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Age discrimination (brochure)

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Have you ever heard …

“Are you sure you can handle this job? It takes a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and we are looking for someone with career potential.”

“You don't need this training program. At your age, what would the benefit be?”

“We’re looking for a more mature candidate to handle this job”

“Students are noisy and unreliable tenants.”

Comments like these may show ageism – which means making assumptions based on labels and attitudes about age. Young people and older persons can experience ageism. Ageism also results from looking at and designing society based on the needs of either younger or older people, without looking for ways to include to all people, regardless of age.

You can face discrimination at any time in your life, and certain age groups tend to face different kinds of discrimination.

You are protected from age discrimination

The Ontario Human Rights Code protects people from discrimination under the ground of age. The Code defines age as 18 years or older. However, persons age 16 or older are also protected from discrimination in housing if they are not living with their parents. This means that people cannot discriminate against you because of your age where you work or live, or when providing services.

Some special programs and benefits, such as seniors’ discounts or youth employment programs, deal with genuine age-related needs. Outside of these types of programs, it may be age discrimination when you are treated unfairly because of your age.

As a person over 18:

You have the right to be offered the same chances in employment as everyone else. You cannot be denied a job, training or a promotion, or forced to retire, because of your age. With very few exceptions, mandatory retirement is not allowed Ontario.

You have the right to the same level of services as everyone else, such as medical treatment and other health care.

If you are an older person, you can expect landlords or housing providers to adapt living spaces or modify housing policies (for example, to allow you to transfer to a more suitable unit) to meet your age-related needs unless it would be an undue hardship.

As an employer:

  • You cannot refuse to hire, train or promote people because of their age.
  • Do not unfairly target older workers, or other age groups, when it comes to reducing staff or reorganizing.
  • You must make sure that your workplace is free from discrimination, is inclusive, and respects and supports the needs of all its workers, including older employees.

As a provider of services to the public:

  • You cannot refuse either directly or indirectly to serve people based on age.
  • You must meet the needs of older persons. For example, some people may need more of your time or need accommodation, in places like doctors’ offices, stores, or on buses or subways.
  • You cannot treat younger persons differently (for example, in malls, movie theatres, etc.) because of assumptions or stereotypes about young people’s maturity, responsibility or behaviour.

As a landlord or housing provider:

  • You cannot evict older tenants because they are paying lower rent.
  • You cannot refuse to rent to younger people because you assume they won’t be good tenants.
  • You may be responsible for making changes to make housing more accessible for older people. This includes changes like installing ramps, visual fire alarms and doorbells, different sized door handles or lower counters.

For more information

Policy on Discrimination Against Older Persons Because of Age

To make a human rights complaint – called an application – contact the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario at:

Toll Free: 1-866-598-0322
TTY Toll Free: 1-866-607-1240

If you need legal help, contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre at:

Toll Free: 1-866-625-5179
TTY Toll Free: 1-866-612-8627


PDF icon Age discrimination - brochure 370.46 KB