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2008 brought one of the sharpest declines in stock market values ever seen in the 200-year history of North American equity markets. This particular downturn also spurred a new round of analysis on the adequacy of the Canadian retirement system, addressing the growing concern that what we are dealing with is a Pension Crisis. In 2014, over 60% of
Canadians surveyed reported retirement income stress as a top financial concern. The average Canadian retirement age crept up from age 61 in 1997 to age 63 in 2013, and anxiety could also be driving recent rounds of government program cutbacks, implying challenges within the core of our retirement system. The age of eligibility for the Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement (OAS/GIS) will increase from age 65 to 67 (between 2023 and 2029), and the Canada Pension Plan will soon make early retirement less palatable.
Compounding issues is Canada’s aging population of baby boomers; those over age 65 will increase from 15% to 23% by 2035. For those worried about a retirement system under stress, this evidence appears to indicate a challenging future ahead.