Ending Mandatory Retirement: Reassessment

(2014) 35 Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues 22

32 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2014

Date Written: March 6, 2014


This paper critically reviews recent legislative changes on mandatory retirement in Canada. It argues that despite the global trend toward the abolition of mandatory retirement, which is also evident in Canada, one should not lose sight of the ultimate purpose – preventing age discrimination and promoting age equality in the labour market. Merely ending mandatory retirement cannot achieve this purpose. Furthermore, many exceptions still exist, allowing de facto mandatory retirement arrangements and stirring up controversy. The paper advocates a holistic approach to regulating the end of working life in a way that will best promote senior workers’ right to age equality, while balancing this right with the rights and interests of other workers, employers and society at large. Employing a theoretical framework for assessing unlawful cases of age discrimination – the Dignified Lives Approach to age discrimination – developed by the author elsewhere, this paper illustrates why mandatory retirement should generally be banned and outlines the limited circumstances and conditions in which mandatory retirement should be allowed. Finally, it suggests supplementing the abolition of mandatory retirement with various other measures to ensure that workers are treated with equal concern and respect in both work and retirement.

Keywords: mandatory retirement, age discrimination, aging workforce, older workers

Suggested Citation

Alon-Shenker, Pnina, Ending Mandatory Retirement: Reassessment (March 6, 2014). (2014) 35 Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues 22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2405758

Pnina Alon-Shenker (Contact Author)

Toronto Metropolitan University ( email )

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