had jurisdiction to award damages for human rights violations in Ontario.
Since then, Ontario plaintiffs have made many attempts to obtain human rights damages in wrongful dismissal and other employment-related lawsuits, but none have succeeded until now. For the first time, the Ontario Superior Court has awarded damages for a breach of the Code in Wilson v. Solis Mexican Foods, 2013 ONSC 5799. read more…
Are pension plans that provide age-based early retirement programs discriminatory? In a decision that may be important across Canada, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has recently answered no.
In Kovacs v. Arcelor Mittal Montreal, Kovacs argued that he had been discriminated against on the basis of his age by not being able to participate in the early retirement program being offered by the employer, Arcelor.
Over the past couple of years, human rights legislation across Canada has undergone a period of transition. This comes as a response to growing dissatisfaction with outdated statutes and the lengthy processes in place to resolve complaints.
Amendments to the British Columbia Human Rights Code were proposed in 2002 and set the stage for other provinces to follow suit. Modifications to Ontario’s Human Rights Code followed in 2008, and those changes closely mirrored those put in place in British Columbia. Now it seems that Alberta is next in line.