COMPAS Poll/Survey
October 24, 2005

"End Mandatory Retirement" - CEOs

  A Weekly BDO Dunwoody CEO Business Leader Poll by COMPAS in the Financial Post
Business and Finance

CEOs and business leaders take an exceptionally strong, one-sided view of mandatory retirement. By a ratio of 9:1, they want it abolished. Concerned as they are about a policy they view as egregious, the members of the CEO and business leader panel give federal and provincial governments low, failing grades for their leadership on the matter.

Panellists embrace wholeheartedly all but one commonly held reason for terminating mandatory retirement. They feel strongly that it discriminates against asset-poor employees, is outdated in a society where people live longer and do less physical labour than in the past, threatens healthcare, undermines equality and democracy, and weakens our economy.

The brain drain argument is the one pro-abolition reason that a majority do not embrace. They do not believe that talented older Canadians are leaving for the U.S. in large number to be able to work past the age of 65.

While supporting virtually all the reasons for abolishing mandatory retirement, panellists repudiate almost all the reasons for keeping it. The one reason for keeping mandatory retirement that respondents embrace to some degree is the idea that forced retirement allows organizations to bring in new blood.

These are the principal findings from this week’s web survey of CEOs and business leaders conducted by COMPAS for The Financial Post under sponsorship of BDO Dunwoody LLP and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. We acknowledge gratefully the subject matter counsel provided by Bill Robson of the C.D. Howe Institute.

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