We are a group of Air Canada Pilots, both active pilots and pilots who have had their employment terminated as a result of reaching the age of 60 years.
We have formed our group as a result of the need to make a common representation to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal at the hearing into a Complaint filed by two Air Canada pilots whose employment was terminated upon their reaching age 60. These pilots were forced to terminate their employment by reason of a written agreement between our employer, Air Canada, and our union, the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA). This agreement forces healthy, competent and motivated airline pilots to terminate their employment with Air Canada at the end of the month that they acquire the age of 60, notwithstanding the fact that Canadian pilot licensing regulations contain no maximum age limit--rather, licensing is based strictly upon regular individual testing of both professional and medical competence.
Air Canada Mainline pilots are forced to terminate their employment with Air Canada as a result of the Air Canada-ACPA agreement, despite the fact that Air Canada's Jazz pilots (Regional pilots) are allowed to continue their employment to age 65, by agreement between their employer (a sister corporation to Air Canada) and their union, Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), and despite the fact that pilots at all of Air Canada's Canadian-based competitors, including Skyservice, WestJet, CanJet, and Air Transat impose no age-60 restriction on their pilots.
In June, 2006 we applied to the Tribunal for status, and in August we were granted status as an Interested Party in the first proceeding. In January we were granted status in the second proceeding. We attended the hearing in January bearing the right to adduce evidence, to cross-examine witnesses, and to make full legal argument before the Tribunal concerning its deliberations on the legal and factual issues before it.
We support the position of the Complainants in their bid to have the Tribunal find that their termination of employment contravened the provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act that prohibit discrimination on the basis of age.
Although historically most airline pilots throughout the world have "normally" retired at or before the age of 60, events in Canada and elsewhere are rapidly changing. In Canada, for over twenty years many air carriers other than Air Canada have continued to employ pilots who are over 60 years of age.
In November of last year, ICAO enacted changes in its Personnel Licensing requirements, raising the maximum age of Pilots In Command from age 59 to age 64. The amendments foreclose ICAO Contracting Member States who formerly prevented over age-60 Pilots-In-Command from entering their airspace (such as the United States, France and Italy) from doing so in the future.
This, of course, changed the entire dynamic of forced termination of employment arrangements in many countries--many of the arguments that employers and unions use now to maintain the age 60 restriction (such as the difficulty scheduling pilots around U.S. airspace) will are moot. As a result, we are seeing a rapid rise in the "normal" retirement age of airline pilots in most countries.
[This page was last updated February 1st]
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