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Mandatory Retirement in Ontario

            On May 29, 2003 the Ontario Conservative government led by Premier Ernie Eves introduced a new legislation that would eliminate mandatory retirement for people at the age of 65. Mandatory retirement policies were introduced to Canada in the early 20th century and state that all employers have the right to force their employees into retirement once they reach 65 years of age. Support for the legislation was split among the Ontarian population, some opposed the mandatory retirement laws and claimed that they are a form of institutionalized ageism while others supported the laws and felt that removing them would lead to lower employment among youth, lower productivity of the Ontario work-force and higher unemployment rates in the provincial economy.
             Many of those who oppose mandatory retirement are the elderly workers themselves. The majority of workers forced into retirement want to and financially need to continue working to support themselves and their families. Low-paid workers have no choice but to work past the age of 65, they often have insufficient savings for retirement. If an employer has the right to terminate this person for no reason at all, there will be no place for them to turn and eventually they will end up below the poverty line.
             The opposition argue that there is no medical evidence that can confirm that people over the age of 65 are incapable of performing the jobs assigned to them, although few exceptions are found, these people can be singled out by testing, rather than forcing the entire workforce over 65 to retire. The opposition also argues that experience and expertise are essential in the workforce today and that replacing experienced workers with youths will lead to a fall in output for many firms.
             Many Canadian economists also believe that the removal of mandatory retirement is best for the economy in the coming years. The aging of the baby-boomer generation will certainly bring retirement policies to the forefront of political debates in the next 10 years.

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