senior colleague back to work with face mask greeting on each other in office morning stock photo
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While policymakers are leaning on immigration to offset Canada’s aging population, new research from Statistics Canada suggests that most workers would push back retirement if they could curb their hours and workplace stress.

Based on the results of StatsCan’s labour force survey that was carried out in early June, the national statistical agency reported that 21.8% of Canadians between the ages of 55 and 59 years old are either fully or partially retired. This jumps to 44.9% of 60 to 64 year olds, and to 80.5% for those aged 65 to 69. Over the age of 70, 90% are retired.

According to the report, retirees said financial and health considerations were the top factors in determining when to retire.

“People retiring for health or disability reasons were more likely to have stopped working at a younger age,” the report said. On average, workers with health issues retired almost four years earlier than those who made their decision based primarily on financial considerations.

Looking ahead, StatsCan said, “As the population continues to age, employers may want to develop incentives to retain experienced workers, and some seniors may choose to work longer if they could reduce their hours and their stress.”

In fact, the report noted that, among workers who said they’re planning to retire, more than half (55.1%) said they would hold off on retirement if they were able to work part-time, and 48.9% said they would keep working if they could reduce their hours without impacting their pension.

Additionally, it found that 43% of near-retirees said they would keep working if their work was less stressful or less physically taxing; 34.2% would keep working for pay increases; and 29.3% said they’d keep working if their health improved.

“As the Canadian population ages, the number of retirees increases, which puts downward pressure on labour supply and can lead to shortages of skilled and experienced workers. It may also create challenges for employers, including increased training and recruitment costs,” StatsCan said.

However, it noted that “increased labour force participation among older workers can help alleviate the impacts of population aging on the labour market.”