June 6, 2010
Mandatory retirement by age 65 has been an integral part of the University of Prince Edward Island’s terms of employment since 1995. Since that time, mandatory retirement has benefitted the overall University community by facilitating workforce renewal, and providing an effective tool for human resources and financial planning.
Following official complaints by three UPEI employees, the PEI Human Rights Commission conducted seven days of hearings in October 2009. The Commission released a ruling in February 2010 that our mandatory retirement policy is discriminatory. As anticipated, the Commission has now issued an Order to the University on the issues of remedies, damages, and costs. This Order was received by UPEI on June 4, 2010. See details on the Order here.
UPEI intends to fully comply with the Order. The three employees will be reinstated immediately and will be compensated for lost income, as outlined in the Order.
The total cost to the University to implement the Order will be in excess of
$1 million. For comparison purposes, this is double the increase to our government operating grant for Main Campus in 2010-11. In addition, the University will incur an estimated $325,000 a year in ongoing salary and benefit costs associated with reinstatement. These costs are substantial, and will need to be accommodated in this year’s budget.
The UPEI Senior Management Group will be meeting early this week to consider the measures that will be necessary to address this financial challenge. Restrictions on hiring and on discretionary expenditures are anticipated.
An ongoing issue raised by the University throughout the mandatory retirement debate has been the need for a more robust system of performance review for all faculty and staff. In light of the Order, it is imperative that this issue be addressed.
As the full implications of this new reality become clearer, we will keep the campus community informed through this website. This will include periodic updates on the judicial review that was requested by the University following the PEI Human Rights Commission’s February ruling.
VP Finance & Facilities