Our story starts with a simple, unfortunate reality. While Canada’s economy is more prosperous than ever, younger generations are struggling with lower earnings, higher costs, growing debts and a deteriorating environment. We call this “The Squeeze”.
But, governments have been slow to adapt for younger generations. So we cope by working more to afford our homes, pay off debts, pay our kids’ childcare and save for retirement. But as costs rapidly rise, it is getting harder for many of us.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Born out of research conducted in UBC’s School of Population Health, Generation Squeeze exposes the systemic roots of the squeeze and pushes for solutions to improve health and wellbeing for all generations, from the early years onwards.
That’s why we built a movement to “Squeeze back” 💪! Powered by Canadians in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and the older Canadians who love them and their kids.
If you're someone who believes in a Canada that works for all generations and you want to make it a reality, you have a place in this movement.
What we do
We share our research with the public so that everyone knows about the squeeze, how we can fix it and the changes to policy that are required.
Grow our movement
We empower Canadians from across the country to join us by getting informed, and sharing evidence about solutions to ease the squeeze.
We mobilize that power by supporting Canadians to share evidence about policy solutions with decision-makers. Check out opportunities to take action.
We provide advice to governments when they seek out our expertise.
All of our work is backed by cutting edge research from the Gen Squeeze Lab at UBC.
We have solutions
To fix the squeeze, we propose comprehensive solutions for these four problems that impact Canadians, especially younger generations:
The housing squeeze
Our plan to ensure all Canadians can afford a good home in co-ops, as renters or owners. Learn more.
The family squeeze
Our plan to expand parental benefits, lower childcare costs and give parents more work-life balance. Learn more.
The climate squeeze
Our plan to tackle climate change that is putting people's lives and livelihoods in jeopardy. Learn more.
The government budget squeeze
Our plan for fairer generational spending and revenue collection in Canada's budgets to promote wellbeing from the early years onwards. Learn more.
How we make solutions a reality
We implement solutions by using our research to educate and mobilize Canadians to:
- Influence provincial and federal governments to build better budgets
- Influence political parties to build better election platforms (and then better budgets)
- Study and report on budgets and platforms so the public can make well-informed judgements about whether these government and party plans are in line with the evidence
Why budgets? Government budgets shape all policies. That means, if we want policies for housing affordability, child care, climate change, wellbeing and intergenerational fairness, it needs to be in the budget.
Why party platforms? The platforms featured by parties during elections directly shape future budgets, if they win elections. That means, if we can get parties to commit to policies that will help younger Canadians, we are more likely to get governments that implement budgets that work for all generations and promote wellbeing.
Are you ready to push for solutions with us?
Sign up in Support of our Mission. Our power to influence solutions grows with the size of our network.
Take action with us.
Donate. All of our activities to educate, advocate and advise take resources. So even if you personally are short on time to engage, you can be a strong supporter of Gen Squeeze by investing in others to engage on your behalf.
The Gen Squeeze Ecosystem
The Gen Squeeze Research and Knowledge Mobilization Lab is hosted in the University of BC School of Population & Public Health, and affiliated with the Human Early Learning Partnership. It is led by Gen Squeeze Founder, Dr. Paul Kershaw, who is also the Director of the Masters of Public Health Program at UBC.
The Lab partners directly with the Association for Generational Equity (AGE), which is the Gen Squeeze non-profit, and is in the process of applying to become a charity. AGE performs applied research and educational activities, and disseminates research evidence to tens of thousands of citizens across the country, to build public support for our vision of a Canada that works for all generations. AGE aims to grow enough public support to increase the likelihood that governments will adapt policy to align with our evidence-based policy solutions. Dr. Kershaw is the volunteer Chair of the AGE Board. AGE’s volunteer Directors are Anita Minh and Kaitlyn Shannon. AGE’s volunteer Members are Jennifer Fox and Verena Rossa-Roccor.
The Lab and AGE operate under the trademarked banner of Generation Squeeze, an innovative university-community collaboration. Together, we are a force for intergenerational fairness, to improve Canada’s wellbeing, powered by the voices of Gens X, Y and Z, along with those who love us – all backed by cutting-edge research.
Andrea Long is the Senior Director for Research and Knowledge Mobilization at Generation Squeeze, managing the interactions between the Lab and AGE.
Gen Squeeze, via AGE, contracts with several “knowledge to action” (K2A) consultants who help disseminate and make meaning of our research for the general public, and for our existing network of tens of thousands of allies. These K2A consultants support citizens to share evidence directly with decision-makers, as democratic engagement is a key tool to raise public awareness and inform the world of politics. Gen Squeeze, via AGE, also provides an opportunity for university students to gain practical experience mobilizing knowledge into action via practicums, paid internships, etc. Gen Squeeze provides UBC students with a unique case study from which to learn when studying “Knowledge to Action in Population Health” as part of their education in the Masters of Public Health program at UBC.
Presently, Gen Squeeze contracts with a team of talented K2A consultants at Impact Public Affairs: Nicholas Schiavo, Brianna Workman, Sophie Normand, Jasmine Nahfawi, Amelia Chant and Khoi Nguyen. The activities they perform for Gen Squeeze align with the definitions of knowledge translation and knowledge mobilization developed by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Together, the Lab and AGE produce academic and community research, educate the public, and mobilize evidence about policy solutions to address worrisome developments in the social determinants of health that have become big intergenerational problems related to housing affordability, family affordability, climate change and wellbeing. We synthesize this research into four Solutions Frameworks.
Our Solutions Frameworks are informed by evidence from teams of experts with whom Gen Squeeze partners.
Our growing focus on wellbeing draws from the work of a new, emerging team – the Better Budgets for Wellbeing Network. Led by Dr. Kershaw, this network brings together Dr. Daniel Dutton (Dalhousie), Dr. Lindsay McLaren (U of Calgary), Trish Hennessy (Think Upstream, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives), Olivier Bellefleur (Scientific Director, National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy), and Dr. Claire Betker (Scientific Director, National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health). The Network also integrates knowledge users, including Dr. Kelsey Lucyk (Public Health Agency of Canada), Cheryl May (Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Housing in the BC government), Jacob Gorenkoff (Canadian Housing Renewal Association), Steffan Jones (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation), Morna Ballantyne (Child Care Now), Liz Weaver (Tamarack Institute), Scott MacAfee (National Advisory Council on Poverty), Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (MP, Government of Canada). This research team is supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, “Budgeting for All Generations,” as well as an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Tamara Krawchenko (U of Victoria).
Our focus on housing draws from our participation in multiple groups. One is our unique collaboration with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) on the Solutions Lab titled “Wealth and the Problem of Housing Inequity across Generations,” which Gen Squeeze led in partnership with CMHC colleagues Steffan Jones, Aleeya Velji and Andrew Cowan. This Lab involved over 60 industry, community and academic experts across three working groups that focused on the role of monetary & lending policy, tax policy, and protective policy as factors influencing housing unaffordability.
Monetary & lending policy working group members: Adnan Haider (IBM’s Financial Services Practice), Dr. Angela Redish (UBC), Dr. Christopher Ragan (McGill), Ed Steel (Mortgage & Title Insurance Industry Association of Canada), Josef Filipowicz (CMHC), Dr. Lu Han (U of Toronto), Dr. Lynette Purda (Queen’s University), Paul Taylor (Mortgage Professionals Canada), Pedro Antunes (Conference Board of Canada), and Preet Banerjee (MoneyGaps).
Tax policy working group members: Dr. Elisabeth Gugl (U of Victoria), Gillian Petit (U of Calgary), John Dickie (Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations), Dr. Lindsay McLaren (U of Calgary), Marc Lee (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, BC Office), Shahar Rotberg (CMHC), Steve Pomeroy (Focus Consulting Inc.), and Dr. Tom Davidoff (UBC).
Protective policy working group members: Aleeya Velji (CMHC), Anastasia Mourogova (Dark Matter Labs), Dallas Alderson (Co-Operative Housing Federation of Canada), Duncan MacRae (Watershed Partners), Eric Swanson (Third Space Planning, and former Co-Executive Director of Gen Squeeze who leaves a proud legacy), Jason Allen John (Partna, and independent Mortgage Broker), Jill Atkey, (BC Non-Profit Housing Association), Kira Gerwing (Vancity Credit Union), Kristjana Loptson (CMHC), Nick Montgomery (Arts in Action Society), Thom Armstrong (Co-Operative Housing Federation of BC), and Vicki Martin (CMHC).
A second important network of housing scholars with which Gen Squeeze collaborates is the Balanced Supply of Housing University-Community partnership, funded by a partnership grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Dr. Penny Gurstein is the Principal Investigator, Dr. Kershaw is the Co-Principal Investigator, and fellow investigators include Dr. Tom Davidoff (UBC), Dr. Alexandra Flynn (UBC), Dr. Lu Han (U of Toronto), Dr. Susannah Bunce (U of Toronto), Dr. Alan Walks (U of Toronto), Dr. Nik Luka (McGill), Dr. David Wachsmuth (McGill), Dr. Jean-Philippe Meloche (U of Montreal), Dr. Martine August (U of Waterloo). The Balanced Supply of Housing Team also includes 14 community partner organizations, and dozens of additional collaborators. This team has played a key role developing the latest version of the comprehensive housing policy framework on which Gen Squeeze relies to ease the housing squeeze. The Balanced Supply of Housing team is part of the broader Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative.
Our focus on family policy draws on research led by Dr. Kershaw, Lynell Anderson, Dr. Clyde Hertzman, Dr. Barry Forer and others at the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), a research centre at the University of BC in which the Gen Squeeze Lab is located. HELP has served as an international knowledge hub about early child development, and its impact on life-long health. Elements of our family policy framework align with, and draw from, the work of the national Child Care Now movement and the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and its $10aDay plan. The Coalition embraced the $10aday branding initiated by Generation Squeeze over a decade ago for the national child care recommendations we had developed in partnership with other HELP colleagues. Along with Early Childhood Educators of BC, the Coalition has done an amazing job mobilizing British Columbians around a concrete plan to bring $10 a day child care to life. Together, our complementary activities have had national influence, given that the federal government has recently embraced the $10 a day idea for its historic child care investment in the 2021 federal budget. Our family policy research is ongoing in partnership with a pan-Canadian group of early development scholars, including Dr. Barry Forer (UBC), Dr. Martin Guhn (UBC), Dr. Magdalena Janus (McMaster), Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine (U of Saskatchewan), Dr. Marni Brownell (U of Manitoba), and others.
Our focus on climate policy is supported by research from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, and especially the expertise of David Sawyer, its principal economist. Our framework aggregates and adds to existing policy frameworks including the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, the Generation Energy framework, the Re-energizing Canada pathways, the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience, the report of Project Drawdown, and the 2021 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Andrea has over 20 years of experience in policy analysis, research and knowledge mobilization on health and social issues, including housing and homelessness, poverty, social determinants of health, and health in all policies. She has worked in both the non-profit sector and for government departments and agencies, which has given her a broad understanding of the policy process, and ways to motivate change. Over the last decade, Andrea has been a key champion for the development of ‘health in all policies’ approaches in Canada, in collaboration with key partners like the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy and Generation Squeeze. Andrea lives on the unceded traditional territory of the Katzie People in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia.
Dr. Paul Kershaw is a tenured professor at the University of BC, public speaker, regular media contributor and Founder of Generation Squeeze – a force for intergenerational fairness, to improve Canada's wellbeing, powered by the voices of younger Canadians and those who love them -- all backed by cutting-edge research. Kershaw is one of Canada’s leading thinkers about generational equity.
He received the award for Academic of the Year in 2016 from the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC. Twice the Canadian Political Science Association has honoured Kershaw with national prizes for his gender and politics research. He and his Gen Squeeze colleagues received the award for BC’s Affordable Housing Champion in 2017 from the provincial Housing Central coalition, while the Government of Canada awarded Kershaw its inaugural prize for excellence in moving “Knowledge to Action” on housing in 2018.
Kershaw’s work has contributed directly to historic investments in BC child care, the first ever tax on empty homes in North America, eliminating limitless rent increases in Ontario for units built before 2019, changes to municipal zoning, approval of dozens of new rental housing developments facing NIMBY’ism, a shift in BC to reduce income taxes by taxing unhealthy home prices more, and the first-ever reporting of age trends in federal public finance. Most recently, Kershaw successfully led the Intergenerational Climate Coalition to intervene in Saskatchewan and Ontario Courts to defend the constitutionality of pricing pollution on the grounds it is needed to promote population health and intergenerational equity.
Kershaw is a policy professor in the UBC School of Population and Public Health, and Director of the UBC Masters of Public Health program.
Anita is a population health scientist whose research has explored how the transition from school to work can create mental health inequalities for young people.
Jennifer is a founding member of the Association for Generational Equity (our national non-profit).