Significant (and lengthy) interim decision about the automatic elimination of health and dental benefits for those employees who turn 65 years of age.

Alison, June 18, 2018

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”) has issued a significant (and lengthy) interim decision about the automatic elimination of health and dental benefits for those employees who turn 65 years of age. The automatic elimination is permitted by the Human Rights Code in conjunction with the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”). In a case involving a unionized teacher, whose benefits were automatically cut off once he turned 65, the HRTO’s Associate Chair, Yola Grant, determined that the Code section, read in conjunction with the ESA, is unconstitutional as it violates section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The HRTO made it clear that this only pertained to health and dental benefits, but not long term disability insurance, pension plans and superannuation funds.

This decision will impact most employers, with unionized or non-unionized employees, who provide health and dental benefits only up to age 65. We will wait to see if the case continues to proceed before the HRTO on its merits and/or if there is a judicial review of this interim decision. There certainly will be changes coming on this issue.

Talos v. Grand Erie District School Board, 2018 HRTO 680

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