NEW this season...

SHIFT_mainimage.jpgThe numbers tell it all: from 1956 to 2006, the median age of the Canadian population went from 27.2 years to 38.9, a gain of more than 10 years over a span of half a century.

By 2056, the median age is expected to reach 46.9 years, almost 20 years higher than it was in 1956. We are getting older. We are also marrying less, are more ethnically diverse. Aboriginal Canadians are moving to the cities in increasing numbers. English speaking Quebeckers are abandoning the rural in favour of the urban. There are seismic demographic shifts happening in Canada, and each of them is changing our work, our health, our families and our politics.

This season The Current examines the Canadian Shift and asks if we are ready for the changes. This major project will tell the stories of individuals who are caught in the shift through documentaries and interviews. We will take you to Canada's oldest and youngest cities. And we will go beyond our borders to China, India and Africa as the demographic shifts ripple throughout the world.  


Arlene Weintraub, author of Selling the Fountain of Youth (Nov 8/10)

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The Silencing of St. Andrew's

Saint Andrew's church in La Tuque, Quebec has stood for a century. But now there aren't enough English-speaking Anglicans to keep it going.

Listen to CBC's Elias Abboud's documentary, The Silencing of St. Andrew's, about how the closure of this church is symbolic of what's happening to anglophone communities in rural Quebec.

To view pictures from this documentary, click here

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Baby Bump in Quebec (Oct 25/10)

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The Quebec Government is pulling out all the stops for parents these days. If you're a working couple with two children in Ottawa, you'll probably pay 80 to 100 dollars-a-day for childcare. Across the river in Gatineau, Quebec ... you'd pay 14-dollars-a-day. You'd get better parental leave too. There's even a special leave just for Dads. And as of last month, if you're infertile, the Quebec Government will cover the cost of In Vitro Fertilization.

The Quebec Government has spent 13 years overhauling its Family Policy. The goal has been to boost two demographics ... new births and working women. As part of our project Shift, our Quebec Producer Susan McKenzie decided to take a look at whether the program has worked  and whether it's sustainable. We aired her documentary, Baby Bump.

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Older Parents/Egg Freezing (Oct 20/10)

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The average age of women giving birth in Canada was 29.7 years in 2004, a slight increase from 29.6 in 2003. This continues a long-established upward trend and we're asking what does it mean for children and for society to have older parents. We also look at the options healthy women are taking to delay pregnancy such as freezing their eggs.

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The Perfect Martini (Oct 12/10)

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Minnie McCurdy is 103 years old. Steven Bickerstaffe is half her age - young enough to be her grandson. And they've been best friends for more than three decades.

Listen to The Perfect Martini - a documentary that proves that friendship truly does come in all forms:

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Cape Dorset Stone Cut Prints (Oct 8/10)

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As part of our project Shift, we have a documentary about how changes are being reflected in the art produced in the Arctic ... particularly the iconic art of the Cape Dorset stone cut prints. The small community of Cape Dorset has produced world class artists for 50 years. They brought a raw description of the life of the Inuit, as well as the animals and spirits of the Arctic.

Now, the themes and styles are changing. And not everyone is happy about it. Peter Sheldon is a CBC reporter in Iqaluit, Nunavut. He has been documenting those changes at the West Baffin Co-op in Cape Dorset. His documentary is called, Etched in Stone.

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Citizens of Nowhere (Oct 7/10)

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Ian Goldring is a Canadian citizen living abroad. But thanks to changes to Canada's Citizenship Act, he is unable to pass on his citizenship to his 15-month-old daughter, Chloe. As a result, she has no official nationality and is unable to travel anywhere.

Anna Maria Tremonti talks to Ian Goldring and we examine the effect the changes to Canada's Citizenship Act are having on other Canadians and their children.

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The Caregiver (Oct 6/10)

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As part of our project Shift, we have a documentary on the story of Susan Bosak, her brother Douglas and her husband Brian Puppa. Together, they work on The Legacy Project, which teaches about aging.

When Susan's father went through his own sudden illness, she brought him and her mother home to live when her. She presents her story in a documentary called The Caregiver by The Current's Documentary Editor Dick Miller.

To learn more about about Susan's story go to The Legacy Project's website.

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America's Great Migration (Oct 6/10)

The_Great_Migration - web.jpg Between 1915 and 1970, about six million African-Americans left the south for New York City, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Chicago along with west-coast cities such as Los Angeles and Oakland. It's known as The Great Migration. When it began, 90 per cent of black Americans lived in the south and mainly in rural areas. By the time it was over, nearly half lived in the North and mostly in big cities.

It was a movement that re-made American society and one that Isabel Wilkerson calls "the biggest under-reported story of the 20th century." In her book The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration. In it, she tells the stories of three African-Americans who were part of that migration. Isabel Wilkerson joined us from Atlanta, Georgia.

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The History of Old Age (Oct 4/10)

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Pat Thane, author of The Long History of Old Age and The History of Old Age talks about the concerns we are seeing today about our aging population (the demographic time bomb) and how these concerns have the same panic that occurred both in the 1930s/1940s when one researcher predicted England's population would be 4.4 million by the 1970s and again in the 80s.

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Super-Centenarians (Sept 21/10)

Stephen Coles has spent 15 years studying the tissues of people who live over the age of 110 because something in the genetic makeup of super-centenarians has enabled them to avoid diseases. While some feel this is a great way to learn how to prevent disease, medical ethicists have some concerns.

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IVF in Quebec (Sept 16/10)

ivf quebec.jpg The Quebec government has decided to spend about 25 million dollars this year to cover the cost of several fertility treatments. The goal is to increase the province's birth rate, something the government says is crucial to the province's future. But Quebec's College of Physicians, as well as other health professionals say the money would be better spent fixing the province's already overburdened health care system, not adding new costs for services that many say are not essential.

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David Myles (Sept 16/10)

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As part of our letters segment, we have a story about a young musician who experienced a demographic shift of his own, all because of one song. David Myles was in Fredericton.

We ended our letters segment with a little bit of David Myles' song, When it Comes My Turn.

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AIDS in Saskatchewan (Sept 15/10)

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There is a grim reality of HIV/AIDS rates among young aboriginal women in Saskatchewan and one young woman who's determined not to be just another statistic. Meet Krista Shore, in 2006 she was diagnosed with HIV. With a drug addiction and her children in care, she reached out for help and changed her life.

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Saskatoon Remote Day Two (Sept 14/10)

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Day two in Saskatoon and today we focus on Saskatchewan's large aboriginal population, which makes up a disproportionate percentage of the province's population of prison inmates, gang members and high school dropouts. Meet a retired priest working to keep young aboriginals off the streets, off drugs and out of gangs.

Listen to Day Two of our Saskatoon Remote
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Saskatoon Remote Day 1 (September 13/10)

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The Current heads to Saskatoon to check out the changes the city is going through because of a booming economy and a growing population. Anna Maria pays a visit to a bison farm north of Prince Albert, where a small group of farmers are trying to revitalize the province's shrinking French-speaking population.

Listen to Day One of our Saskatoon Remote
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Photos from our Saskatoon Remote

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Dr. Peters Diaries (Sept 10/10)

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Twenty years ago today, CBC Television put a man named Peter Jepson-Young on the evening news. They brought him back every week and for 111 episodes, he documented his days as he died of AIDS. A lot has changed since then. But a lot has stayed the same. We revisit the Dr. Peter Diaries.

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AIDS Now (Sept 10/10)

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We devote our last half hour to the stories of people living with AIDS ... to find out how our attitudes towards the disease and the ways of treating it have changed in the generation since it first burst into public consciousness.

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Munir Sheikh (Sept 9/10)


Munir Sheikh spent almost 40 years as a civil servant in Ottawa. It's hardly the kind of work that makes you a household name ... unless you end your career by resigning from Statistics Canada at the height of the controversy over the mandatory long-form census.

We talk to Munir Sheikh about the importance of good data and why he felt he had to resign his post.

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Centenarians (Sept 8/10)

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There are about 6,000 people in Canada over the age of 100 today and that number is expected to triple over the next twenty years, making it the fastest growing demographic age group.

The growing ranks of centenarians in Canada is worth celebrating, but also worth some sober thought. We bring together a panel to discuss our social policies and outlook towards the elderly and whether they are out of step with reality.

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The Demographer's Dilemma (Sept 7/10)

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Noted economist and demographer David Foot says demographics explain two thirds of everything. The study of populations is a powerful forecasting tool that should help governments and individuals plan for the future. But is anyone really listening to what the demographers are saying?

Our Documentary Editor, Dick Miller brings us The Demographer's Dilemma, which examines the challenges of tracking the trajectory of  humankind.

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