Ageing Labour Forces
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Ageing Labour Forces

Promises and Prospects

Edited by Philip Taylor

This provocative book considers the changing status of older workers, the evolution of public policy on age and work and the behaviour of employers. It attempts to answer the critical question: in an ageing society, can older workers look forward to the prospect of longer working lives with choice and security and make successful transitions to retirement?
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Chapter 3: Work and Retirement in Canada: Policies and Prospects

Julie McMullin, Martin Cooke and Terri Tomchick


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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