Demographic Headwinds Threaten Atlantic Canada Economies: C.D. Howe Institute

TORONTO, Nov. 26 /CNW/ - The twin demographic challenges of an aging population and slow workforce growth will affect Canada's Atlantic provinces more acutely than other regions of the country, according to a study released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. In "Stress Test: Demographic Pressures and Policy Options in Atlantic Canada," authors Colin Busby, William B.P. Robson and Pierre-Marcel Desjardins warn that many years of low birthrates and youth outmigration mean that the Atlantic region faces diminished workforce growth and a fiscal squeeze as fewer taxpayers support a growing bill for public programs.

The authors outline the likely evolution of the size and age-structure of each Atlantic province's population and highlight the potential impacts of international and interprovincial migration trends on living standards and fiscal sustainability in the years ahead. Finally, they canvas some policy tools to deal with the challenges.

The authors conclude that combating these demographic stresses requires a suite of policies from all levels of government to foster investments in human and physical capital, and ensure fiscal sustainability. Boosting workforce productivity will need concerted action from providers of elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as from employers and other promoters of adult literacy. Dealing with the looming fiscal challenge will require courage and imaginative approaches such as CPP-style pre-funding for health programs that face sharp demographically driven spending increases.

For the study go to http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/backgrounder_120.pdf

SOURCE C.D. Howe Institute

For further information: For further information: Colin Busby, Policy Analyst; William B.P. Robson, President and CEO, C.D. Howe Institute; Pierre-Marcel Desjardins, Professor of Economics, Université de Moncton, (416) 865-1904, Email: cdhowe@cdhowe.org


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