Retirement Age Ontario

Retirement Age Ontario

Retirement age refers to the point at which an individual chooses or is expected to cease working. Traditionally, it has been associated with the age of 65, but this concept is evolving. In Ontario, there is no mandatory retirement age. This means employers cannot force employees to retire simply because they have reached a certain age.


What Does Age Discrimination Involve at the Workplace? 


Age discrimination happens when an employee or job applicant faces unfair treatment due to their age. This treatment can take many forms: being passed over for job opportunities or promotions, facing demotions, receiving lower pay, hearing negative age-related comments, or being pressured into retirement. Age discrimination often targets older workers, but it can impact individuals of any age.


The Ontario Human Rights Code explicitly prohibits age discrimination in employment. If you believe you are being forced to retire due to your age, there are legal avenues to pursue:


  1. Filing a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). The HRTO is responsible for investigating and resolving complaints about discrimination. If successful, you may be entitled to reinstatement, back pay, compensation for damages, and other remedies.
  2. Consulting a Toronto employment lawyer. An experienced employment lawyer can provide essential guidance on your rights, the strength of your case, and the best course of action. They can represent you in negotiations with your employer or advocate on your behalf before the HRTO.


LTD Benefits


 Long-term disability (LTD) benefits offer a safety net for individuals who are unable to work for a prolonged period due to illness or injury. However, it is crucial to recognize that these benefits are not indefinite. The specific point at which your LTD benefits terminate can vary depending on the terms of your policy. Below are some common scenarios:


  • Age 65 – Many LTD policies end when you reach the age of 65. This aligns with the traditional concept of retirement age.
  • Eligibility for retirement pension. Some policies terminate your LTD benefits when you qualify for retirement pension benefits, such as through the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
  • Policy-specific limits. Certain policies may have a predefined maximum benefit period. For example, two years or five years.


What Are My Legal Options If I Am Facing Forced Retirement?


If you feel pressured to retire in Ontario due to your age, it is essential to understand that you have rights and options:


  1. Document everything. Keep detailed records of any conversations, emails, or incidents that suggest you are being targeted because of your age. This documentation could be crucial evidence if you decide to take legal action.
  2. Understand your workplace policies. Review your company’s policies on retirement and age discrimination. This can help you determine if your employer’s actions are breaching these policies.
  3. Seek legal counsel. Consult a Toronto employment attorney immediately. They can assess your situation, explain your rights in detail, and develop a strategy suited to your case. This might involve negotiation with your employer, mediation, or filing a complaint with the HRTO.


Rights Upon Retirement


When you retire in Ontario, it is important to understand the legal rights that protect your entitlements, ensuring a smoother transition out of the workforce. Below is a breakdown of some key areas:


  • Severance Pay: If you have worked for your employer for at least five years and they employ a significant number of employees, you may be entitled to severance pay upon termination of employment (including retirement). The amount is calculated based on factors like your age, length of service, and salary.


  • Notice of Termination or Pay in Lieu:  Employers are generally required to give advance notice of your employment termination or offer pay in lieu of that notice. The required notice period increases with your length of employment.


  • Accrued Benefits: You are entitled to receive any of the following:


  • Unused vacation time: Accrued vacation pay must be paid out upon retirement.
  • Outstanding wages: This includes salary, commissions, or bonuses.
  • Other benefits: This may include sick pay or benefits outlined in your employment contract.
  • Pension and Retirement Plans: You have the right to access pension plans or retirement savings plans (like RRSPs) according to their specific terms and in accordance with relevant legislation. Understand your options for withdrawing funds or receiving regular pension payments.


While there is no mandatory retirement age in Ontario, age discrimination remains an unfortunate reality in some workplaces. If you believe you are being pressured to retire because of your age, remember that the Ontario Human Rights Code protects you from age-based discrimination in employment. Consult with a Toronto employment lawyer immediately. They can provide guidance and help you protect your rights.


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