Provincial government ignores key recommendations to improve seniors’ quality of life but mandatory retirement set to end

B.C. Federation of Labour news release: [VANCOUVER] - Legislation introduced today by the BC Liberal government ends mandatory retirement but ignores fifteen key recommendations set out by the Premier's Council on Aging and Seniors to improve seniors' quality of life, says B.C. Federation of Labour President, Jim Sinclair.

In a Brief submitted earlier this year, the Federation supported an end to mandatory retirement based on Alberta's model, which ends age discrimination, but allows for age restrictions as reasonable and justifiable in bona fide pension plans.

But Sinclair warned that under the legislation, once an employee turns 65, they could lose significant workplace benefits like life insurance, long-term disability and potentially medical and dental coverage if they continue to work.

While Sinclair was disappointed that these other recommendations were ignored, he was pleased that the government appears to have accepted the labour movement's advice regarding mandatory retirement.

"The report of the Premier's Council on Aging and Seniors called for major investments in pensions, home support and affordable housing," Sinclair said, "but today's legislation, Bill 31, only ends mandatory retirement."

"Without action on the entire report it appears the provincial government only wants seniors to work longer, not to live longer in dignity," said Sinclair.

"If the Campbell Liberals really want to give seniors income security and real choice on retirement then they should act quickly to improve pension plans, seniors' housing and home support," added Sinclair.

"But, on its own, ending mandatory retirement will do nothing to increase employment, reduce seniors' poverty or expand retirement choices for most seniors," Sinclair concluded.

To read a copy of the Federation's Brief, visit B.C. Fed's website.

For more information contact: Jessie Uppal 604-430-1421 or 604-220-0739.