Wings Magazine

Air Canada pilots support retirement at 60

August 12, 2010, Toronto - An overwhelming majority of Air Canada pilots support retirement at age 60, according to a poll conducted for their union.

August 12, 2010  By Air Canada Pilots Association

The survey of more than 1,800
pilots showed that 82 per cent supported retirement at age 60 or even younger.

"These survey results
demonstrate without question that Air Canada pilots overwhelmingly support the
freely negotiated age of retirement in their collective agreement," said Captain
Paul Strachan, President of the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA). "The
results confirm what our members have repeatedly shown in successive rounds of
collective bargaining. They want us to preserve retirement at age 60 with a
secure pension that allows them to enjoy the benefits of their years of work
performed on behalf of our airline and our passengers."

The results come from an
online survey of 1,860 Air Canada pilots conducted June 7 – 23 by The Wilson
Center for Public Research, Inc. In
the survey, which included almost 60 per cent of all Air Canada pilots,
respondents were asked whether they would like a retirement age of 60 years,
greater than 60 or less than 60.

Pilots were strongly
united on the issue, with 78 per cent supporting retirement at age 60 and a
further four per cent wanting to retire at a younger age. Even among senior
pilots over the age of 50, more than 63 per cent supported retirement at age 60
or earlier, outnumbering those wanting to work past 60 years by more than a
two-to-one margin in that sub-group. Only 13 per  cent of pilots wanted a retirement age greater than 60 years.


at age 60 is currently set in the pilots' contract and pension plan, which are
negotiated with Air Canada by ACPA and ratified by its member pilots in a
democratic vote each time their collective agreement is renewed.

The negotiated age of
retirement is also the subject of an upcoming Federal Court judicial review of
a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) decision. In August 2009, the CHRT
asserted that a section 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 says 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

ACPA asked the Federal Court
to review the CHRT decision, arguing that the Tribunal had ignored Supreme
Court of Canada decisions which found it acceptable for employers and employees
to determine a retirement age through the collective bargaining process.

The Federal Court will
hear the case November 22 – 25 in Ottawa.

"We have a strong, clear
mandate from our members to defend their right to collectively bargain their
retirement provisions," Captain Strachan said. "We will exercise the mandate pilots
have given us by using every legal means at our disposal to defend their
democratic rights."

Federal Court's decision could potentially have an impact on the wages and
benefits of the Air Canada pilots and thousands of other federally-regulated
employees working under collective agreements containing a fixed age of


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