"The contractual retirement age and associated post-employment benefits are cornerstones of our collective agreement, which has supported Air Canada pilots' careers for decades."
Toronto (29 September 2009) – The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) has applied to the Federal Court for judicial review of a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) decision which called into question the retirement age provision of the pilots' collective agreement with Air Canada.
"We believe 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," said Captain Brian Murray, Chair of ACPA's Age 60 Legal Support Committee.
"The contractual retirement age and associated post-employment benefits are cornerstones of our collective agreement, which has supported Air Canada pilots' careers for decades. The overwhelming majority of our members support this provision and we will use every legal means to protect their right to collectively bargain terms of retirement," Captain Murray said.
ACPA has asked the Federal Court to review that part of the August 28 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 this interpretation, the Tribunal refused to apply this section of the CHRA in considering a complaint regarding ACPA's collective agreement, which contains a contractual obligation for Air Canada pilots to retire at age 60.
If left unchallenged, the CHRA decision could potentially have an impact on the wages and benefits of the active pilot group and thousands of other federally-regulated employees currently working under collective agreements containing a fixed age of retirement.
The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) is the largest professional pilot group in Canada, representing the more than 3,000 pilots who operate Air Canada's mainline fleet.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE