Measuring the Age Gap in Canadian Social Spending
This paper documents a method to measure how Canadian social spending breaks down by age. This kind of analysis is crucial in assessing Canada's progress towards generational equity.

Why we wrote this report

Canadian governments don't invest equally in people of different ages. We call this difference in social spending the "age gap" or the "generational spending gap." 

It's only natural and laudable to spend more on Canadians as they age to protect their health and financial security. But do those natural differences account for the entire generational spending gap, or is something else going on? Is there currently a tendency to prioritize the needs of some generations over others?

To help answer that question we first need to start with a rigorous methodology to measure the age gap in public spending. This paper outlines Gen Squeeze's methodological approach. Provincial and federal governments should incorporate this type analysis into their annual budgeting process.

We need to increase the degree of transparency and generational equity in public spending. 

Key takeaways 


  • Canadians of all ages deserve adequate government attention & investment. 

  • The methodology described in this report can be adapted by provincial and federal governments to routinely assess the age distribution of social spending.

  • At the time of this report, Canadian governments combined spend between $33,321 and $40,152 per person age 65+, $13,635 and $14,800 per person age 45 to 64, and $10,406 and $11,614 per person under 45.

How you can use this report:

We'd like provincial and federal governments to take over this analysis, conducted annually and as a matter of public transparency, so:

Consider sharing this page with your provincial and federal representatives, and anyone else who might be interested!   

Download the full study

Paul Kershaw
Dr. Paul Kershaw is a Professor in the University of British Columbia's School of Population and Public Health, and the Founder of Generation Squeeze.
Canadian governments should start tracking how public spending breaks down by age. Here's how, via @GenSqueeze:
Measuring the Age Gap in Canadian Social Spending
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