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End Mandatory Retirement - Nov 7, 2006

Human Rights Commission applauds government’s proposed amendments to end mandatory retirement

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission is pleased with yesterday’s announcement by the Government of Saskatchewan of legislative amendments to The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code to end mandatory retirement.

“Today’s decision will be positive for vulnerable groups who will benefit from not being forced to retire at age 65,” said Chief Commissioner Donna Scott. “These include those who have entered the workforce later than others, women who have taken time away from the workforce to raise children or have experienced wage inequity while they were employed, and those who simply cannot afford to retire at age 65.”

To date, the Commission has accepted 17 complaints of age discrimination based on mandatory retirement. The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code currently defines “age” as “any age of 18 years or more but less than 65 years,” restricting protection from age discrimination to those persons between 18 and 64. The bill strikes out the words, “but less than 65 years.”

“As the amendments will not come into force until one year after Royal Assent, the Commission will await the decision of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal in the mandatory retirement case of Louise Carlson v. Saskatoon Public Library Board and the Canadian Union of Public Employees for guidance on protections against age discrimination in the intervening period,” Ms. Scott added.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission began recommending the elimination of the restrictive definition of age 10 years ago in its review of the Human Rights Code because it is inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

With the proposed amendments, Saskatchewan will join the majority of Canadian provinces that no longer require mandatory retirement based solely on age.

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For more information, contact:

Donna Scott, Chief Commissioner
Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission
306 – 933-5952

 

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