Two-thirds of British Columbians Oppose Mandatory Retirement

Created 29 January 2007 17:01

VANCOUVER – The organization representing BC’s university professors today released opinion poll results indicating that two-thirds (67%) of British Columbians disagree with the idea that an employer should have the right to decide the age of retirement for their employees. The Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA/BC) released the poll results two months after Premier Gordon Campbell announced that his government will eliminate mandatory retirement.

“British Columbians want to decide for themselves if and when they will retire and Premier Campbell has taken the first step to make that happen,” said Robert Clift, Executive Director of CUFA/BC. “He now needs to press forward with the recommendations of his advisors and end mandatory retirement quickly.”

On December 1, 2006, the Premier’s Council on Aging and Seniors Issues released a wide-ranging report on steps the BC Government should take to better serve older British Columbians. The top recommendation in that report was that the Government immediately end employment discrimination on the basis of age, thereby eliminating mandatory retirement.

“Some groups have suggested that British Columbians are willing to accept mandatory retirement in exchange for a pension, but our polling found that was not the case,” Clift said. “60% of respondents disagreed with the idea that a person should have to retire at a particular age in order to belong to a company pension plan.”

CUFA/BC also found that respondents in union households were more likely to oppose mandatory retirement.

“72% of respondents in union households oppose their employers choosing their date of retirement,” Clift said. “When asked about linking mandatory retirement to pension eligibility, 65% of respondents in union households opposed the practice.”

“There are about 17,000 British Columbians aged 65 and in the workforce that will be forced to retire this year if the Government doesn’t move quickly,” Clift said. “When the Legislature reconvenes in two weeks, British Columbians expect to see the necessary changes made to the Human Rights Act.”

The poll of 503 BC adults was conducted for CUFA/BC by the Mustel Group between January 3rd  and 10th. The margin of error is +/- 4.5% for the total sample and +/- 8.6% for the union households sample. The results are considered reliable 19 times out of 20. More information is available at the website, www.AbilityNotAge.ca

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CUFA/BC represents 4,200 university professors, instructors, academic librarians and other academic staff at SFU (Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey campuses), UBC (Vancouver and Kelowna campuses), UNBC (Prince George, Fort St. John, Terrace and Quesnel campuses), UVic and Royal Roads University.

For further information, please call Robert Clift, Executive Director, at (604) 817-1649.

Charts Displaying Poll Results (PDF)
Tables Displaying Poll Results (PDF)