Ending mandatory retirement

British Columbia’s Human Rights Code protects all people 19 and over from discrimination because of their age.

Among other things, this means you cannot be forced to retire because of your age.

The Code applies to all public and private sector workplaces in British Columbia, except those regulated by the federal government.

The choice is yours

The choice to retire is yours.

Your employer cannot force you to retire because of your age, but they can offer all employees some reward or bonus to retire.

Your employer cannot force you to keep working either, if you want to retire.

There may still be some jobs with age limits because of the duties or needs of work or because of safety issues or dangers. These true demands of a job are called bona fide occupational requirements.

Bona fide occupational requirements

Employers must be able to show that the reasons for the age limit are acceptable under the Code. They must demonstrate that they:

  • Adopted the requirement for a purpose rationally connected to the performance of the job
  • Adopted the requirement in an honest and good faith belief that it was necessary to the fulfilment of that legitimate work-related purpose
  • Would experience undue hardship by accommodating individual employees

Age-related disabilities

Mature workers are subject to the same Human Rights Code standard of accommodation as other workers.

Pension and insurance benefits

Pension plans

Pension plans can continue to make distinctions based on age. They can still set early and standard retirement ages, but plans cannot force you to retire. These age distinctions allow programs to keep operating.

Group or employee insurance plans

Insurance plans, whether self-funded by employers or provided by a third party, can continue to make distinctions based on age. These age distinctions allow programs to keep operating.

Canada Pension Plan

Your Canada Pension Plan benefits will not change just because there is no more forced retirement in British Columbia. The federal government sets the rules for the Canada Pension Plan.

Workers’ compensation benefits

The changes to the Human Rights Code do not affect workers’ compensation benefits. Visit WorkSafeBC for information about benefits.