The problem of Canada’s aging workforce is being considered a renewed priority within the government, according to documents received this month by the Globe and Mail.
According to internal government documents, Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has been holding “closed-door talks” and “policy retreats” to address the considerable financial burden the health care will be facing shortly as the baby-boomer generation approaches retirement age.
Officials are concerned that not enough workers are entering the country’s labour market to generate the tax revenues needed to sustain Canada’s public services.
“The oldest baby-boomers start to turn 65 in 2011, meaning the dependency ratio will start to increase significantly in a matter of months,” said a government report last November, which contained a number of “alarming statistics” which predict that intense economic pressures will be felt in the near future, rather than years from now.
A new report released last week by Statistics Canada shows that if current trends continue, within ten years one-quarter of the country’s workers will be over the age of 55. Furthermore, by 2031 there is likely to be less than one worker for every retiree. Thirty years ago in 1981, there were six workers for each retiree in Canada.
The government has already publicly touted several strategies to these issues, such as raising the retirement age and providing initiatives to increase fertility rates. Another popular suggestion is to raise immigration levels – particularly for young workers whose skills are most needed. However, critics remain wary of the effectiveness of these potential “solutions” saying that they may not be enough to counter the pressures on the country’s healthcare system.
Sources: Globe and Mail