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Canada is losing jobs — but the economy is losing more workers to retirement, too

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More than a year after grand resignation took hold in the United States, Canada is now working on its own gray version: grand retirement.

Canada’s workforce rose in August but remains smaller than it was before the summer as it fell in the past two months and tens of thousands simply quit their jobs. According to Statistics Canada, much of this can be attributed to more Canadians retiring than ever before.

It’s not just the 65+ crowd cleaning up their offices and hanging their tool belts. A record number of Canadians aged 55 to 64 reported having retired within the past 12 months, the agency’s data show.

This has fueled a massive exodus of some of Canada’s most highly skilled workers. Businesses are in turmoil and wages are rising sharply, threatening to further dampen the country’s productivity decline, economists say.

Jimmy Jean, chief economist at Desjardins Group, said: “We knew for a long time that this wave was coming, that we were going to hit this moment. “And it’s only going to intensify in the next few years.

“The risk you have, which we have already seen in some sectors, is people leaving without enough young workers to take over. is lost.”

Pandemic delayed some retirement plans

Retirees declined during the COVID-19 pandemic as many Canadians decided to stay in the workforce longer. Now that restrictions have been lifted, many are scrambling to make up for lost time, choosing to travel and spend more time with their families.

Their retirement is shrinking the workforce and weighing on economic growth as central banks aggressively raise interest rates to combat rapid inflation, fueling fears the economy is headed for recession. There is likely to be.

Canada, which has increased immigration to fuel economic growth, has the largest working-age population in the G7 and an ever-aging workforce, according to Statistics Canada. increase. Her 1 in 5 Canadian workers are over the age of 55.


307,000 Canadians left their jobs to retire at some point last year in August, up 31.8% from a year ago and 12.5% ​​more than in August 2019, before the pandemic hit. Said.

Adding to the problem, more than 620,000 Canadians fell into the 65+ category during the pandemic, a 9.7% increase in that population group. Job openings and vacancies are well above pre-pandemic levels despite three consecutive months of unemployment.

nurse and truck driver

Retirement issues are particularly acute in skilled fields such as trade and nursing. Since May, Canada has lost his 34,400 jobs in the medical sector, despite a record number of nurses reporting overtime hours.

According to Kathryn Hoy, president of the Ontario Nurses Association, they weren’t cut jobs, but rather retired people.

Citing the pandemic, working conditions and wage disputes with Canada’s largest province, he said, “This is a big problem right now because so many people are leaving unexpectedly.”

The transportation industry is also grappling with severe labor shortages, both due to the pandemic’s frenzy for more goods and an aging workforce.

“More and more drivers are aging, so they are retiring or considering alternative lifestyles,” said the owner of Trans Canada College, a vocational school that trains truck drivers. Tony Reader said.

At the same time, there is a surge in demand from trucking companies, many of whom are recruiting student drivers for on-the-job training courses and as soon as they are fully licensed, Reeder said.

“Without trucks or people driving trucks, goods are stored in ports and warehouses rather than arriving at destinations where they can be consumed,” he said.

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