years-to-retirement

Statistics Canada data shows Canadian workers are retiring later today than they did in the 1990s. (CBC)

Canadians are putting off their retirement plans and working at least two years later across all education levels, Statistics Canada says.

Rick Rayman is part of a growing group of workers who has put off his retirement from the workforce. When he gave up his private dental practice, he took on a teaching job at the University of Toronto's school of dentistry. He's in his 60s and has no plans to retire.

"I want to keep on doing it until I don't have that desire … that drive … that fire," he says. "I hope that never happens."

Rayman isn't alone. Statistics Canada released data Tuesday revealing that Canadians are increasingly likely to put off their retirement plans and are now working at least two years longer than workers did just a decade ago. 

According to an analysis the agency published, Canadian workers are retiring later today than they did in the 1990s. And the trend holds true across all education levels.

Among those with less than a high school diploma, a 50-year-old worker in 2009 could expect to work another 14.3 years before retiring, Statistics Canada said. That's two years longer than the same worker could have expected to work in 1998.

The gap widens for those with more education. A 50-year-old worker with a post-secondary degree could expect to work another 14.6 years in 2009, up from just 12 years in 1998.

So workers are staying on at least two more years, on average, than they used to before retiring.

Life expectancies differ

The analysis also found that less-educated workers aged 50 have a life expectancy after retirement of 18 years, compared with 21 years among workers with a post-secondary education.

Those calculations include people who leave the workforce against their will, for reasons such as being laid off, illness or having to care for a family member. Such "involuntary retirements" make up about one-quarter of all retirees, Statistics Canada says.

Add it all up, and the agency says the average 50-year-old worker across all demographic groups could expect to work longer than a counterpart in 1998.