Canadians Face $1.4 Trillion Tab for Public Programs Due to Demographic Change: C.D. Howe Institute

    TORONTO, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - Canadian governments are unprepared for the
fiscal impact of demographic change as babyboomers move closer to retirement,
and face a net liability of $1.4 trillion to pay for the current package of
public programs, according to a report released today by the C.D. Howe
    The study, Time and Money: The Challenge of Demographic Change and
Government Finances in Canada, by William B. P. Robson, President and CEO of
the C.D. Howe Institute, says that demographic change, combined with unchanged
patterns of age-specific spending, will put enormous pressure on government
budgets in Canada. One major result: today's younger populace will have to pay
higher taxes for their lifetime package of public programs than did their
parents or grandparents.
    Robson finds that implicit liabilities from healthcare are the biggest
long-term fiscal challenge, with an implicit liability of some $1.9 trillion
facing the provinces. By contrast, seniors' benefits will likely have a
relatively small impact on government budgets, and a projected decline in the
draw of education and child benefits on Canadian incomes will partially offset
the rising cost of healthcare. The total fiscal burden is unevenly spread, he
notes, with the provinces facing massive increases in healthcare spending, and
Ottawa enjoying a net asset position thanks mainly to prospective declines in
spending on children.
    Meeting the fiscal challenge, says Robson, will require fiscal discipline
and budget surpluses, partial prefunding for some healthcare obligations, and
growth-friendly policies that will boost Canadians' incomes - the base on
which Canada's social programs ultimately rest.

    The study is available at:

For further information:

For further information: William Robson, President and CEO, C.D. Howe
Institute, (416) 865-1904,

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