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Archive for 'population aging'

Homelessness Policy

This afternoon, I gave a presentation on public policy responding to homelessness in Canada, with a focus on the past decade.  I gave the presentation at this year’s annual conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association. Points I made in the presentation include the following: -Once inflation is accounted for, the current annual value of […]

Who’s a bigger drag on Canada’s future? The old or the young?

This is my latest column for Canadian Business magazine.  Giorgio, a hard-working, smart-as-a-whip University of Toronto student, asked me a great question after a recent guest lecture: What if the biggest challenge facing Canadian businesses and governments in the coming years isn’t an aging society but the economic and fiscal drag of hundreds of thousands […]

Stapleton on Harper’s Proposed OAS/GIS Changes

John Stapleton has an opinion piece out on Prime Minister Harper’s proposed changes to Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). I find the following quote from Stapleton to be particularly troubling: By providing OAS and GIS at age 65, Canada has greatly reduced the incidence of poverty among seniors. By moving the […]

Raising The OAS Eligibility Age Would Raise Poverty in Old Age

Canadian Press have put out a story based on a research paper by Richard Shillington which was commissioned by HRSDC from Informetrica, and obtained by the CLC through an Access to Information request. Receiving OAS is required to makes seniors eligible for the GIS top up, which provides one in three seniors with a supplement […]

Low Income and the Age of Eligibility for OAS

To reprise a now topical earlier blog,  hiking the age of eligibility for OAS will have the biggest impact by far on future seniors who are in low income. Many if not most of this group are unable to work due to disability or ill health. If the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS […]

When Will The Baby Boomers Retire?

Canada’s population, we are frequently told, is rapidly aging. The big baby boomer cohort is headed out of the workforce, meaning  that we face a future of very slow labour force growth and even possible shortages of workers. CIBC Economics has just gone so far as to argue that the Bank of Canada can afford […]

MMT: What it Means for Canada

Arun Dubois’ blog post yesterday on Modern Monetary Theory has prompted me to write my own take on the subject.  For those interested, an interesting thumbnail sketch of MMT, essentially functional finance augmented by a full understanding of monetary operations, is explained here. While MMT deals with the details of monetary and fiscal matters, the […]

Avoiding a really bad drug trip – Pharmacare versus CETA

Boomers are getting blamed for an awful lot of fiscal problems these days. But blaming an aging population for healthcare costs spiraling out of control is misplaced. Missing opportunities to manage and contain costs is the real culprit. Take, for example, our spending on prescription drugs. Costs in that part of the healthcare system have […]

Canada’s Immigration Policy: Who’s on the guest list?

This article first appeared in the Globe and Mail’s online feature Economy Lab on Friday. My thanks to all the commentators on this page for the great discussion of the topic. This week, the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship rightly noted that immigrants are Canada’s ticket to economic growth in the coming years. The untold […]

The Age of Retirement

Jeffrey Simpson seems to favour the sensible option of CPP expansion, but also wants to raise the CPP retirement age. “Curiously, there seems to be an aversion among governments to easing future retirement costs by raising the age of retirement. Australia, France and the United States have already done so, lifting the age for future […]

Falling Poverty Among the Elderly – A Canadian Success Story

I was recently trolling through Statistics Canada (LICO – After Tax) data on CANSIM and discovered to my slight surprise that the incidence of poverty (or low income as StatsCan politely prefers to describe it) has fallen very significantly among the elderly (age 65 and over.) I knew the rate was relatively low and had […]

A New Pension Debate?

Back in the 1960s and 1970s there was a big Canadian pensions debate, centred mainly on the issue of how to address the then pressing problem of poverty and income security in old age. It resulted in the launching of the contributory CPP/QPP and the improvement of the demogrant Old Age Security/ Guaranteed Income Supplement. […]

We Went to Separate Schools Together

Today’s Ottawa Citizen has a good editorial on the existence of two publicly-funded school systems in several provinces. The original concept of one system for Protestants and another for Catholics has evolved into a “public”, secular system and a “separate” system that teaches some Roman Catholicism but is also attended by many non-Catholics. Many schools […]

Some Thoughts on Adjustment for Older Workers

The expert panel on older workers appointed by the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development has released a short discussion paper. http://www.ow-ta-sec.org/en/consultation/discussion_paper.shtml The background to this panel (promised in the 2006 Budget) was a political push in 2005 for an income support program for displaced older workers – a particularly hot topic in Quebec […]

Retirement – Ready or Not?

http://research.cibcwm.com/economic_public/download/srpt_rrsp_022007.pdf An interesting piece on retirement savings from CIBC. It highlights the huge increase in unused RRSP contribution room in recent years, and the widening contribution gap between higher and lower income Canadians.  As of 2005, the median total asset value of RRSPs held by pre retirement persons aged 55-65 was just $60,000 – hardly […]

Demographic apocolypse 2020?

Pierre Fortin, who I usually find to be an interesting economic commentator on public policy issues, makes the case for demographic apocolypse. i used to share that fear, but I’ve done some number crunching on this issue in the BC context (i.e. more seniors than the national average) and am not convinced that the problem […]