Canada’s Changing Demographics and the Work Force

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 12 October 2016

Canada’s Changing Demographics and the Work Force

What has happened to Canada’s demographics over the past 50 years? Over the past fifty years, Canada’s demographics have been fluctuating significantly in terms of age and sex structure. During the mid-twentieth century, the population distribution pyramid was owned by the younger people and youth while the aged were not as highly populated.

Now, the pyramid does not even resemble a pyramid; an increase in life expectancy, and a drop in fertility rates may account for such a drastic and effective transformation, and this sudden drop on the charts represents the large cohorts of the baby boomers, who are now beginning to play, perhaps even a slightly harmful, role in the economic workforce. In terms of statistics, these changes represent well the aging that has taken place in Canada over the past fifty years. Between 1956 and 2006, the median age of the Canadian population went from 27. to 38. 8 years, an increase of more than 10 years over a span of fifty years. By 2056, the median age is expected to reach 46. 9 years, or 20 years more than it was in 1956. In terms of demographics in the work force, during the third quarter of the twentieth century, there were almost 8 adults between 15 and 64 years of age in Canada for each person aged 65 years or over. However, the demographic dependency ratio for seniors in 2006 was just over 5 persons aged 15 to 64 years for each person aged 65 years and over.

This ratio gives an approximation of how many elderly persons there are in relation to the potential pool of workers. During the last twenty-five years, the ratio has gradually yet significantly decreased to its current level. This downward trend could also continue into the future, according to recent population projections by expert analysts. Regardless of the scenario selected, most projections show a continuation of the decline of this indicator of population aging. According to the projections, in the year 2056 there would be only 2. working-age persons for each person aged 65 years or over, an even lower ratio than we are dealing with at the present moment. The Issue of Age Discrimination Age discrimination is defined, technically, as the idea of restricting persons from getting hired, promoted, or discriminated, in a position on the basis of age. It involves adverse work treatment of an employee based on a class or category that the employee belongs to – employees over age 40 – rather than on the employee’s individual merit.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects certain applicants and employees 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment. In fact, any action that an employer takes that adversely affects a disproportionate number of employees over 40 is also age discrimination. Various different types of age discrimination do exist throughout the workforce. It would be sensible to be knowledgeable on one’s rights in terms of age discrimination to ensure that future conflicts as such are avoided. . Denying Employment: Denying ones rights on hiring and employment based on their current age (most cases involve the misjudgement of one’s capabilities due to inexperience and young age) 2. Position-Based Employment: When one is already working for a company and is denied another position, perhaps a promotion, within the company based on their current age. 3. Salary-Based Employment: While it is reasonable to assume that a person with more experience and education will apprehend a higher salary, even for doing nearly the same work as another person, there may be cases where that is not applicable.

Some cases involve the act of paying more to one person while another is doing almost identical work yet is being paid less, yet one person is significantly older or younger than the other. 4. Housing-Based Solutions: This type of age discrimination is different than others, simply because it is not related to employment. Some communities specifically cater to older adults, but this is an exemption to housing discrimination allowed under the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA).

This is true in many retirement communities, for example, for which often do not allow those younger than age 55 years to own property or live there. Current myths regarding the older work force employees There do exist, however, many myths about the capabilities of older workers in the field and how efficient they would be if they were to continue working in the workforce as they age. One circulating myth is that older people cannot or will not learn new material as efficiently as younger people, which is the most prominent one of the rest.

A few others include the idea that older people are not flexible or adaptable to the work environment, that older people are less productive, and that older workers are more expensive than younger workers. There has been great debate on both sides of these theories, given that although people do accept that older people should not be discriminated against and limited in terms of the workforce, there do still exist aspects in their work habits and the resources needed to provide for them in the workplace which are less ideal than if younger people were to be hired instead.

Some issues that may have to be dealt with throughout the workplace with elder people include more health protection, more resources to provide for them, and perhaps even more training to ensure that they are not slow in apprehending the skills necessary for the post (all of these factors also relate back to idea of more expenses in general). Labour shortage in Canada Figure 1. Statistics on the recent study on Canadian labour shortage by province Figure 1.

Statistics on the recent study on Canadian labour shortage by province Finally, the case for job shortages in Canada became thinner recently with the most recent data showing vacancies actually fell to 200,000 at the start of the year, meaning there were 6. 5 unemployed workers chasing each opening. The fresh data is just the latest indicator that seems to undercut government and business arguments that Canada is facing a serious skills and labour shortage.

Furthermore, given the fact that older citizens are beginning to retire from their positions, there is an increased risk of labour shortages beginning to emerge. Parts of the economy such as the food and restaurant, oil, and public services industries are beginning to face such issues, and this area of conflict may even continue to grow over the decades, perhaps even spread and expand to more parts of the economy. In terms of action against this issue however, steps have already been put into effect by different organizations and the Canadian government.

Progress has been made to reduce barriers to work by providing tax incentives for working Canadians and by modifying Employment Insurance and Guaranteed Income Supplement programs to remove penalties for working people. Canadian Prime Minister, Steven Harper, responded that “there are certain cases in Canada where there are absolute shortages of workers” and that he will “ensure the programs put in effect are reformed so they may not be misused in any way. The government has already begun to take action to further reduce barriers to work for Canadians, given that Canada’s labour shortage is not only a skills shortage, but a person-shortage that will have an increasingly negative affect on the economic growth and prosperity of all Canadians. The diminishing young worker to retired elder-ratio should be a clear indication that a conflict is, and will be prominent throughout the next couple years or decades in Canada’s economy, and that action must be taken as efficiently as possible to avoid a serious problem for both our current and future generations.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 12 October 2016

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