What's your reaction to the news that seniors now outnumber children in Canada?

The greying of Canada: The number of Canadians over age 65 has now surpassed those younger than 15. What does that mean for the future of jobs, healthcare, and the economy?
Listen to the full episode1:53:00

The greying of Canada: The number of Canadians over age 65 has now surpassed those younger than 15.
What does that mean for the future of jobs, healthcare, and the economy?  What are your thoughts on passing a demographic milestone?

With Piya Chattopadhyay on Cross Country Checkup​.


 GUESTS & LINKS

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 DOWNLOAD MP3 (right click, choose 'Save Target/Link As')


INTRODUCTION

Anyone who can count to 65 knew this was coming. We've all known it for years. And for years experts have been working on the implications and the policy changes that might be required, and we'll hear from some of them  today on the program. But this week when Statistics Canada announced that there are now officially more Canadians over the age of 65 than under 15 it still carried a hefty element of surprise. Maybe it's the surprise of reality sinking in?

Baby Boomers have long been the darlings of the demographic set, because they took up so much space and required so much attention. But, they were raised with the nagging knowledge that there were seven working Canadians for every pensioner and in the future, when they retired, there would be only four working Canadians to support them.

Well, the chickens have come home to roost, and the counting has begun.

How many workers does it take to support a pensioner? How much healthcare does a pensioner need? How much money have the boomers saved? Will they work into their 70s and never vacate the labour market? How many good jobs are available to younger people? How  much tax can a worker pay?

There are many questions. And we want to hear some of yours, as well as your answers.

Seniors today are a different bunch from the seniors half-a-century ago when Canada's social safety net was being built. The image we have of retirement today is not the one of shivering in a cold apartment, eating cat food under the glow of a bare lightbulb. Seniors are much healthier these days, and they have more money. Times have changed, but challenges remain.

And one challenge is managing expectations and avoiding falling into thinking about it as one generation pitted against another, in a  competition for scarce resources. It is  not generation warfare. It is people of all ages deciding together how best to go forward into the future, and trying to meet the needs of all.

We want to hear your thoughts, your concerns, and your solutions. In the job market, both better skills training for the young and continuing opportunities for the old are seen as a solution. In healthcare, re-focusing it onto home support is seen as  essential. Some suggest building more housing that puts seniors and students together, both groups that need different kinds of  support but could help each other. The students get subsidized rent in return for chores such as snow shovelling and chaufering.

We want to hear your ideas. What does the greying of Canada mean for the future of healthcare, jobs and our economy?

Our question today: "What's your reaction to the news that seniors now outnumber children in Canada?"

I'm Piya Chattopadhyay.


GUESTS

Mike Moffatt
Professor of business, economics and public policy at the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario.  
Twitter: @MikePMoffatt

Lisa Taylor
President of Challenge Factory, advising businesses on coping with the aging workforce.
Twitter: @changepaths
 

Susan McDaniel
Canada Research Chair in Global Population & Life Course at the University of Lethbridge.
Twitter; @SusanMcDaniel3
 

Paul Kershaw
Population and public health professor at the University of British Columbia and founder of Generation Squeeze.
Twitter: @GenSqueeze
 


LINKS

CBC.ca



National Post



Globe and Mail



Maclean's



Canadian Business



Canadian Chamber of Commerce



iPolitics


New Yorker


TWITTER & EMAIL