Canada’s oldest seniors present unique challenges for policy-makers

More older old Canadians than ever: census

OTTAWA — Canada’s aging baby boomers are once again getting the lion’s share of attention as they swell the ranks of the oldest people in the country.

However, one expert says it’s not just newly minted senior citizens who should be on our radar screen — it’s those who are over 85, a group that grew almost 20 per cent in the last five years.

According to census data released today by Statistics Canada, there were 770,780 Canadians aged 85 or older in 2016.

This cohort grew almost four times as fast as the Canadian population as a whole between 2011 and 2016.

As the baby boomers continue to age, coupled with the fact people are living longer, the population of older seniors is going to just get bigger.

It poses new challenges for government programs including health care and housing.

C.D. Howe Institute associate research director Colin Busby says this is a population that hasn’t received much attention.

Almost two-thirds of this population is female, as women live longer than men on average. The ratio of females to males did however drop very slightly, to 65 per cent in 2016 from 68 per cent in 2011.

The Canadian Press