Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the highest levels of the public service are immersed in a flurry of closed-door talks aimed at tackling the rising costs of health care and retirement benefits in the face of a shrinking number of working-age taxpayers available to foot the bill.
Internal government documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show Canada’s aging population is no longer a problem on the horizon, but rather one that will impact the federal government this year. It's a challenge Ottawa is now discussing more openly and with added urgency.
Prepared by officials at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Finance Canada, the report is full of alarming statistics. It also lays out several measures the government could take to limit the impact, including incentives to boost fertility rates, bring in younger immigrants and encourage Canadians to work longer.
“A Canada where seniors outnumber children is uncharted territory,” the report states.
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