Frances Woolley, “Defying gravity’s pull,” The Globe and Mail, p. A13 and online at www.theglobeandmail.com

Professor Frances Woolley comments on Canada’s aging population posted on 04 May 2017:

“Seniors make up 16.7 per cent of Ontario’s population, barely below the national average of 16.9 per cent. (Among the provinces, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have the highest proportion of seniors at 19.9 per cent; Alberta has the lowest at 12.3 per cent.) But it’s the dispersion of those seniors that could be a challenge for future provincial governments, says Carleton University economist Frances Woolley. ‘You have parts of Ontario that are aging rapidly,’  she says, ‘and you have parts of Ontario that are really young.’

“This partly due to well-documented rural flight in Ontario — young people heading to big cities to find work, leaving their hometowns older and poorer. But Woolley notes that some seniors are selling their urban homes and moving to smaller communities, bringing their wealth with them — although it’s unclear whether those communities see any economic benefit from the phenomenon.

“‘When people in the cities sell up, move to the rural communities, do they bring jobs to the rural communities?’  Woolley asks. ‘It’s hard to know.’

“And it’s not just traditional health costs policymakers will have to think about, Woolley says. While we tend to think about doctors and hospitals when we discuss health-care spending, she explains, there’s also likely to be an increased need for home care as the population ages.

“‘This isn’t necessarily OHIP budgets,’ she says. ‘This is also going to be social services budgets. A lot of this home care stuff isn’t coming out of OHIP.’”

(Daniel Kitts, “Census data shows Canada’s population is aging fast. What does that mean for Ontario?” TVO at www.tvo.org)

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