Promises and Prospects
Edited by Philip Taylor
Chapter 3: Work and Retirement in Canada: Policies and Prospects
Julie McMullin, Martin Cooke and Terri Tomchick INTRODUCTION As in other Western countries, the demographic ageing of the Canadian population is a key issue in public policy debates and one that is generally thought to present a challenge that can be addressed through careful policy making (McMullin and Cooke, 2004; PRI, 2004). In an eﬀort to do this, several arms of Canada’s Federal Government have been actively engaged in research and outreach activities (for instance, roundtable and workshop sessions) in which academics and government oﬃcials are invited to comment on working papers. Through these initiatives, ‘life-course ﬂexibility’ and ‘active ageing’ have emerged as concepts that could be utilized by policy makers to develop policies that would more eﬀectively deal with the challenges of population ageing. With speciﬁc regard to workforce ageing, policy discussions of ‘lifecourse ﬂexibility’ and ‘active ageing’ have focused primarily on extending the length of time that Canadians spend engaged in paid employment (PRI, 2004). Yet, it is unclear whether the aim of adjusting policies to extend the working lives of Canadians has been realized and whether new policies would be able to eﬀectively deal with issues of diversity. As such this chapter addresses three questions. First, in light of the national and international pronouncements of the importance of ‘active ageing’ and ‘life course ﬂexibility’ (OECD, 2000; PRI, 2004), to what degree has Canada developed policies that eﬀectively encourage labour force participation of older workers? Second, to what extent do such policies...
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