The population demographics in Canada has undergone drastic changes over the last two decades with two evident trends. The first and notable trend is the rapidly aging population in Canada. For the first time, Canada has recorded a greater number of persons aged 65 and above than that of the teenagers below 15 years. What this means is that there is a big gap being created in the workforce. Although the current generation can fill those jobs, they are not yet ready given their tender age. It takes time to get an education and the necessary training. As a result, the employment gap continues to expand with every passing year.
Another trend in the Canadian demographics is that the number of immigrants is on the rise. In 2014, the country received over 250,000 immigrants. Most of them came through programs including the Skilled Worker, Skilled Trade, Canadian Experience, and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) under the Express Entry System. Such programs have been set up for a reason but the number of immigrants is still not enough to meet the demographic gap. The senior generation is now retiring and the country now need more people to deal with the rising shortage of workers. However, the Canadian government has held a more conservative stand as far as attracting feign workers and polices are concerned. This means that the demographic gap is only expected to grow bigger and the country simply lacks the numbers to fill it. Countries with high standards of living share a common and unique trend whereby they record lower birth rate, high GDP, better income as well as an aging population. For example, Japan has the highest standards of living compared to any other part of the world and also has the oldest population. It is also worth noting that Japan has the lowest immigrant numbers globally. But should Canada follow the Japanese model?
The answer is no simply because the problem of an aging population is not a crisis. For a country the size of Canada, the population is quite low. Since the nation is a resource driven economy, it has plenty of work for the new immigrants as long as they are qualified.
Although Canada is recording a high number of seniors, compared to the other countries such as Norway, Japan, and Britain, the number that Canada is dealing with is not that high. Canada’s renowned think tank C.D. Howe Institute has reported that the surge in the number of immigrants into Canada over the past few years has had insignificant effect on compensating for the aging population. They have created more jobs instead of filling the existing ones.
What is the solution?
The government may be forced to push back the retirement age considering the fact that the life expectancy is now higher and people are enjoying healthier lives. Another option is investing in programs that will help to create more jobs for the younger generations and the skilled immigrants.
Demographic Gap Locally
- In 2011, Markham was actually younger than Canada on average, with a median age of under 40 compared to Canada’s median age of 40.6.
- Scarborough is also very young, with more children and youth than many other parts of the GTA.
- Vaughan is younger even than Markham, with a 2011 median age under 38 years of age.