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? What are your thoughts on passing a demographic milestone?
With Piya Chattopadhyay on Cross Country Checkup.
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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.
- More Canadians are 65 and over than under age 15, StatsCan says
- Models of aging: How Japan, Denmark, Germany are riding out their senior wave
- Unemployment: Older workers waiting for the revolution, by Don Pittis
- Home Depot's oldest employee, turning 91, tells CBC the secret to a long life
- Not-so-empty nesters: Millennial parents putting financial future in jeopardy
- Millennials not as selfish as some people think (Jun. 17, 2015)
- Millennials have more spending power than parents did - but also more debt (May 15, 2014)
- Average student debt difficult to pay off, delays life milestones (Mar. 11, 2014)
- Youth unemployment: By the numbers (Jun.12, 2013)
- Tuition debt carried by many parents to help kids (Sept.27, 2013)
- Baby boomers' health demands will pose challenges (May 29, 2012)
- Canadian seniors outnumber children for the first time in recorded history, StatsCan says
- Why the world economy as we know it is about to be turned on its head, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
- A young person's lament: $36,000 in salary, by Matt Gurney (May 17, 2012)
- Earth at seven billion (Aug. 13, 2011)
Globe and Mail
- For first time, Canadian seniors outnumber children: Statscan
- Canada shows its age as seniors outnumber children for first time
- Boomers' impact on our health care system has just begun, by André Picard (subscriber only)
- Health care may tarnish golden years, baby boomers fear, by André Picard
- World's population to reach 11.2 billion by end of the century, UN says
- Seniors and the generation spending gap, by Tamsin McMahon (Sept. 6, 2014)
- Students expect "shockingly" unrealistic paycheques, by Josh Dehaas (Nov. 1, 2011)
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
- Aging population is a root cause of many inequalities, but not all, by Paul Kershaw (Oct 1, 2014)
- The real war over inequality isn't between old and young, by Linda McQuaig (Sep 24, 2014)
- Conference Board report warns of intergenerational income inequality, by BJ Siekierski (Sep 23, 2014)