The City of Toronto is working to combat ageism in the workplace with a new campaign, complete with fake “aging cream” posters.
The campaign launched on Nov. 4 with posters placed throughout the city advertising a cream that would make people “look older.”
On Tuesday, it was revealed that the cream was made up to garner attention and make people aware of stereotypes they may hold of older adults.
“We initially promoted a fictitious product to kind of play on the beauty industry and the promotion of anti-aging products, but then a week later we revealed that the aging cream isn’t real, but ageism in the workplace is,” said Andrea Austen, the manger of seniors services for the City of Toronto.
“We wanted to find a creative way to get people’s attention and start a conversation.”
New posters are now being rolled out, explaining the initiative.
“Ageism is the most socially accepted, normalized and tolerated form of discrimination today,” the city says of the campaign on its website.
“Ageism, like racism and sexism, stems from the assumption that all people of a group (i.e. older people) are the same. Within the workplace, older adults are less likely to be hired, receive training and experience more discrimination than their younger colleagues.”
Austen said with increased longevity and a higher cost of living in Canada, people may continue working past traditional retirement ages and they should be able to do so without discrimination.
“We really would like people to throw away the stereotypes that they have of older workers,” she said.
READ MORE: Too old for your job, too young to stop working. How ageism can scuttle your retirement plans
The campaign, launched with the National Initiative for Care of the Elderly, also included a spoof pop-up booth advertising the fake aging cream.
The cream is called Imagés, an anagram for “ageism.”
As part of the campaign, the city has since posted facts about ageism on its website and tips on how to help combat it in the workplace.
The campaign was launched as a part of the wider Toronto For All initiative, which is aimed at removing all forms of discrimination in the city.