Air Canada pilots’ challenge to mandatory retirement shot down

Tribunal finds no age discrimination due to ‘rich’ benefits and privileges of negotiated pension plan
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

A provision in the collective agreement between Air Canada and its pilots’ union which requires retirement at age 60 is not discriminatory, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has decided.

Two Air Canada pilots, George Vilven and Robert Kelly, were terminated on Sept. 1, 2003 and May 1, 2005, respectively. Both terminations were within days of the men turning 60 and were in accordance with the mandatory retirement age provisions of the pilots’ pension plan, which is part of the collective agreement.

Vilven and Kelly wanted to continue flying as pilots with Air Canada. There is no maximum age in Canada for the licensing of airline pilots and they both passed the required medical examinations for pilots over 40. After their terminations, both men took piloting jobs with other airlines. They filed complaints with the commission claiming Air Canada discriminated against them on the basis of age, contrary to the