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2068, 57 million of inhabitants in Canada: a big problem for pensions, health care and houses

TORONTO – More than 56 million inhabitants or, perhaps, even 74. In 2068, the Canadian population could reach these figures according to a report by Statistics Canada published on Monday, which also highlights how this phenomenon (due to the aging of population – thanks to the increase in life expectancy – and to strong immigration) will have large – and negative – dimensions for pensions, health care and housing needs. 

Specifically, the report explains that the Canadian population – currently around 37 million – could reach 47.8 million in 2043 and 56.5 million by 2068 in an average growth scenario. Other population projection scenarios say the population could grow between 44.9 million and 74.0 million in 2068.

Hence, the study analyzes what the consequences of growth could be, starting with the availability of housing. Last June, a report by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation predicted that real estate in the country will increase by 2.3 million units over the next decade, but at the same time stressed that Canada needs an additional 3.5 million housing units affordable by 2030.

According to Mike Moffatt, a professor at Western University’s Ivey Business School and senior director of the Smart Prosperity Institute, “it will be a challenge to host so many people,” he told CTV in a telephone interview on Wednesday, “in order to cope with population growth “.

StatCan also projections that growth will be unevenly distributed across the country. Alberta is expected to have the highest growth, as the province’s population in 2043 is expected to be 31% to 61% larger than it is today. “Alberta has done a good job of building enough housing for a growing population. That province has developed quite rapidly in recent decades, albeit with some land use and environmental problems,” Moffatt said. According to the analysis, population growth in BC, Ontario and Saskatchewan is expected to be around 14-40% by 2043. Manitoba’s population is also expected to grow by 11 to 40%, while the population is estimated to of Quebec grows between 12 and 19%.

Moffatt himself believes that Ontario and BC are less prepared to handle impending growth, as the housing shortage is more severe in these two provinces. Different forecasts for Atlantic Canada, where the population could decrease by 1.5% or increase up to 16% by 2043: that of Newfoundland & Labrador is the only province that predicts negative population growth in any projection scenario.

Then, there is also the factor of the aging of the population, which will instead weigh on the health system. Currently, 18.5% of Canadians are 65 and older. But in an average growth scenario, StatCan predicts that the percentage of seniors will increase by 23.1% in 2043 and 25.9% in 2068. The median age in Canada was 41.7 in 2021, but by 2068 is expected to rise to 45.1 years.

Experts say these numbers underscore the need to make sure federal and provincial governments have a plan to meet the health care needs of the aging population. A 2018 report from the Conference Board of Canada says Canada’s aging population will add $ 93 billion to healthcare costs. After all, in 1966, when the Canadian health system was born, the average age (27 years) and life expectancy in Canada (60 years) were much lower. Future governments will have a lot of work to do …

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