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December 2022

Getting legal advice on your retirement package

By Employment Law

Retirement can approach people in different ways. Whether it is through an employee’s natural conclusion to their working days, or through a form of pseudo termination by an employer looking to pare down staff, retirement is something that everyone in Manitoba needs to consider no matter what stage of their career they are in. Many people here in Manitoba are starting to contemplate retirement and wondering if their retirement package is fair. It is important for anyone who is facing the prospect of retirement forced or otherwise, to be aware of what they are entitled to. Let’s talk about getting legal advice on your retirement package.

Ever wondered if your retirement package was fair?

When presented with any retirement package, you should review it thoroughly to make sure it includes everything that you are looking for. You may be able to negotiate a better deal. There are a number of factors which will impact what you are entitled to in any retirement factor but age will have the most significant impact on your retirement package. The more experience you have, the more valuable it will be for an employer to keep you on board as long as possible. However, if you’re nearing or already within retirement age, it could work against you if your employer wants to get rid of their obligations as soon as possible by offering a smaller pension payout and other benefits.

If this sounds like something that might happen in your future, then maybe it’s time for some financial planning now so that you can ensure your future is secure regardless of what happens at work later down the road! You could consult with an advisor who can help calculate how much tax-free income from government sources will be available during retirement (i.e., Old Age Security). You can also ask a lawyer to review any contracts regarding wages paid out during periods where no employment was provided and retirement entitlements.


Redundancy is when an employer claims that your position has become redundant and seeks to fundamentally change your position or terminate your employment. Traditionally these situations occur when an employer claims that there is no work which requires the employee. Your employer must follow the correct procedure to dismiss you for redundancy:

  • They must tell you that they intend to make you redundant
  • They must give you information about the redundancy process, including how many people have been selected for redundancy and what the selection criteria was. This must be done in writing and it should be sent within two weeks of making the decision to dismiss people for redundancy.
  • They must offer suitable alternative employment if there are other jobs available at the company or in similar companies and at a similar level as yours. If no suitable alternative employment is available then they will pay out statutory redundancy payments

These conditions can vary widely between different employers and employees.

Retirement Age

Some people might find themselves with no choice but to retire early simply because their employer has laid them off or their company is going through some sort of restructuring process. But others may choose an early exit from work because they want more freedom in life—or maybe they’ve found another job elsewhere and want the opportunity to build a pension/retirement plan at another job while preserving their retirement from their current employer.

Termination Agreements

Some employers may offer termination agreements to employees. A termination agreement is an agreement between an employer and employee to end their employment relationship. The purpose of a termination agreement is to negotiate a package of benefits, such as extra notice or payment in lieu of notice, severance pay, pension benefits and other entitlements under the employment contract.

These agreements are often complex and involve a combination of statutory and common law rules which can influence what an employee is entitled to.

Should you take legal advice?

If you have any questions about your contract, or if you’re not sure whether it is fair and reasonable, ask a lawyer.

You should ask a lawyer to look over your contract. This may be enough to answer some of your questions. Most termination offers will be time sensitive but should include time for the employee to consult with a lawyer. Some termination offers will even include compensation for the costs of consulting with a lawyer.

You can ask a lawyer to review the terms of your package and help you negotiate with your employer if there are things that don’t make sense or are unfair to you (for example, if there is no mention at all of termination pay).

In many cases it makes sense for employees to get their own lawyers as their employer will probably have its own legal counsel available.

If you want to make sure that your retirement package is fair and you’re not being exploited by your employer.

If you’re working and you are contemplating retirement, it’s important to know your rights. You should be able to negotiate a fair package that protects your retirement plan from exploitation by your employer.

Here are some tips on how to do this:

  • It’s important that you understand what a “fair” package is. The best way for employees to determine if their package is fair is through negotiation with their employer and speaking with an expert like a lawyere. A good place to start when negotiating salary packages is by looking at other companies in similar industries and comparing them side-by-side with yours. If there are any discrepancies between what other companies pay their employees, then it may be time for some negotiations!
  • Remember that not everything needs to be negotiated at once—you can always revisit discussions later down the line if needed (or simply revisit them every year).


If you are contemplating your retirement package then it’s important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. You don’t want to be exploited or treated unfairly at this stage in life, so make sure that you are proactive and vigilant in considering your retirement.


Andrew MacDonald is an employment and civil litigation lawyer with Wolseley Law LLP