Laronde v. Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission of New Brunswick, 2007 NBCA 10
Is the termination of long-term benefits when disabled workers reach age 65 contrary to s. 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
An injured worker was receiving long-term disability benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act, R.S.N.B. 1973, c. W-13. Under section 38.2(5) of the Act, benefits end at age 65. After turning 65, the injured worker’s benefits were terminated and he appealed. The WHSCC Appeals Tribunal denied his appeal and he appealed to the New Brunswick Court of Appeal. Both in front of the Appeals Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, the injured worker argued that termination of benefits at age 65 constitutes discrimination on the basis of age under section 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court of Appeal applied the test set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in Law v. Canada, 2002 SCC 84, and found that section 38.2(5) of the Act does not offend section 15 of the Charter. The Court found that it was realistic to presume that a worker would retire at some age, and that age 65 was selected based on recognized retirement patterns and not stereotypical attitudes.