British Columbia including Victoria will face a shortage of labour as its remaining workforce grows older but also more diverse (Black Press files)

Greater Victoria workforce gets older but also more diverse

By 2036, Greater Victoria will have roughly two workers for every person 65 years and older

New figures project that Victoria’s workforce is going to be older but also more diverse by 2036.

According to Statistics Canada, Census Metropolitian Areas in British Columbia outside of Vancouver recorded 3.3 labour force members aged 15 years and older for every individual 65 years and older outside the labour force. This ratio of workers-to-retirees will drop to 2.3 in 2036. This predicted ratio would be below the predicted ratio for Vancouver’s CMA (3.0) but above the ratio for rural British Columbia (1.9), which will have one of the oldest working forces anywhere in Canada, tied with rural Ontario and just ahead of urban Quebec not including Montreal (1.8) and rural Quebec (1.6).

RELATED: Skilled worker shortage hangs over B.C. industrial growth

(By way of context, the Territories will continue to have the youngest workforce in Canada with a ratio of 5.6, down from 9.6. Among the ten provinces, urban Alberta will have the youngest workforce with a ratio of 4.6, down from 6.1).

Overall, by 2036, Canada could have fewer than three people in the labour force for every person aged 65 and over who is not in the labour force, and one in fpour people in the labour force could be 55 or over

Not surprisingly, demographers expect that fewer Canadians will work in the future. While Canada’s labour force participation rate is the highest among G7 countries with 66 per cent in 2017, it will fall under all five projected scenario, with the only question being by how much, as Canadian society ages, and the baby boomers retire.

This said, immigration could help, and the report sketches out various immigration scenarios that will ultimately stabilize, if not grow the labour force.

Without out immigration, Canada’s labour force would actually begin to contract in 2022 and would fall below 19 million people by 2036, the report notes.

Ultimately, all labour force scenarios show a strong increase in ethnocultural diversity, with the share of workers born outside of Canada in 2036 ranging between 30 per cent at the low end and 37 per cent at the high end.

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