Lack Of Provincial Planning For Canada’s Aging Population

By Colin Craig,

Just in time for National Seniors Day, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released a report that examines how prepared provincial governments are for Canada’s aging population.

Most provinces haven’t bothered to properly assess how our nation’s aging population will impact their finances. They’re operating like a 63-year-old who has a pile of debt and hasn’t bothered to think about planning for the future. Unless provincial governments start taking the situation seriously, we’re going to see tax hikes.

Since 2010, the federal government has been releasing annual Fiscal Sustainability Reports which discuss the sustainability of federal finances over the long-term as Canada’s population grows older and puts a strain on health expenses and revenues.

In What Aging Population?, the CTF discusses findings from Freedom of Information requests filed with each provincial government for their financial analysis. In short, most provinces have no analysis; a disturbing finding and one that could lead to higher taxes.

Quebec and Nova Scotia indicated they both have some analysis, but have not released the information. Manitoba has some initial analysis, but the material is not as comprehensive as what the federal government produces. The remaining provinces, however, indicated they don’t have any long-term analysis.

The most recent Fiscal Sustainability Report from the federal government’s Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer projected the total annual fiscal shortfall at the provincial, territorial, municipal, and aboriginal level at $30 Billion. Research to date has yet to break that figure out by province.

Everyone knows an aging population will put a strain on health expenses and revenues. It’s important for governments to plan for this challenge.

To see each province’s freedom of information response:

Colin Craig, author of the report What Aging Population?, is the interim Alberta director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.