IESOP: Independence and Economic Security of the Older Population

Abstract of Research Paper No. 7
Aging and Work in Canada: Firm Policies
by Victor W. Marshall and Joanne Gard Marshall

Few Canadian firms have explicit policies dealing with the aging of their workforces, other than pension policies geared to a conventional retirement age. However, other firm policies have unanticipated consequences that apply differentially to older and younger workers. This paper reviews several relevant firm practices used in Canada, including pension and benefits practices, training policies and programs, and work and family practices. The most dramatic firm practice that has an impact on the older worker is restructuring through downsizing the workforce by means of retirement incentives and layoffs. We introduce the issue by considering available national-level Canadian data, and then consider five case studies representing different configurations of firm practices. These cases are: Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, NOVA Corporation, Slater Steels, Bell Canada, and the garment industry in Montreal. Both management and employee level data are presented. We argue the importance of organizational latitude in establishing firm-based policies that dramatically change the nature of the life course in Canada.

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Last updated: Dec 16, 1997.