Pension, retirement and insurance plans

Pension plans and other types of employment benefits can be of significant value to employees. Employers should be aware that retirement, insurance or pension plans that differentiate or deny benefits because of disability, same-sex partnerships or other protected grounds may contravene the Alberta Human Rights Act.

Section 7(2) of the Act prohibits discrimination related to retirement, group insurance or pension plans on the grounds of race, religious belief, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, ancestry, place of origin, source of income, family status or sexual orientation.

Age and marital status are not protected grounds in pension plans and employee insurance plans offered by employers. This means that organizations can opt out of providing employees over a specified age a pension plan and/or insurance plan. Similarly, an organization may offer different pension or insurance plans to employees who are single as opposed to married.

Questions about discrimination in this area should be addressed on an individual basis because of the complex nature of this area of law. Contact the Commission for more information.

Revised: December 16, 2009

 


The Alberta Human Rights Commission is an independent commission of the Government of Alberta.

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