Canada's Original Think Tank

Retirement Age

Retirement Age

Retirement Age

Retirement Age


Published on 11 April 2017
Hansard and Statements by Senator Paul Massicotte

Hon. Paul J. Massicotte:

Thank you, Minister.

We appreciate you being here. As you know, the Canadian population is aging. As a result, the associated costs for the health care industry, pension plans, and society in general will increase significantly in the next 20 years. However, according to Statistics Canada, the number of workers across the country will decrease, except in three of Canada’s urban centres. We will therefore have increased societal needs and a diminishing workforce, despite immigration. That is a very particular problem. The good news is that Canadians are in better health than they were 30 or 40 years ago, which allows them to work longer than ever.

There is something that still bothers me about Budget 2016. Despite these findings, you brought back down the age of retirement and eligibility to the Canada Pension Plan. This was one of your 150 election promises, but there must be a more fundamental reason to justify this decision. How do you explain your decision, which goes against the global trend?

Hon. Bill Morneau, P.C., M.P., Minister of Finance: Thank you for the question. I think it is very important. You are right about the demographic changes. The aging population is a major challenge for Canada. As a country, we know that it is important to have a sufficiently large workforce. We are currently considering how to improve the lives of those who are not part of the workforce at this time. One thing we should do is find a way to increase the number of women in the labour market, which is lower than that of men.

The same goes for our Indigenous population. We need to be able to rely on labour availability. We know that we need to take measures to have an adequate workforce over the next few years. It is very important.

As far as retirement age is concerned, we have to determine how we can implement an equitable system that works for everyone. We believe that the previous government’s approach did not take into account certain aspects. People who earn a low income are in a tough situation. The previous government pushed back the age of retirement to 67. People who are 65 to 67 who earn a low income are having a tough time enjoying life.

We continue to look for ways to ensure that people can work longer if that is possible for them. Low-income earners are in a more difficult situation. It is important to come up with a way to give them and their family support when they need it.

This is complicated issue. We know that with an older population, it is necessary to have the option to keep working but without making it necessary for people who are in a less favourable situation because of the job that they have, for example.