Ridout Barron


Proposed business law change challenges age discrimination

Discrimination is a common topic in human rights law, especially legislation related to buying, selling and working. Alberta lawmakers are currently discussing potential business law changes that would restrict any age discrimination that cannot be legally justified. Car rental companies and insurance providers are among the businesses that could be affected by such a change.

Currently, Alberta car rental agencies only rent to drivers over the age of 21. Those between 21 and 24 must pay a young renter fee of approximately $20 per day. Under the proposed business law changes, these companies would have to make a legal argument about the reasons for these restrictions and costs. If they failed to do so, they would have to remove practices that are considered discriminatory.

The new legislation, called the Alberta Human Rights Amendment Act 2017, would bring Alberta in line with other parts of Canada that have similar regulations. The proposed amendments would prevent age discrimination in issues of tenancy, goods, services, accommodation and facilities. This means that seniors-only or adult-only housing will be legally prohibited. Insurers and car rental companies are looking into how their practices align with the amendment, which allows for reasonable and justifiable restrictions under the law.

The proposed legislation was presented in early November. If passed, it will take effect across Alberta on Jan. 1. Those who wish to better understand business law in the province and how it may affect their operations are advised to speak with a lawyer on an ongoing basis to stay up-to-date of new legislation such as this.

Source: Edmonton Journal, "Car rental agencies may need to justify age restrictions under proposed human rights legislation", Clare Clancy, Nov. 3, 2017

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