Canada needs to reduce barriers to employing older workers as the aging population grows, a report from PwC says.

Canada ranked 16 out of 34 OECD countries in PwC’s Golden Age Index, a weighted average of seven measures for workers aged 55-69, including employment rate, training and earnings.

Canadians over 65 will make up nearly one-quarter of the population by 2031, and the number of Canadian workers over the age 65 has increased by 140% over the past decade, the report says. Greater engagement of workers aged 55-69 could lead to US$51.3 billion in GDP growth, it said.

Automation is of particular concern for older workers, according to the report, as jobs demanding more digital skills are often filled by younger workers. Governments and businesses should offer technology training to improve employability, it says, as well as training on resumé writing and job search skills.

“Addressing how older workers can actively participate in the labour workforce and implementing supportive work environments and policies are key to Canada’s future economic prosperity,” says Karen Forward, a partner at PwC Canada, in a release.

The report also notes the prevalence of age-based discrimination. Employers should provide incentives for older workers, including phased retirement, mentorship programs and flexible work.

Read the full report here.

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