Pilots Support Retirement at Age 60: Poll

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

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 on line 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.

Retirement 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 positions.

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."

The 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 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.

Paul Howard
Director of Communications
Air Canada Pilots Association
905-678-9008 ext. 222 

Published on:Publié :
Aug 10, 201010 Aug 2010

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