More Canadians are over the age of 65 than under 14 — a profound demographic change that is creating significant challenges for the country’s finances and affecting Canada’s economy, the Senate Committee on National Finance said in a report.
To counter these effects, the committee is urging the federal government to adopt a national seniors strategy to control the rising costs associated with an aging population while ensuring elderly Canadians get the care they need. It’s one of four recommendations the committee included in its report, Getting Ready: For a New Generation of Active Seniors.
- The median age of Canadians is rising: it was 24.1 years in 1923; 40.2 in 2013 and is on track to reach 46.5 in 2063.
- Canadians are living longer. Life expectancy is 82 years.
- Canadians are having fewer children. The fertility rate is 1.6 births per woman.
- Canada’s aging population could increase health-care costs by 1% a year, or $2 billion annually.
- Canada’s aging population is unevenly spread across provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia’s over-65 population is expected to exceed 30% by 2038. Nunavut and the Northwest Territories will be below 15%.
“As Canada’s population ages, a national seniors strategy offers a hopeful plan for providing the health care and other services that Canadian senior citizens need and deserve. There will be opportunities for younger Canadians who will find work in the growing field of elder care.”
- Senator Percy Mockler, Chair of the committee
“Canada’s senior citizen population is composed of people who worked hard their entire lives. These people contributed to the country’s growth and success. Our federal government must lead in the care of these Canadians, in their aging years. This generation has no wish to be a burden on anyone.”
- Senator Anne C. Cools, Deputy Chair of the committee