With the number of older Canadians expected to double over the next two decades, with many more living most of their extra years in good health, we need to ensure older Canadians are given the opportunities to remain engaged and productive members of our society. Since we ended mandatory retirement laws in Canada, the number of older Canadians who continue to work past the age 65 has doubled over the past decade, allowing them to continue contributing their considerable experience and skills. Importantly, paid work is only part of older Canadians’ contributions.
Older Canadians continue to contribute to our society in many other ways and over represent themselves as volunteers, and unpaid caregivers to Canadians of all ages. They are also the most politically engaged members of our society. Ensuring our communities can continue to support their older residents to remain independent and engaged, will mean a need to continue to strengthen access to a reasonable income, affordable housing and transportation services. To combat the growing levels of social isolation and reinforce efforts to end ageism and elder abuse in our society, our physical environments and public spaces need to be age-friendly; and our community, social and recreational services must be designed with the needs of older Canadians in mind.
The Federal Government can work with Canada’s provinces, territories and municipalities to enable this pillar in a variety of ways: