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Federal court to review retirement age decision

July 29, 2010  By Air Canada Pilots Association

July 29, 2010, Toronto - The Federal Court has scheduled hearings November 22 - 25 in Ottawa for its judicial review of a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) decision which called into question the retirement age provision of the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) collective agreement with Air Canada.

"We look forward to defending the right of employees to determine a retirement age through collective bargaining," said ACPA President Captain Paul Strachan. "In our view, the law and previous court decisions clearly support our members' right to negotiate their age of retirement."

Last September, ACPA asked the Federal Court to review a 2009 CHRT decision which asserted that Section 15(1)(c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) cannot be justified under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a reasonable limit prescribed by law that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. That section of the human rights law states that a practice is not discriminatory if an individual's employment is terminated because he or she has reached the normal age of retirement for employees working in similar positions.

As a result of its interpretation, the Tribunal refused to apply this section of the CHRA in considering a complaint about ACPA's collective agreement, which contains a contractual obligation for Air Canada pilots to retire at age 60.

ACPA believes the Tribunal erred at law by ignoring Supreme Court of Canada decisions which found it acceptable for employers and employees to determine a retirement age through the collective bargaining process.


If left unchallenged, the CHRA decision could potentially have an impact on the wages and benefits of the Air Canada pilots and thousands of other federally-regulated employees working under collective agreements containing a fixed age of retirement.


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