13 years ago I talked about how many provinces were scrapping mandatory retirement at age 65. Baby boomers and pre-boomers grew up conditioned to believe that, as of your 65th birthday, you cleaned out your work area, handed back the keys, graciously accepted the gold watch and went home to await the pension cheques. By 2003, a half-dozen provinces and the Territories had scrapped mandatory retirement based on age. In Saskatchewan this came into effect in November, 2007 and all provinces were on board by 2009.
It took until the end of 2012 before mandatory retirement based on age was eliminated for employees in federally regulated industries (such as broadcasting). The interesting question is, if employment doesn’t come to an end at 65, then when does it come to its end? I know a few people who have proudly told me they retired at age 50 or even before. I always hope what that means is they stopped working at one thing but then did something else they always wanted to do. Doing nothing productive is incomprehensible to me. I know a few others who are working into their 70’s and happy about it. Good for them. They said scrapping mandatory retirement was about freedom of choice, but the real freedom of choice is when you have enough retirement income available. You retire when you no longer want to work but you want to be able to afford a reasonable lifestyle when no longer working. That could mean freedom 55 or freedom 75.