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Vol 39  No 12
Apr. 5, 2007



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Mandatory retirement out to pasture
by Shannon O’Dea Dawson

Following a 40-year career in mathematics with Memorial, Dr. Peter Booth decided to retire this past year and has no regrets. He enjoys travelling, spending time with his wife, children, grandchildren and friends, and continuing his life’s work in researching the homotopy theory. Topology is a type of geometry and includes the study of every conceivable shape of object in every conceivable number of dimensions. In homotopy theory, experts use algebraic methods to study such topics.

Dr. Booth acknowledges the importance of individual freedom to decide when is the best time to retire, and that’s precisely what Canada’s new legislation provides. The Human Rights Code was amended to prevent age discrimination beyond age 65 effective May 27, 2007. On Feb. 1, 2007, Memorial’s Board of Regents received a report from the university’s administration and authorized the end of mandatory retirement and the creation of appropriate modifications to policies, collective agreements, Memorial University Pensions Act, and more.

In short, the university will no longer assume that employees will retire at age 65 and any employee planning to retire will need to notify university officials of their intention, keeping appropriate notice periods in mind.

Memorial will secure short-term financial planning services for employees who are making the decision to retire or continue working. A retirement planning seminar was held on Feb. 21, 2007, to review pertinent pension plan and group benefits, insurance, CPP and OAS, Memorial University Pensioners’ Association, and financial planning. While additional seminars are planned for the future, it is best to contact Memorial’s Benefits Office at 737-7406 or at your earliest opportunity for a private consultation. The provincial Department of Justice can be referenced also at or by calling 1-709-729-2889.

While Dr. Booth looked forward to and enjoyed each of his 14,600 working days, he’s equally pleased to be free from obligation and schedule. He can work on his own time, continuing to solve problems which have puzzled the mathematical community for decades.

One hundred years ago, a male’s life expectancy was 48 and women’s was 51. Now the average is 75 years for men and 80 years for women.

“Memorial welcomes those who wish to continue contributing, regardless of age, to do so,” said Lisa Hollett, director of Memorial’s Department of Human Resources. “Age 65 is becoming the new 40.”


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