“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.