Assembly of New Brunswick
New Brunswick at the Dawn of a New Century
VI. PUBLIC POLICY ISSUES
The Public Service [of Canada] must be able to anticipate the issues of importance to the country that are emerging now, issues that will affect Canadian society in the years to come. This is not easy, because we all know that the crisis of the day will distract us from what is more significant in the long term. But if we do not work hard to detect the future trends and issues in Canadian society, and if we do not take the time to do the analysis, then we are not, as public servants, supporting the government of the day as well as we could, or should. We all have more to do in any given day than we can handle, and it is though to take the time to invest in the issues that may affect society several years from now. But it is the only way to make policy development significant--to give it a role in shaping the future.
Srengthening Policy Capacity,Canadian Center for Management Development
Understanding demography, and projecting population trends is essential if government is to accurately determine what services will be required in the future and the number of people that will need them. Clearly, however, knowing how the population will be distributed in the year 2000 is an important consideration not only for public policy makers, but for many professionals as well. For instance, university professors who seek accurate forecasts to share with colleagues at home and abroad; city planners and municipal officials who want an estimate of how many people will inhabit their cities, towns and villages in the years ahead; marketers who will need to know information about the composition of households for targeting their products; school administrators who need to project the number of students expected in the long term base; hospital directors who need to know the expected distribution of the population and the age profile of patients entering hospitals in the next decade and beyond; and of course, as mentioned above, government officials who require accurate projections on which to base the design and implementation of future programs.
The policy issues identified in this section were prepared by various provincial government departments. These issues required thorough investigation and analysis. It required departments to conceptualize the relationship between probable population trends and projections (as outlined by the New Brunswick Statistics Agency), and the key issues affecting respective departments. Through a comprehensive understanding of future population projections, departments were able to identify potential impacts of these trends.
The population projections utilized in this paper have been prepared by the New Brunswick Statistics Agency on the basis of certain assumptions such as life expectancies, birth rates and migration. Because of the difficulty in projecting the components of population change, especially interprovincial migration, the projections extend 15 years to 2009. However, in some instances, our analysis will look further ahead.
It is hoped that the information contained in this discussion paper will enable government and the public to manage and cope more effectively in the future, and proactively respond to demographic forces.
A. Health And Social Services
Health is more than the absence of disease. It is defined as the capacity of the individual, group and the environment to interact with one another in ways that promote subjective well-being and allow people to cope with, adapt to, or influence the pressures of daily living. It includes the optimal development and use of abilities, at whatever level, be they physical, social or mental. Health is more than physical health. Being healthy is associated with the resources available to cope with life's challenges throughout the lifecycle.
Issue 1: Utilization of Health and Support Services by Seniors 85+
Over the period 1994 to 2009 the general population is forecast to grow by roughly 5%, while the 85+ population is expected to increase by 71%. This will impact on the demand for and utilization of formal health and support services such as hospitals and nursing homes. The move will be to rely more on community-based services along with extra mural hospitals, homemaker services, and meals on wheels to provide for seniors in their homes. There will be a need for more services, either private or public.
Additionally, research has shown that seniors 85+ tend to use more health care resources than other segments of the population. Based on Medicare fee-for-service billing in fiscal 1994/1995, individuals 85+ receive 22.6 physician services per capita compared with 16.2 for those 65+ and 7.4 for the total population. The per capita cost to Medicare for these physician services for individuals 85+ was significantly higher ($477) than the corresponding per capita cost for the total population ($211), but only marginally higher than the per capita cost for 65+ population ($463). Therefore, the pressure to find new solutions to providing health care to seniors will increase as the population ages.
Issue 2: The Demographic Profile of the Social Assistance Caseload
The size and age structure of the social assistance caseload are not driven by any one factor, but rather change in response to a combination of factors, including population demographics, levels of educational achievement, household composition and the availability of employment.
Nearly 1/2 of the social assistance caseload are between 16 and 34 years of age. These young adults are over-represented in the caseload and are more likely to be receiving income support today than in 1986. As the individuals born during the peak years of the baby boom have aged, the 35-54 age group has increased its share of the social assistance caseload. This age group is actually under-represented in the caseload and is less likely to be on assistance in 1995 than in 1986. The clients included in the 55-64 year old age group were born during the 1930's, a time when fewer babies were born due to the Great Depression and the beginning of the Second World War. In 1986 this age group was over-represented in the caseload. In 1995 it is not, reflecting the implementation of initiatives intended to help this age group specifically.
The rising incidence of young clients should be of concern as these are New Brunswick's future consumers and taxpayers. This is the age group that traditionally stimulates consumer markets as they enter the labour market and form new households, purchasing their first homes and automobiles, buying large ticket household items such as washers and dryers, and having their children. These young workers will also become increasingly important taxpayers, as the baby boomers age and require higher levels of health and other social services.
In 1995 more than 70% of social assistance recipients reported that they had not received a high school diploma. Only 23% of adult social assistance recipients have a high school diploma, compared with 60% of adult New Brunswickers. Only 3% of the caseload hold a technical diploma or university degree, supporting the premise that a post-secondary education increases the likelihood of self-sufficiency. Clearly the key to the achievement of self-sufficiency is education and training. A lack of a basic education does not necessarily result in dependency on social assistance but it is undoubtedly the primary hindrance to self-sufficiency for most social assistance clients.
The responsability of education in out society is to socialize out citizens, to insure they become what we feel is nessesary-economically, culturally, and socially -- to insure our collective prosperity. Today in New Brunswick, we are trusting our educational sector to develop young men and women who will be productive, adaptable, innovative and socially adjusted.
Furthermore, as our world changes, as it is doing so rapidly, the characteristics and skills needed to ensure our future prosperity may also change, and we expect our educational system to respond in kind. But what happens when the makeup of our society changes? We are currently witnessing an aging of our population, unprecedented in Canadian history. What will this, and associated demographic changes mean for the educational sector?
Issue 3: Declining Enrollment in our Public School System
Issue 4: Regional Variations In Enrollment Trends
All but one school district has shown enrollment declines, while some districts have experienced more significant change than others. For instance, District 14 (Campbelton/Dalhousie-English) declined to 55% of its 1974 enrollment, whereas District 06 (Rothesay/Hampton-English) is the only area of steady growth, with 160% of its 1974 enrollment.
Issue 5: Enrollment Patterns by Grade Level
Overall, the net change between 1984 and 1994 has been negligible as small increases were shown in the early 1990's. Kindergarten enrollment increased as a result of the introduction of 10,000 kindergarten students in 1991. Elementary and junior high enrollment declined at approximately 1.6% -1.7% per year, while senior high levels remained relatively stable.
Issue 6: Aging Teaching Force
Until 1994, the average age of New Brunswick's educators was 42.7 years, and half were over 44 years of age. Over the next 10 year period, almost 3,400 educators will become eligible to retire. Moreover, because administrators tend to be older (average age of 46 years) and more experienced, there will be an even faster rate of retirement among principals, vice-principals, supervisors and coordinators.
Nonetheless, the degree of impact of the aging teaching force on the education system will depend on the balance between the increasing demand for teachers due to attrition and decreasing demand due to declining enrollment and system efficiencies.
Issue 7: Readiness to Learn
There are a number of social and economic risk factors that can affect an individual's potential to succeed in school. In particular, factors relating to family income, parental attitudes and experiences regarding education, family composition and health can all affect learning.
Unfortunately, significant improvements in the level of youth poverty are not imminent, while the number of single parents is on the rise. Historically, these factors have tended to put downward pressure on students' learning ability. Thus, there may be an increasing demand for resources and programming to enable learning, such as nutrition programs to address student hunger, programming and policies relating to discipline and student behavior, and counselling for personal and family problems.
Issue 8: Gender Distribution of Educational Staff
In 1993, 64% of all educators were female. However, most administrative positions in the education system are held by men. In 1993, 74% of principals and 68% of vice-principals were male.
There are also gender imbalances evident in the teaching populations at different grade levels and by subject area. Approximately 90% of the teachers at the elementary school level are female, compared to just over 40% at the high school level. Likewise, the majority of high school math and science teachers are men.
Issue 9: Increased University Enrollment
Issue 10: Full-Time Undergraduate Enrollment by Major Discipline and Gender
Over the period from 1984 to 1994, full-time undergraduate enrollment in New Brunswick universities has grown by 30%. In this ten year period the enrollment of females has witnessed a 50% increase and males a 20% increase. Females now account for 54% of all enrollments in our universities.
Issue 11: Educational Attainment of New Brunswick Adults
Statistics illustrate that average income is highest for those with a university degree. In 1993, the average earnings of a university graduate were $36,733. With high school completion and some post-secondary education, the average annual income was about $19,926. With a minimum of grade eight, the average stood at $14,892.
Issue 12: Age Distribution of NBCC Students
While the majority of adults today are between 25-54 years of age, by contrast the majority of students enrolled in full-time programs of the New Brunswick Community Colleges are younger than 35 years. Additionally, the age distribution for the longer programs (20 weeks or longer) shows a high concentration of younger students, while the age distribution of students in the shorter programs (up to 19 weeks in length) parallels that of the NB adult population.
In a rapidly changing world where working adults must be able to learn new skills and adapt to changing circumstances, life-long learning is going to become a key coping strategy. Thus, while the one and two year programs must still be available by Community Colleges to prepare younger adults for the workplace, the focus will be placed on the training of individuals who are already in the workplace, and who are significantly older than the recent high school graduate.
Members of the Baby Boom generation have had a major influence on our economy and our society at each of their life-cycle stages. It is safe to say that they will continue to exert such influence throughout their remaining years. During the twenty year period between 1971 and 1991, large increases in the rates of household formation and, subsequently, housing demand canbe attributed largely to the maturing of the baby boomers. In 1971, the "boomers" were between the ages of 5 and 24 years. By 1991, they were in the 25 to 44 year age group, that period of life when most people leave their parental home and marry or live in other forms of households, often have children, and, in certain circumstances, divorce and form additional households. During that 20 year period, the total number of households in New Brunswick grew by 61%. By 1991, 45% of all households were headed by someone in the 25 to 44 year age group.
Issue 13: Shelter Affordability--Seniors and Lone Parent Families
Low to moderate income households paying more than 30% of their total household income for shelter are considered to be experiencing housing affordabillity problems. There were more than 9,500 senior households in such circumstances in 1991, nearly 6,700 of which were women. Moreover, nearly 9,000 such households headed by lone-parents also experienced housing affordability problems in 1991. In fact, approximately 8,000 such family households paid more than 40% of their household income for shelter.
Since the number of senior households and lone-parent headed households are expected to increase over the next 15 years, there will be a continued need to consider the affordability situation of such households.
Issue 14: Potential Mismatch Between Demand and Supply of Owned Units
The following analysis looks at the demographics of the labour force and its expected effect upon our economic future. While active involvement in the labour force is not the only contributor to the economic prosperity of society, it is a key factor, and thus merits serious attention.
Issue 15: The Aging of the Workforce
There are high numbers of the older age groups (55 years and over) and moderate numbers of the youngest age cohort that are inactive in the labour force. Should these trends continue, we will have an aging working age population, with relatively fewer young persons actively contributing to the economy of the province. By 2009, one in every three working age adults will be 55 years of age or older. What is more, current life expectancy figures suggest that men will live another 25 years beyond this point (55 years is becoming an early retirement reality for many). Women are expected to live 35 years or more beyond this age.
Issue 16: The Imbalances: Youth and Women
Female labour force participation is generally far below that of men: at present it is 51.5% versus 67% for men. While womenÆs labour force participation has been steadily rising since the 1960Æs, it has remained relatively stable over the past 8 years in New Brunswick, and has not yet recovered from the 1991 recession. Implications are such that women will be more disadvantaged financially in their elder years, particularly since women still tend to shoulder child care responsibilities, familial responsibilities, and care for aging parents, (thus, have the tendency to leave the labour force earlier than anticipated).
Moreover, between 1990 and 1991 (the onset of the 1991 recession) the youth cohorts (20-24 years of age) dipped an average of 4.6%; twice the decline of any other group. Furthermore, unemployment jumped by 3.5% to a 20.9% high, in stark contrast with the unemployment rate of the province at 12.8% that year. Further, only half (50.6%) of New Brunswickers aged 20-24 years of age are employed. The female youth cohort has not rebounded since 1991.
Many fear that long stints in "non-regular" employment, and moving in and out of the labour force will compromise the long term labour force attachment of this most important age group. Earning power for this cohort may never reach its potential, thus the economy will suffer, in turn jeopardizing the ability to support an ever increasing dependent aging population.
Issue 17: Aboriginal Unemployment
Aboriginal people are more highly educated than ever before. Post secondary educational attainment of the adult Aboriginal population is similar to that for the total population. Only in the category "One or more degrees" is there a significant difference, with only 4% of the Aboriginal population in this category compared to 8% for the total population.
On the other hand, the unemployment rate for the Aboriginal population was more than double the unemployment rate for the total New Brunswick population, standing at 33% versus 15%. Moreover, the labour force participation rate for the Aboriginal population was much lower than that for the total population, suggesting that the actual level of unemployment among the Aboriginal population is even higher.
Unless significant progress is made in regards to Aboriginal people obtaining employment, the Aboriginal unemployment rate will increase markedly as young, better educated Aboriginal people enter the labour force in greater numbers.
Human resources are an organization's most important resource because without them, the other resources available to an organization (financial, information, material) cannot be used effectively to achieve the goals of the organization. Demographic change will have a significant impact on government policy, strategic direction, and on the services provided by government.
Issue 18: Public Service Renewal
A large portion of Part 1 employee groups (19%) is within 10 years of retirement, resulting in the probability that they will retire before the year 2005. Additionally, by the year 2010 (in 15 years) 38% of this employee group will likely have retired. Many are in middle and senior management categories with a wealth of experience and knowledge.
A number of demographic, social and economic realities suggest that human resource policies, programs and employee compensation systems may have to be enhanced and/or re-designed if they are to be effective in an organization that will likely undergo significant change in the near future.
Children (0-14 years of age) make up 19.8% of New BrunswickÆs total population of 760,500. Likewise, youth (15-24) comprise about 15% of New BrunswickÆs total population. Their percentage is shrinking relative to other age groups. This decreasing proportion is due to a decreasing fertility rate, and the negative net migration of youth.
Issue 19: Socio-Demographic Factors Affecting Children
Over the next 15 years, the general population is expected to increase by roughly 5% (759,300 in 1994 to 795,300 in 2009), while the less than 15 population is forecast to decrease by 14% (from 150,200 in 1994 to 128,700 in 2009).
In 1993, 76.6% of New Brunswick lone female parents were classified as poor, which may put at risk the healthy growth and development of 15,000 children. In addition, a further 15,000 children are likely at risk because of low incomes in two parent families in the province.
Although there will be a smaller proportion of children in the province, there are a number of socio-economic factors that could cause more children to be considered "at risk" in their development. Based on factors such as increasing divorce rates, the working poor and lone parent families headed mainly by women, coupled with employment uncertainty, future parents of children (0-14) may continue to encounter struggles in the development and socialization of their children. Consequently, these children will have a need for services.
Issue 20: Our Children: Strengthening Our Human Potential
The general population is expected to increase by roughly 5% over the next 15 year period, whereas the child population (0-14) is expected to decline from 150,200 in 1994 to 128,700 in 2009. This decrease in the child population suggests there is a strong need to ensure that each child, within his/her capacity, has the opportunity and support to develop the necessary attributes to contribute to the social and economic well being of the province. Therefore, it is critical for all children to receive proper care, nurturing and education to enable them to develop to their fullest capacity.
Issue 21: Interprovincial Migration of Youth
Since 1985 there has been a negative net migration of youth aged 15 to 24. What is more, amongst the overall population from age 1 to over 90, the largest number of people leaving the province in any given year is the youth aged 15 to 24 years old.
Perhaps the single largest contributing factor of youths leaving the province is the perception of better employment opportunities that exist in other provinces. If this trend is not reversed, we will have an aging working population with even fewer younger persons actively contributing to the provincial economy than anticipated.
Two demographic trends referred to in several sections of this document are increases in the number of seniors and increases in the number of single parent families. Women far outnumber men in both groups. The issues raised are related, for the most part, to lack of sufficient income.
Issue 22: Participation Rate of Women in the New Brunswick Labour Force
A major societal change of the last 25 years has been the increased participation of women in the paid labour force. The rapid change means that many women now working will have been caught in the transition without sufficient time and earnings to provide for retirement. The following information on the participation rates and earnings of New Brunswick women working full year full time provides a basis for discussing economic issues facing all women.
The Table below compares the participation rates of women and men by age group for the year 1995. As we see, the rate for women is still lower than that for men, particularly in the 45 -64 categories.
Issue 23: Rate of Return on Women's Labour Force Participation
Although the number of women who are in the labour force has increased dramatically in the last 25 years, women on the average continue to earn significantly less than men.
Another measurement which allows for comparisons is to show average wages. The average full-year full-time wages of men and women in the various provinces for 1994 are shown below.
The senior population in New Brunswick is expected to increase significantly. This dramatic increase in the senior population in New Brunswick will be felt, beyond 2009, when the baby boom generation becomes seniors, (roughly between 2016 and 2036). Two central factors that contribute to this growth are persistent sub-replacement levels of fertility and rising life expectancy levels. Seniors will generally live longer, and the proportion of seniors in the older senior age group (90+) will increase significantly.
Issue 24: Increase in the 65 and over Age Group
In 1994, there were 93,500 individuals aged 65 and over in New Brunswick. These numbers are expected to reach 112,900 by 2009, and 179,300 by 2024. Moreover, the increase will not be uniform amongst age groups or by gender. The 85+ age group represents a greater proportional increase (over 70%), and a significant portion of these seniors are going to be women, since life expectancy at birth is higher for women than for men (81.4 yrs vs. 74.9yrs).
Issue 25: Seniors-Aging-in-Place
By 2011, it is projected that senior headed households will increase to approximately 80,000, up 47% over 1991 levels. Senior couple households are projected to increase by 40%, while those living alone or with others who are not family members are projected to increase by 70%. Additionally, females living alone could number nearly 30,000 in the next 15 years. Senior households could represent 30% of total households.
However, no new units of senior accommodations are currently being provided, or are anticipated in the next 15 years. Therefore, there will be a need to broaden formal social support structures and strengthen informal support from family and community to ensure that services are available which will enable seniors to age-in-place.
Issue 26: Multigenerational Caregiver
By the year 2009, seniors aged 65 and over will increase at a much faster rate than any other group. The 65-74 group will increase by 12%, the 75-84 group will increase by 21% and the 85+ group by 71%. Consequently, this 75+ group has been found to be the largest group of service users.
The real pressure of this increasing aging population may have to be shouldered by care-givers (35-64) and their families. This societal pressure will increase significantly in roughly 20 years at which point the baby boom generation will undergo the transition from being a care-provider to being those in need of care. As a result, there will be a much smaller care-provider population to care for a much larger elderly population.
Implications of this inevitable process are significant for women, since they have traditionally provided the majority of informal caregiving.
Husband-wife families still make up the largest share (86.5%) of all families in the province. However, the profile of New Brunswick's family is one of growing diversity. The traditional "nuclear" family consisting of husband and wife and never married children is being transformed into a diversity of family forms. For instance, lone parent families, blended families which are an outcome of divorce or in some cases widowed spouses with never married children who remarry, and common-law unions, are on the increase. Also included as a new family form is husband-wife families without children.
In 1994, there were 208,000 families in New Brunswick. It is expected that by 2016 the number of families in NB will increase to 232,700.
Issue 27: Continued Low Fertility
The total fertility rate refers to the average number of children born to a women in her lifetime. A total fertility rate of 2.1 is necessary to maintain the current population level without immigration factored in. However, New Brunswick's current fertility rate stands at 1.5.
One-parent families had fewer children (1.5) than husband-wife families with children (1.8). Moreover, according to Statistics Canada, in 1993, 67.1% of New Brunswick's births were to married women, 31.3% to single women, 1.5% to divorced women and 0.1% to widows.
The consequences of declining birth rates are different for individuals than they are for society. For individuals, having fewer children and delaying childbearing may mean having more time and money to invest in each child and in their own personal development, as well as an increased opportunity to attain a higher standard of living. For society as a whole however, falling birth rates lead to an aging of the population and a shrinking of the labour force. While the overall impact of these changes is unclear, a smaller population may decrease tax revenues and federal transfer payments to New Brunswick. Moreover, a rising proportion of seniors increases demand for income security programs and medical care.
In New Brunswick in 1991, there were approximately 69,600 persons over the age of 15 years reporting a disability. In short, 12% of the New Brunswick population 15 years of age and older reported an activity limiting disability. Approximately 52% reported a ômildö disability, 34% reported a ômoderateö disability and 14% reported a ôsevereö disability.
Issue 28: Unemployment Rate Among Disabled Persons
The rate of employment placements for persons with disabilities remains very low relative to the general population. The unemployment rate in New Brunswick presently stands at 11.5%, and at the time of the 1991 census, the unemployment rate for disabled people stood at 16%. This has created a situation where many persons with disabilities have low incomes and little control over their circumstances. Therefore, there is a need to tap into this under utilized labour pool. It will not only help maintain a reasonable tax base when many of our baby boomers start retiring, but it will also increase their purchasing power, thus serve to stimulate the economic activity in the province.
Issue 29: Educational Attainment of Persons with Disabilities
More and more persons with disabilities are obtaining an education through inclusion in the public school system. However they are still not reaching and completing post-secondary education levels. Persons with "milder" disabilities report the highest levels of educational attainment while those who fall into the "moderate" and "severe" categories have the lowest educational attainment; 43% reported having no formal schooling or less than nine years of schooling.
Post-secondary educational institutions must be encouraged to develop more effective barrier-free access and support systems to increase the rate of participation by students with disabilities. There will be a growing market of such students who need training and a growing market to place such qualified students upon completion of training.
More than half of New Brunswickers (52.3%) live in rural areas. This is a remarkably high proportion in a country where, nationally, only 23.4% of people live in rural areas. The 1991 census reported that 378,690 people lived in rural New Brunswick compared to 345,215 in urban areas. New Brunswick is one of only three provinces in which rural growth exceeded urban expansion between 1981 and 1991. Correspondingly, population distribution in New Brunswick is tremendously scattered, with people residing in cities, towns, villages and parishes all over the province. This has significant implications in terms of provision of government service delivery.
Issue 30: Settlement Patterns and Service Provision in Rural Areas
Unlike the rest of Canada, rural areas of New Brunswick have been gaining population at a faster rate than urban areas. Similarly, non-incorporated areas have been growing at a faster rate than incorporated areas.
This urban sprawl and the non-controlled growth of settlement in rural areas has created significant pressures on resources and the natural environment. Unplanned and unregulated growth of residential, commercial and industrial uses has produced conflicts in unincorporated areas, while undermining the growth and tax base of municipalities. In turn, increasing costs to these taxpayers for the provision of basic services such as police, fire, ambulance, water and sewage services.
Issue 31: The Changing Face of Urban Municipalities
The aging of the population will require a rethinking of municipal service offerings and infrastructure requirements. Between 1995 and 2011, the "pre-senior" baby boomers will be demanding quality services which will be somewhat different from those which they required in their younger and middle years.
For instance, there will likely be a shift in focus from large, indoor sport-specific facilities to outdoor and home-based recreational and leisure activities. There will be pressure to improve transportation systems appropriate to the needs of the elderly. Pressure will be applied to maintain and protect green spaces, walking trails etc. within the community or its immediate vicinity. Further, demand may be placed on municipal governments to improve police and fire protection services, to provide adequate street lighting and other related services such as improved snow removal/sidewalk clearance services, etc. Increased demand for these services and numerous others, will be forthcoming as the baby boomers near the 65 plus age cohort.
Although New Brunswick has fared better than any other Atlantic province, according to Statistics Canada, New Brunswickers, as did other Canadians, saw a decrease in their real family incomes in 1993 over the previous year. Lone-parent families (almost 90% of which are headed by women) took the biggest hit. When inflation is considered, this downward trend has taken place since 1990. Furthermore, Canada's household debt load rose from 82% of after-tax income in 1992 to 90% in 1995. This has serious implications for the Canadian and New Brunswick economies.
With the rapid growth in the senior population that is expected over the next two or three decadesand the questions being raised about the future viability of government sponsored retirement programs, the extent to which current workers are making private provisions for retirement could become a critical issue. While increasing numbers of Canadians are taking advantage of tax incentives for retirement savings, there is still a substantial portion of the general population which is not yet making financial provisions for retirement.
Traditionally, the New Brunswick economy has performed close to national rates. Similar to the Canadian economy, the province is largely dependent on external economic activity, especially in the United States which is the destination of about two-thirds of our foreign shipments.
Issue 32: Slow Wage Growth, Depleted Savings and
|A few things are clear: the pace of change will not slow, the kinds
of skills needed in the workplace will change, and international competition
will continue to increase.|
James G. Frank, VP and chief Economist,
Conference Board of Canada
Current retirees are heavily dependent upon government administered and sponsored plans as sources of income. About 38% of all income received by seniors in New Brunswick is derived from OAS/GIS benefits, with another 18% from CPP payments. Other pension plans provide 22% and the remaining portion comes from other sources. This dependence is substantially greater for low income seniors. Close to three-quarters of all income received by Canadian seniors having 1993 income of less than $20,000 was derived from the OAS/GIS and CPP programs. The CPP has been increasing rapidly in importance. In 1993, CPP benefits were paid to 77% of all seniors in the province, up from 47% ten years earlier.
Women are particularly vulnerable, since when they reach retirement age they have access to lower incomes than men do. Many women in the past did not have a paid working career, and those who did tended to have low wages thus reaping significantly lower benefits when they retire. Therefore, because most women on average live longer than men and are more likely to live alone for an extended time period, they are more likely to have difficulty meeting costs for basic needs (housing, homecare services, transportation, prescriptions, etc.). This often results in a greater level of dependency to meet basic needs.
There are about 115,000 members of pension plans in the province, up only 6% since 1984. Over this same period employment increased 20%, thus pension coverage of workers has fallen in relative terms ( as it did nationally) to 41% of total employment. About 55% of these members are employed in the public sector.
|Personal savings are the hidden engines of prosperity-and debt is a
Editorial, Globe & Mail,
August 1, 1995
Participation in Registered Retirement Savings Plans has increased dramatically, more than doubling over the past ten years to 98,000 in 1994. In 1993, there were 163,000 residents of New Brunswick who received tax credits for contributions to a Registered Pension Plan and/or a RRSP. This compares to a total of 341,000 persons who had some employment income that year. The province's participation rate in these savings plans is about 82% of the national average.
The proportion of taxfilers making contributions to RPPs and RRSPs rises steadily with income. There is almost no participation among low income earners, while over 75% of all provincial returns with over $100,000 in income invested in RRSPs.
There also exists considerable variation in the degree and composition of retirement planning by occupation. About 54% of all taxfilers are classed as employees. Among employees of government, there is a high coverage by pension plans (74%), followed by institutions (51%). RRSP participation has been encouraged by the 1991 tax changes and 31% of government employees had tax credits in 1992 for RRSP contributions. Business employees were covered by RPPs only to the extent of 19%, and 27% participation in RRSPs. For other occupation groups, CPP participation is high among several (the self-employed, farmers, fishers and business proprietors), but RPPs are almost non-existent. Somewhat more than half of all self-employed taxfilers contributed to RRSPs.
Among the various age groups, participation in retirement savings was somewhat higher for the 45-54 age class than for the total population. This can be related both to income levels and the nearing of retirement age. Participation rates fade off in both directions.
It is thus clear that large numbers of New Brunswickers are making some provision for their impending retirement. It is also clear that substantial numbers are not, whether from the lack of income to do so, or based upon the expectation that government plans will be sufficient.
In New Brunswick, real growth in the economy will be lower than for Canada, but increased demand for food, forest, mineral and related manufactured products and telecommunication and business services will lead the economy. The overall contribution of the public sector in the economy is likely to be lessened given government downsizing and cuts to federal transfer payments. Population growth will be slower than in the last two decades, but progress should continue to be made on lowering the unemployment rate towards the national average.
Real growth in the New Brunswick economy is projected to average about 2.5% per year to the end of the century. This rate of growth will slow to 2.0% per year over the period from 2000 to 2010.
|New Brunswick continues to exploit its pro-business image and over the
past year has managed some further successes in the high-tech area.|
CIBC Regional Economist
It is interesting to note the shifts in employment that have occurred in various sectors, particularly as they affect our rural economy. In 1911 for instance, the largest employer in New Brunswick was the agricultural sector employing 38.3% of the labour force. Fishing and forestry-related employment made up 6.0% of the labour force. In 1991, agriculture-related employment made up only 2.1% of the labour force while fishing and forestry jobs saw a less dramatic decrease to 3.2% of the labour force.
Members of the "baby boom" generation have had a major influence on our economy and our society at each of their life-cycle stages. It is safe to say that they will continue to exert such influence throughout their remaining years. In 1971, the "boomers" were between the ages of 5 and 24 years; by 1991, they were in the 25 to 44 year age group and, by 2011, the majority of the baby boomers will be between the ages of 45 and 64. Their preferences and expectations will dominate overall demand for services in the area of leisure, sport, recreation and cultural activities.
|By 2041, people over 55 will have 45% of all country's leisure time,
time they will spend on organizations (such as churches and charities),
social occasions, sports, hobbies, and communications (such as letter writing
and the telephone), TV and radio, and reading.|
Service provision may need to shift from a concentration on addressing the needs and desires of youth and young adults to greater consideration of the requirements of an older population.
Older people prefer individual, non-structured, and less strenuous activities than they did in their youth. Given the projected aging of the population as the baby boom generation moves into the 45-64 year age group, growth in the participation rates of various activities will shift to reflect the interest of this older population. Interest in cultural activities such as visiting museums, art galleries, live theater including musicals, plays, ballets and symphonies tend to increase with age. Coincidentally, ecotourism is one of the fastest growing industries of the 90's. New Brunswick is well placed to meet this demand.
Areas that may have a negative impact from demographic shifts include decreased interest in live rock concerts, movies and sporting events such as downhill skiing, football, baseball, karate, etc. Moreover, as a result of the uncertain economic outlook for younger households, they are likely to be faced with increased pressures on their disposable income and will, therefore, need to be selective in the choices they make for recreation and leisure purposes. This could result in choices which are similar to those of their older neighbors--cheaper, more environmentally friendly, less consumptive activities which do not require large outlays of resources in order to participate.
New Brunswickers have an interest in a safe and secure environment, free of crime. Whether personally accused of a crime, convicted of crimes, victimized by crime, or their friends and family, they want to be treated fairly. The system must be accessible, capable of addressing our needs, and must reflect the changing composition of New Brunswick society.
There were 51,691 criminal incidents in New Brunswick (6,808 per 100,000) and 2,632,830 in Canada (9,002 per 100,000) in 1994. Crime rates are lower in New Brunswick than in the rest of Canada and rise the further westward and northward one travels in Canada. New BrunswickÆs court Statistics show that about 3% of our 1993/1994 population (44,964 adults; 2,824 youths) were charged with criminal code offenses and another 3% were charged with violations of provincial statutes.
|Homicide rates in Canada have remained stable for decades. But other
statistics suggest a rise in violent crime over the years that some have
linked less to an increase in incidents than a boost in the laying of charges.|
Professor Elliot Leyton,
Most crimes are committed by young adults (18-34 year olds) and the 16-17 year old young offender. Therefore, one would expect a decrease in numbers in a high crime age group would lead to a decrease in crime rates, but, the data does not support this assumption. Economic factors and social policy changes often override demographic changes. The instability of the family unit, lack of income security, and reduced employment opportunities may increase the disenfranchisement of our youth and increase the rate of participation in crime.
The types of crimes vary by age group. Young adults (18-24) represented 10% of the population in 1992, but were responsible for almost twice as many violent incidents. Adults (25-34) represent 17.4% of the population, yet were responsible for nearly three times as many violent incidents. Thus, offenders 18-34 were responsible for roughly half the violent and property crimes. As adults mature (35-44), their participation in crime is more comparable to their population proportion.
The decrease in the younger age groups over the past decade may account for the recent declines in property crimes in Canada and New Brunswick. Since motor vehicle thefts are most often committed by younger males, the decline in the 15-34 age group may lead to further decreases in this sub-category of property crime. However, the rise in violent crime is a concern, since it most often occurs in the older age group and this group's size is expected to increase.
"Survival" crimes by those who are poor, as well as an increase in fraud, tax evasion, smuggling, and drug trafficking are expected to rise. Moreover, most jurisdictions in Canada are expecting increases in white collar crime and technological crimes in the future.
Approximately 75% of young offenders came from a family where one parent was an alcoholic. Over 75% demonstrated evidence of poor self-esteem and 67% has a history of being victims of child abuse (physical and sexual). The majority had psychological problems, were two years behind academically, and 17% had been diagnosed with a learning disability. Likewise, most persons found guilty of committing crimes tend to be unemployed, under-educated and live in low-income households, often with a single-parent.
|Violent youth crime in Canada appears to have increased in recent years.
While violent offenses still account for a small proportion of all youth
crimes, increasing numbers of young people are being charged and tried for
violent crimes. It is unclear, however, to what extent these increases stem
from actual changes in the behavior patterns of young people, from heightened
sensitivity to youth violence, or from changes in law enforcement practices
and in the administration of youth justice.|
Canadian Social Trends,
Illegal or criminal behavior seldom appears without other dysfunctional or anti-social symptoms also surfacing. Problems in school, substance abuse resulting in medical intervention, emotional or mental problems, illiteracy, a history of physical abuse, as abuser or victim, poverty and joblessness can all contribute to criminal behavior. Experience shows that mechanisms must be developed to identify these early warnings, and strategies must be developed to try to deal with the escalation of this type of behavior and prevent the youth from being dealt with in the justice system.
In 1994, the median age of a victim of violent crime was 27 and most were 45 and under; the same age range as the offender. The majority of victims were assaulted, and most were common assaults and sexual assaults. Victims of sexual assault are more often 12-34, while victims of common assaults are more likely to be older (18-44), as are robbery victims.
Females represented one half of victims of violent crimes in 1994, accounting for most sexual assaults victims (85%) and more than half of victims of assault level 1 crimes (54%). Males were more often the victims of robbery and assault level 2 and 3 (70%).
Those most at risk of victimization are young children and women because of the high rates of sexual assaults against them.