Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is promising to make changes to the country’s immigration and retirement policies in order to ensure continued economic prosperity in the coming years.
Speaking this month to an international economic forum in Switzerland, Harper warned that if no changes are made, Canada’s economy will suffer. There is simply not enough labour coming in to offset the costs of an aging population who will need more social programs.
Policy experts are speculating that the upcoming changes will involve raising the retirement age so that citizens would have to work an extra two years before receiving Old Age Security program benefits. The government is expected to announce these proposals this spring.
By 2030, the elderly population in Canada (aged 65 or over) is expected to reach over 9 million, approximately double the current amount. This is expected to raises costs of the Old Age Security program for $36 billion to $108 billion.
Harper also hinted at changes to Canada’s immigration policy to offset these costs. He ensured the crowd that his government’s is intent on prioritizing immigration policies that will address economic and labour needs in the coming years.
“We will ensure that, while we respect our humanitarian obligations and family reunification objectives, we make our economic and labour force needs the central goal of our immigration efforts in the future,” Harper said.
The Prime Minister made reference to Europe’s economic woes, saying that unlike his government, many others seem to no longer consider economic prosperity as one of their top priorities.
Source: Toronto Star