Golden Years Ahead - Municipalities and an aging population

Full text of the In Brief report: Canada's Aging Population: The municipal role in Canada's demographic shift  pdf.

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The biggest demographic wave since the postwar baby boom is about to break over Canada, and municipal governments are on the front line. Seniors are already the fastest growing age group in Canada. The 2011 Census counted nearly five million people aged 65 and over, a 27 per cent increase since 2001.
That’s just the beginning. During the next 25 years, our population of people 65 and over will double to 10.4 million, making seniors roughly one quarter of the population in 2036.
This growing population of seniors has begun to reshape our communities in ways that affect citizens of all ages.
Providing services such as low-floor buses and paying more attention to icy sidewalks in winter are important for many seniors. Others look forward to a downtown condo where they can walk to concerts and restaurants. Seniors in rural communities may be looking for more social opportunities and transit alternatives to driving.
Adapting our housing, transit, recreation and our buildings and public spaces will help a vibrant and engaged senior population to safely age in place and continue contributing to society. At the same time, cities and communities must provide the services and quality of life that will attract and retain the new immigrants and younger workforce needed to replace a labour force that is shrinking as our population ages.
Canada’s aging population is raising pressing new policy questions that must be answered. Is this demographic shift forcing Canada’s decisionmakers in two separate directions? How can governments work together to address these seemingly competing needs?
FCM’s report, Canada’s Aging Population: The Municipal Role in Canada’s Demographic Shift, examines the emerging municipal response to this coming wave. It examines the plans, strategies, programs and services municipal governments are developing to accommodate seniors’ desire to live active, healthy and engaged lives, and the growing awareness of the labour force gap ahead.
Municipalities are front and center when it comes to many of the services that benefit older Canadians, including affordable housing, transportation, recreation, physical infrastructure and community health.
But municipal governments cannot do it alone. The challenges of accommodating an aging population while securing future economic growth are areas where local and federal government concerns meet. It is time for all orders of government — municipal, federal and provincial/ territorial — to pool their expertise and coordinate their resources to meet the range of impacts of the coming demographic wave.

Karen Leibovici
President, Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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These trends can be explored using the interactive charts below. Mouse over the legend to select the geographies of interest. The icons at the top-right of each chart allow you to view the definitions and data sources and to download the excel source file.