Canadian workforce aging: StatsCan

As baby boomers retire, the impact is being felt across all sectors in Canada, but some areas will suffer more

Mario ToneguzziCanada’s workforce is clearly aging, as is the country’s population.

According to a report released on Thursday by Statistics Canada, in 1996 there were 2.7 workers aged 25 to 34 for every worker aged 55 and older. By 2018, the ratio declined to 1.0.

“The aging of the workforce is mostly the result of the large cohort of baby boomers who are entering their retirement years. This has resulted in a larger share of people aged 55 and older in the labour force than has previously been the case,” said the federal agency.

“From 1996 to 2018, the proportion of workers aged 55 and older almost doubled, from 10 per cent to 21 per cent of the workforce. The proportion of older workers increased in all major occupations over this period. The aging of the workforce, however, was not uniform across occupations for a variety of reasons.

“In some occupations, the impact of an aging workforce was moderated by the entry of women in large numbers in recent years. For example, among general practitioners and family physicians in 2016, the proportion of men aged 55 and older (38 per cent) was double that of women (19 per cent), resulting from faster growth among women general practitioners in the 20-year period leading up to 2016.”

StatsCan said health care and social assistance was the largest industry in Canada in 2016, accounting for 2.3 million or 13 per cent, of all workers and this industry also had one of the most rapid growth rates in the number of workers from 1996 to 2016 (+68 per cent).

“Despite the rising demand for health-care services, workers who are providing health care to an increasingly older population are themselves aging. For instance, among registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses – the largest occupation related to health care – about one in five was aged 55 and older in 2016, compared with less than one in 10 in 1996. In 1996, there were 4.5 female nurses aged 25 to 34 for each female nurse aged 55 and older. By 2016, that ratio had declined to 1.6,” explained the federal agency.

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