May 9: BEST FROM THE BLOGOSPHEREMay 9, 2022
Canada’s workforce greys as boomers hit the road to retirement
The Canadian workforce is “older than it has ever been,” reports the CBC, citing information from the latest national census.
“More than one in five working adults is now nearing retirement, says Statistics Canada — a demographic shift that will create significant challenges for the Canadian workforce in the coming decade,” reports the network.
There are more people aged 55 to 64 in the workforce than those aged 15 to 24 entering it, the article notes.
And that’s a big change.
“In 1966, there were 200 people aged 15 to 24 for every 100 Canadians aged 55 to 64, but that has now been flipped on its head. In 2021, there were only 81 people aged 15 to 24 for every 100 Canadians in the 55 to 64 age group,” the CBC report continues.
Boomers, the report explains, began retiring around 2011. The fact that so many of us are boomers – retiring ones at that – is “the single most important driver of Canada’s aging population trend,” the CBC notes.
It’s expected that the number of folks aged 85 and over will triple by 2051, with one quarter of the population being over 65 by that date.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, Canada’s fertility rate hit an “an all-time low of 1.4 children per woman,” the CBC report adds, citing Statistics Canada data. There are six million young people under 15 in the country compared to seven million of us who are 65 and older.
This greying trend raises a number of concerns.
First, the article says, the traditional “transfer of knowledge” from older workers to younger ones won’t be easy to achieve if there is a shortfall of young folks entering the workforce.
Next – a question not posed in the article – we have to wonder if this grey wave of retirees will have sufficient retirement savings. The Canada Pension Plan, for example, uses CPP contributions from working Canadians to help pay the pensions of retirees, so a change in the ratio of working to retired Canadians could have consequences on that program. (The CPP Investment Board has set aside a massive contingency fund to deal with this exact problem, so that’s reassuring.)
Third, a point raised in the CBC video that links to the article, is the cost to society of looking after all those older folks, particularly as they hit their 80s and beyond. We may see a need for more long-term care spaces or a more determined effort to boost homecare – and both things will carry a future cost.
Younger folks may find that better jobs become more widely available, which is a silver lining to the issue.
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Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.