Air Canada can force pilots to retire at 60: tribunal

Canadian Press

MONTREAL — The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled Friday that Air Canada is not engaging in age discrimination by forcing pilots to retire at age 60.

“The tribunal finds that age 60 is the normal age of retirement ... for persons working in positions similar to the positions of the complainants,” said the judgment.

“As such, the mandatory retirement policy of Air Canada does not constitute a discriminatory practice under the Canadian Human Rights Act.”

The decision followed hearings that took place in January.

George Vilven of Airdrie, Alta., launched the case after the airline forced him into retirement when he turned 60 in August 2003.

The effort was supported by group of pilots who belong to the Fly Past 60 Coalition. But the union representing 3,100 pilots applauded the tribunal's ruling.

“The vast majority of our members support, and benefit from, this provision in our collective agreement,” Capt. Andy Wilson, president of the Air Canada Pilots Association, said in a release.

“We are pleased that the tribunal has recognized the right of Air Canada pilots to freely negotiate a fixed retirement age.”

The tribunal said 60 is the normal retirement age for pilots who fly with regularly scheduled, international flights with major airlines. Consequently, it is neither discriminatory nor contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The association argued at the hearings that most pilots favour the airline's policy, voting by a three-to-one margin in April 2006 to uphold the retirement age at 60. Pilots over 40 are required to have physical examinations every six months.




Our commentary in the Globe and Mail

August 17, 2007

Right on Jens, this "vote" was pitting the larger younger age group against the older. The younger want seniority as fast as possible. They would vote for the retirement age to be reduced not increased.

Voting is not necessarily any reflection of the merits of an idea when there are conflicts of interest. With age comes experience and with experience increased safety. The decline in performance with age varies from person to person and is very identifiable from testing, monitoring and performance. If a pilot is suddenly unable to fly its most probably due to stress and not age. If its stress then its most likely to be the result of Male Gender Apartheid policies of Family Court subjecting a father pilot to false allegations and turning him into a visitor in his children’s lives. Divorce has ended many a pilot's career as it has ended the careers of many other professionals. This damage would happen far less often if we had a mandatory presumption of equal parenting after separation. These days, there are a lot more older new fathers and I'm betting a lot of relatively new fathers approaching 60 will not complain that they have to put away their flight bag. 613-797-3237