Victor Catano (President's Column, Bulletin, Feb. 2004) has raised some critical issues concerning faculty employment. These include the separation of teaching and research, the hiring of contract professors and the option of ending mandatory retirement to help alleviate the looming shortage of qualified teaching faculty.
Professor Catano clearly sets forth the case for abolishing mandatory retirement, including discrimination on the basis of age and the economic implications for some, particularly women. He proposes a flexible retirement policy that allows for early retirement as well as employment after age 65.
Our own prime minister has by example and in public statements called for an end to forced retirement. The age for retirement in Ontario is 65. Mandatory retirement can occur because the Human Rights Code only covers people between the ages of 18 to 65. For obvious reasons, the Code must be changed and this requires an act of the provincial legislature.
The Ontario government is considering ending the practice of mandatory retirement. Now would be the time for CAUT to add its voice and its resources to lobby for change to the provincial law.
The CAUT web site includes a Policy Statement on Retirement, approved by CAUT Council in November 2002 (www.caut.ca/english/about/ policy/retirement.asp). Professor Catano's message is entirely consistent with this policy. There are many who have been forced to retire, including us, who wish all of the provisions contained in this policy statement could be instituted, and the sooner the better.
Adjunct Professor (Post-Retirement), Medicine, University of Ottawa
Professor Emerita, History, Carleton University