Part I - Act respecting labour standards
CHAPTER IV - Labour standards
An employee is entitled to continue to work notwithstanding the fact that he has reached or passed the age or number of years of service at which he should retire pursuant to a general law or special act applicable to him, pursuant to the retirement plan to which he contributes, pursuant to the collective agreement, the arbitration award in lieu thereof or the decree governing him, or pursuant to the common practice of his employer.
However, and subject to section 122.1, such right does not prevent an employer or, his agent from dismissing, suspending or transferring such an employee for good and sufficient cause.
2002, c. 80, s. 49.
This provision was incorporated in the Act respecting labour standards on April 1, 1982 by Chapter 12 of the Statutes of 1982 (Act respecting the abolition of compulsory retirement and providing amendments to certain legislation).
The legislator abolished definitively the right to dismiss an employee for the sole reason that he has reached or passed the age of retirement. In so doing, the legislator put an end to a certain discrimination against workers who, due to their age, could find themselves deprived of their job.
It is interesting to recall, as the Minister of State for Social Development mentioned in a parliamentary committee on the section-by-section examination of Bill 15 (Act respecting the abolition of compulsory retirement and providing amendments to certain legislation) that: “…the objective of the Act is to put an end to a certain discrimination, namely the obligation for workers to retire at age 65. Bill 15 gives a new right to decide at what time a person will withdraw from the work market.” (National Assembly, Journal des débats, Commissions parlementaires, third session – 32nd Legislature, Commission permanente des affaires sociales, examination of Bill 15 – Act respecting the abolition of compulsory retirement and providing amendments to certain legislation, Tuesday, March 9, 1982 – no. 50, B-2599).
Hence, the legislator wanted to leave it solely up to the employee to decide the time at which he would retire. Consequently, an employer who would impose a sanction on the employee would do so, likely, due to the exercise by this employee of a right ensuing from the Act respecting labour standards.
Such a legislative measure is in line with the extension of the provisions of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (R.S.Q., c. C-12). Indeed, section 10 of the Charter prohibits any discriminated based, among other things, on age. Section 16 prohibits such discrimination at work in the transfer, layoff, suspension or firing of a person.