The deficits announced in Ottawa’s fall economic statement remind us that previous governments never worked out how to pay for the healthy retirement of baby boomers. The personal finances of younger Canadians are collateral damage.
Despite historic government investments in child care, Canadian families still find themselves squeezed by rising costs, scarce supports, and services that are difficult to access. Government budgets still invest more urgently in retirees than younger Canadians — even when new child care spending is added in. Gen Squeeze is paving the way for much-needed policy change with a new solutions framework to support young families.
Nobody likes to be challenged about whether they earned all that they have. Some get defensive when I talk about winning the “lottery of timing” by becoming a homeowner years ago, or when I raise concerns that younger Canadians inherit unaffordability and climate problems in which I’m partly implicated. Breaking through this defensiveness is necessary if Canada is to work once again for young and old alike.
Today, November 16, 2023, is the first global Intergenerational Fairness Day. The urgent need to reverse the deteriorating well-being of younger and future generations stretches beyond Canada. Voices from the US, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Japan, Nigeria, and Australia as well as United Nations Foundation Next Generation Fellows have joined together to call on governments to preserve what is sacred – a healthy childhood, home, and planet – so that we can all be proud of the legacy we leave for those who follow.
Financial security matters more for our health than access to doctors. Whether you are concerned about declining affordability or growing medical care pressures, governments need to better balance spending on medical care with other priorities that are critical to our well-being, such as reducing poverty, the costs of housing and child care, and climate risks.
The sustainability of OAS is under threat as our population ages. Ottawa should review outdated tax shelters for retirees that drain billions in revenue and could otherwise help cover rising OAS costs.
We’ll never be able to fix today’s affordability, housing, medical care, and climate crises without understanding and resolving the intergenerational tensions at their core. Here are five impacts a federal Generational Fairness Task Force will have on key decisions made at Cabinet and Treasury tables.
Gen Squeeze supporter Mary Peirson (MD, CCFP) recently wrote to us, “We have an ageist federal government – one that favours older Canadians and retirees in particular.” Here's one brave Baby Boomer's take on policies that prop up generational unfairness.
Talk of “youth issues” is distracting, drawing attention from the root causes of the problems, which have less to do with younger generations than their treatment by older ones as a result of past policy decisions. To begin to fix this, Ottawa should launch a general fairness council to investigate why Canada no longer works fairly for all generations.