Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

Air Canada

Timothy Stake/CNW Group

Air Canada must reinstate two pilots who want to return to work and fly beyond the collective agreement's retirement age of 60, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled.

George Vilven, now 67, and Neil Kelly, now 65, allege that they were unfairly forced to retire from Air Canada at 60.

The tribunal said Monday that the two men's return to the cockpit will be subject to retraining, a current pilot licence and "a valid medical certificate showing that they are fit to fly a commercial aircraft under the applicable Transport Canada medical standards."

Story continues below advertisement

The tribunal rejected the pair's request for $20,000 each for pain and suffering, but said "lost income" should be paid retroactive to Sept. 1, 2009, until the reinstatement date, with rights that place Mr. Kelly at No. 5 and Mr. Vilven at No. 751 on the pilots' seniority list.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the Montreal-based carrier is "studying the decision. We will continue to comply with the law and regulations governing our industry."

Mr. Vilven welcomed the reinstatement ruling. "I'm going to be popping the champagne cork," he said in an interview, adding that he's also rooting for other retired Air Canada pilots who are itching to fly again, saying the carrier's mandatory retirement age of 60 will continue to be challenged.

Monday's decision is the latest development in the long-running case of alleged age discrimination, in which a group called the Fly Past 60 Coalition backed the two men in their fight against Air Canada and the union representing the airline's pilots.

Raymond Hall, a lawyer and retired Air Canada pilot who heads the coalition, said there are nearly 150 other retired pilots seeking to fly again, but he cautioned that Monday's ruling is specific to Mr. Vilven and Mr. Kelly.

"There is no legal precedent established by this case, but a principle has been set and perhaps other cases will be able to rely on the principle to help reach future decisions," he said.

Mr. Hall said Air Canada lags most other global carriers, noting that the International Civil Aviation Organization allows a pilot aged 60 to 65 to be in the cockpit on overseas flights, as long as the other pilot is under 60.

Story continues below advertisement

On an appeal by the Air Canada Pilots Association and the airline, the Federal Court of Canada is slated to begin a four-day hearing on Nov. 22 into the tribunal's 2009 interpretation of the Canadian Human Rights Act and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, as it relates to the pilots' retirement rights.

The association said in a statement in July that it "believes the tribunal erred at law by ignoring Supreme Court of Canada decisions which found it acceptable for employers and employees to determine a retirement age through the collective bargaining process."

Association president Paul Strachan said Monday that a recent internal survey of pilots by the union showed that 82 per cent of the respondents favoured keeping the retirement age at 60 or younger.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies