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Northwest Territories

An overview of how Canadian jurisdictions approach discrimination based on "family status"

A high-level overview of how Canadian jurisdictions approach discrimination based on "family status": 

  • It is included as a prohibited ground in relation to employment in each Canadian jurisdiction except New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
  • Saskatchewan defines it as being in a parent-child relationship.
  • Quebec uses the term "civil status".
  • The Northwest Territories has a prohibition on the grounds of "family status" as well as "family affiliation".

(My source was this publication on the Canadian Human Rights Commission's website, which was last updated in early 2009).

Ontario Abolishes Mandatory Retirement and BC and Saskatchewan Appear to Follow Soon

Effective December 12, 2006, mandatory retirement will no longer be generally permissible in Ontario, (as a result of amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code). Employers will, however, still be allowed to enforce mandatory retirement polices if they can show that being younger than 65 (or another designated age) is a bona fide occupational requirement.

As reported in the media on December 2, 2006, Premier Campbell has announced that mandatory retirement in BC will also soon be abolished. Specifically, it is expected that the BC Human Rights Code will be amended in Spring 2007, with the result being that mandatory retirement policies will not be generally permissible in this province.

Similarly, on November 6, 2006 the Saskatchewan Government introduced Bill 9, which will amend the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, with the result that mandatory retirement policies will not be generally permissible in that province if Bill 9 is enacted. However, the amendments would not come into force for one year after Royal Assent.

Mandatory retirement is already not generally permissible in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, PEI, Yukon, the NWT and Nunavut.