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The data collected for the Canadian Survey of Older Workers paints a picture of the directions that older workers in Canada wish to pursue in terms of future work and retirement plans. The survey also provided some context of how recent retirees have approached retirement and examined the factors that influence the decision-making process involved in choosing between work and retirement or some middle-ground.
With ongoing uncertainty clouding the economic environment and the long awaited retirement of older Canadians from the labour force moving into high speed, it is difficult to gauge how forthcoming labour market adjustments and possible changes to pension programs will influence the decisions of older Canadian workers with regard to the work-retirement balance.
This report has provided a first look at the data collected by the Survey of Older Workers providing some insight into how older workers in Canada (50 to 75) are thinking about work and retirement. In the context of this monograph we have examined labour force attachment and found that 90% of workers were satisfied or very satisfied with their current position and that workers' in Atlantic Canada indicated being less stressed. It was also observed that self-employment was higher for older male workers than other groups. A second area of investigation encompassed the displacement and unemployment of older workers and the concerns this raised for older workers. Based on the survey data it was found that 73% of those aged 50 and over who had experienced a displacement were working at the time of the survey either in a new job or at their old job.
A key backdrop to labour market and pension policy discussions surrounds the topic of retirement expectations. The survey data clearly indicated a bi-modal distribution when it came to retiring from a current job, with the clear majority of older workers planning to retire at the age of 65 from both their job and the labour force. Not surprisingly the most important reason for "first retirement" was financial readiness (30%). Looking at the sources of retirement income the "primary" planned source would be workplace pensions, though the majority of older workers clearly indicated that CPP / QPP (96%) would be a part of their income stream in retirement. It was also determined in the survey that only 44% of respondents currently working plan to draw their CPP / QPP at age 60, though of those who were currently retired 69% were drawing their CPP / QPP.