June 7, 2017
What impact will the aging population have on employment in Quebec? That is the question addressed in a scientific paper co-authored by Professor Pierre-Carl Michaud and a team of researchers, who have just won an honourable mention in the 2017 Vanderkamp Prize competition. They received this distinction at the annual conference of the Canadian Economics Association, held in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, from June 2 to 4.
The paper entitled “Projecting the Impact of Population Aging on the Quebec Labour Market,” took second place in this prestigious competition, out of a list of 46 papers published in 2016 in Canadian Public Policy. It was written by a team of six researchers, most of them affiliated with the Industrial Alliance Research Chair on the Economics of Demographic Change: Luc Bissonnette, David Boisclair, François Laliberté-Auger, Steeve Marchand and Carole Vincent, in addition to Pierre-Carl Michaud.
The authors of the study wanted to determine whether it is reasonable to be concerned about the negative impact of Quebec’s aging population on employment levels in the coming decades. Using a simulation model, they created some possible projections of employment trends in the province over the next few decades, using survey data on Quebeckers’ employment, age and education. The simulations were repeated dozens of times to produce reliable projections, and the authors concluded from their most plausible scenario that, contrary to expectations, we can expect sustained growth in employment levels in Quebec between now and 2050.
The authors take a reassuring tone, asserting that demographic changes will not lead to a decline in employment in Quebec. These favourable projections are based mainly on the expectation that workers in the coming decades will be better educated and that experienced workers will remain on the job longer. In other words, Quebec in 2050 could see an employment rate among older workers equivalent to that currently observed in countries like Japan, Switzerland and Norway.