Government misleads: motivated by bottom line, not human rights
The McGuinty government today introduced Bill 211, entitled the Ending Mandatory Retirement Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005. In the Legislature, Employment Minister Chris Bentley said:
Freedom Party of Ontario Leader, Paul McKeever, says the government, with the opposition's assistance, is engaging in a political fraud: that the public is being misled so that they will embrace legislation designed to load government costs onto the backs of employees and private sector employers.
"Despite the fact that Bill 211 repeals mandatory retirement ages only for some public sector employees and appointees, Minister Bentley today made a public announcement about Bill 211 at a private sector employer, Home Depot. That decision was part of the government's intentional misleading of the public with respect to this bill. A private sector employer was chosen in order to help the government falsely imply that the law currently imposes mandatory retirement at age 65 for private sector employees and to falsely imply that Bill 211 will remove mandatory retirement in the private sector. The fact of the matter is that there is no law that makes private sector retirement mandatory at age 65, and this bill nowhere repeals any such law.
"In the private sphere, the only thing that Bill 211 actually does is introduce a new human rights violation: dismissal on the basis of age for a person aged 65 or over.
"Why is the government introducing this legislation? Why did the PC party introduce the same legislation under Ernie Eves? Why do the PC MPPs support the legislation now? Because it is expected that, by keeping Ontarians working later into their lives, they will not draw on social services as much. Among other things, seniors will be covered by group benefit plans with their private sector employers, and will be less dependent upon financial assistance from the government. And, of course, this is all facilitating the inevitable federal raising of the age for collection of CPP payments.
"What will be the effect on private sector employers? A multitude of additional Human Rights complaints, more business-killing legal bills, less freedom to hire and fire on the basis of business needs instead of political whim. This bill introduces more interference with freedom of contract when, for both moral and economic reasons, there should be less interference.
"What will be the benefit for Ontario employees? It is hard to imagine any. Most human rights complaints are settled: over 70% of them are settled even before an investigation has occurred. Most of them result in chump-change settlements in the $7,300.00 range, as mediators with resource concerns warn Claimants that only tens of complaints actually get a hearing each year; most, after a multi-year delay. Because of the OHRC's relatively tiny budget and huge caseload, those complainants that do not settle are unlikely to get a hearing, so they are likely to get nothing at all and to remain dismissed. And, if they do get a hearing, it could easily be five years after the time of the dismissal, if the complainant has not passed away by that time.
"The government, with the assistance of the opposition, is committing a political fraud for government cost-cutting ends. They are seeking public support for a bill that will load government hardship onto the backs of employees and private sector employers alike, but they are selling the bill as a noble solution to a mandate that, in fact, does not exist. It is disgraceful, as is the alleged opposition's equally greasy support of the bill."
Ontario Human Rights Commission: Reality Check
According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission's 2003-2004 Annual Report:
media release has been sent to all Ontario MPPs
For further information, contact Freedom Party's leader, Paul McKeever:
Freedom Party of