Age: a factor for discrimination in Canadian companies

Today, elderly people are still discriminated against due to their age in the professional sphere. This is the observation made by the “Second wind: the changing nature of retirement” study, conducted among 5230 Canadians.


The recent survey “Second wind: the changing nature of retirement” conducted online and sponsored by Ceridian and CARP, revealed that 57% of elderly employees would like to keep their job, under certain conditions. But things are not made easy for them by Canadian companies, who are struggling to support their continued employment. For Ross Mayot, Vice President and General Manager of the CARP Association, that advocates for jobs for seniors, this is a clear sign of discrimination due to age. “This discrimination against older workers certainly does exist, even though we think we have came a long way in this area”, he explains. “Seniors suffer from a preconceived notion that they are too old to keep up and they cost the company more than they bring it.”

Nothing more than presumptions, Ross Mayot believes: “employers must realize that the age of an elderly person in no way defines their potential, does not deny their willingness to learn and adapt, and does not necessarily mean an increase in the cost of employee benefits”. According to him, it is high time that employers take the necessary measures to ensure that seniors remain motivated, productive and in good health, to maintain a positive work culture and for the success of the company.


Promoting well-being


According to the survey, to retain seniors and maintain their competitiveness, Canadian employers must be ready to address their major concern, which is well-being and health, and adapt their strategy accordingly. The extension of the social benefits offer beyond retirement age is a first step desired by 48% of people interviewed. The Employees Assistance Program (EAP) is another, according to the study.

“These programs can reassure workers of mature age, who remain concerned by the deterioration of their health and by the exhaustion of a life's savings”, remarks Estelle Morrison, Vice President of Clinical Services and Well-Being of Ceridian. She adds: “with the EAP, employees and their families benefit from preferential access to resources, expert advice and tools that can help them stay in shape, both physically and mentally, and ensure their financial security”.


More flexibility


The study also demonstrates that elderly people want more flexibility in their working time. This is especially because for many of them the traditional schedules of five days a week from 9 to 5 cannot apply. The situation affects a portion of those who work beyond retirement age. So 46% of seniors want more flexible working conditions, flexible hours and shared working time.

Another desire expressed by 41% of respondents: introduction of phased retirement options, in order to meet their desire for balance between work and private life. Implementing mentoring programs within work is also desired by 29.9% of those interviewed. Finally, the establishment of a training program on generational differences and of a strategy to eliminate discrimination on the basis of age in the workplace is highly desired by 24.8% of them.

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