Forcing professors to retire is unconstitutional: prof
Two University of Regina profs launch legal action to keep jobs
Macleans.ca staff | Jun 21, 2007 | 20:57:04
A former deputy minister who was involved in the negotiations on the 1982 Constitution will now be using it to fight his forced retirement.
Howard Leeson is one of two professors at the University of Regina being forced to retire this month because they are turning 65. Both have launched legal action against their retirements, using the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to argue they are being discriminated against on the basis of age.
Ironically, the university is abolishing forced retirement in November, but won't back down on the decision involving the pair.
Barb Pollock, spokeswoman for the University of Regina, said, "With the hiring and the whole planning process having to take almost a year to do, it isn't that we can move the cruise ship all that quickly."
Both professors say they are suing the university out of principle, not because they need the jobs. Leeson has already found work as a researcher at another organization. "We're really quite confident that something will happen right away, but if it doesn't, it could go on for a while. Ultimately I guess we're hoping that the university will come to its senses," Leeson said.
In 2005, the University of Toronto reached a deal with its faculty association allowing professors and librarians wishing to work past 65 to phase-in or postpone retirement. Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories ban mandatory retirement.
On Wednesday, Leeson was packing up his office, including papers from the constitutional talks. "There were no minutes of the meeting of the first ministers, they were all in camera, so I just have my personal minutes," he said.
-with a report from CP