April 14, 2024

In recent times, notably resulting from labor shortages, older folks have been inspired to work longer or return to work after retirement.

Whereas it’s true in apply that there’s an pressing want for employees in Quebec, it’s not at all times the case that older folks have quick access to work, and it appears to be much more troublesome for ladies. For instance, in accordance with the Quebec Statistics Institute, it will be rather more troublesome for ladies aged 60 to 70 to take care of an equal employment price to males.

Can age discrimination happen?

The Constitution of Human Rights and Freedoms particularly offers that discrimination based mostly on age is prohibited. Nonetheless, there are numerous exceptions to this precept and it may well even be mentioned that the regulation referring to the prohibition of age discrimination is relative. For instance :

● A regulation might present for distinctions, exclusions or preferences based mostly on age with out this essentially being discriminatory, as is the case in varied social legal guidelines. By regulation we additionally imply a regulation, a authorities choice and even an order or order in council.

● Which means a non-public settlement, reminiscent of an employment contract or a collective settlement, should be freed from discrimination based mostly on age.

● In precept, questions that relate to a job applicant should be freed from requests for info, notably based mostly on age.

● Nonetheless, if the query of age is justified as a result of the abilities or qualities required to hold out a job require it, it may be raised with out essentially discriminating.

This final exception is necessary as a result of several types of employment require specific qualities or abilities. That is the case for sure guide actions the place age can clearly change into a critical impediment to the efficiency of the exercise in query. The identical applies to drivers of public automobiles, in addition to to varied different varieties of employment.

On this regard, be aware that the Well being and Security at Work Act requires employers to take acceptable measures to forestall their staff from being uncovered to hazards that would endanger their well being or security.

The Constitution of Human Rights and Freedoms additionally offers that an insurance coverage or annuity contract or perhaps a retirement plan or pension insurance coverage might comprise a distinction based mostly on age. Nonetheless, it should be demonstrated that this distinction is reliable and based mostly on accepted actuarial knowledge.


Though the Constitution of Human Rights and Freedoms is especially aimed toward combating prejudice, the difficulty of age discrimination is just not so simple as it appears at first look.

There are a number of exceptions that justify some type of age discrimination. Nonetheless, anybody counting on a particular exception should be capable to justify that their violation of the Constitution of Rights and Freedoms of the Particular person is reliable. And on this matter every case is a person case and should be thought of within the gentle of its personal details.

Finally, courts might need to determine whether or not the claimed exception is justified.

I Bernard Cliche, distinguished lawyer