Age as a protected ground

The Alberta Human Rights Act defines age as “18 years or older.” Individuals under the age of 18 are protected from discrimination based on all of the protected grounds except the ground of age.

The Alberta Human Rights Commission can accept complaints about discrimination experienced by a person under 18 years of age if the alleged discrimination is based on one or more of the protected grounds of race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status and sexual orientation.

A person who is 18 years or older can make a human rights complaint based on age in all of the protected areas:

  • Employment applications or advertisements
  • Employment practices
  • Equal pay
  • Goods, services, accommodation or facilities customarily available to the public (as of January 1, 2018) (referred to as “services” below)
  • Membership in trade unions, employers’ organizations, or occupational associations
  • Statements, publications, notices, signs, symbols or other representations
  • Tenancy (as of January 1, 2018)

While age is a protected ground under the area of services as of January 1, 2018, there are three exceptions that allow specific types of age restrictions to continue without violating the Act: benefits for seniors and minors; seniors-only housing; and existing age-restricted condominiums, co-operative housing units and mobile home sites. For more information about these exceptions, see the January 2018 Notice of Changes to Alberta’s Human Rights Legislation.

Age is prohibited in the area of tenancy, as of January 1, 2018. Age restrictions will not be permitted in rental buildings after January 1, 2018 unless they meet the exception for seniors-only housing. For more information, see the January 2018 Notice of Changes to Alberta’s Human Rights Legislation.

Important information about making a human rights complaint relating to age in the areas of services and tenancy:

  1. The Commission cannot accept complaints on the ground of age in the areas of services and tenancy until the amendments come into force on January 1, 2018.
  2. Only incidents that occur on or after January 1, 2018 will be covered by the new protection.

If you have questions about age as a protected ground, please contact the Commission.

Revised: January 2018


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

Due to confidentiality concerns, the Commission cannot reply to complaints of discrimination by email. Please contact the Commission by phone or regular mail if you have a specific complaint.

You can access information about making FOIP requests for records held by the Commission on our Contact us page.

The Commission will make publications available in accessible formats upon request for people with disabilities who do not read conventional print.