: Ontario's Long-Term Report on the Economy
Chapter 1: Population and Labour Force Trends and Projections

INTRODUCTION

Ontario’s long-term demographic outlook has significant economic and fiscal implications. This chapter presents population and labour force trends unfolding in the province and discusses their potential impacts. There are six key trends:

  1. Moderate population growth;
  2. Population growth sustained by immigration;
  3. Population aging;
  4. Slower growth of the core working-age group;
  5. Declining overall labour force participation rate; and
  6. Concentration of population growth in the Greater Toronto Area.

These demographic trends have far-reaching economic and fiscal implications:

  • Population aging and slower growth of the working-age group may restrain future economic growth unless productivity growth accelerates.
  • As immigration becomes the main source of labour force growth, it will be crucial to help newcomers smoothly integrate into the labour market. The federal government will need to provide greater support to achieve this goal.
  • Increased participation of older workers, youth and other underrepresented groups in the labour force will need to be encouraged to mitigate the impact of baby boomers leaving the workforce.
  • Population growth and aging will increase pressure on government spending, notably on health care and infrastructure, as well as on transfer programs and services for seniors.
  • Regional differences in population growth and age structure will create challenges for government service delivery and require targeted policy responses.

Demographic Trends and Projections

This section discusses six important population and labour force trends unfolding in Ontario. The population projections on which the demographic outlook is based are the latest from the Ontario Ministry of Finance (Spring 2013). The assumptions behind the projections reflect past trends in all streams of migration and the continuing evolution of long-term fertility and mortality patterns. While these assumptions are believed to be reasonable, there is uncertainty in the projections. Although this report presents the medium scenario, low and high scenarios for population projections are also produced to reflect this uncertainty.

1. Moderate Population Growth

Since 1971, Ontario population growth has averaged 1.3 per cent annually. The provincial population grew from 7.8 million in 1971 to 13.5 million in 2013, rising on average by over 135,000 per year. Ontario’s share of the Canadian population also grew, from 35.7 per cent in 1971 to 38.5 per cent in 2013.

Over the period to 2035, Ontario’s population is projected to continue growing moderately, at an average annual rate close to 1.1 per cent. The provincial population is projected to grow from 13.5 million in 2013 to 17.2 million in 2035, adding another 3.7 million people over the period.

Interprovincial Migration

Historically, the contribution of interprovincial migration to Ontario’s population growth has been negligible, with cycles of gains usually followed by periods of losses in a pattern closely tied to economic cycles. However, in any specific year, net gains or losses of people to/from other provinces have had a significant impact on annual population growth rates in the province.

2. Population Growth Sustained by Immigration

Population growth occurs through natural increase (births minus deaths) and net migration (net international plus net interprovincial migration). Over the past four decades, the share of population growth accounted for by natural increase has declined, due to falling fertility rates and population aging.

In the 1970s, about two-thirds of population growth came from natural increase. More recently, natural increase accounted for less than 40 per cent of Ontario’s population growth.

Over the next two decades, as fertility rates remain relatively low and population aging continues, this downward trend is projected to continue. By 2035, only about one-fifth of population growth is projected to come from natural increase.

As a consequence of this decline in natural increase, net migration is set to become even more important to sustaining population growth in the province.

The largest component of net migration is immigration. Annual immigration as a share of population is projected to rise slightly over the next few years to reach 0.9 per cent of the population by 2020 and continue at this rate until 2035. This compares with Ontario’s average annual immigration rate of about one per cent over the last 20 years.

3. Population Aging

Low fertility rates and increasing life expectancies have for decades contributed to the aging of population. Life expectancy at birth for men increased from 72.0 years in 1980 to 79.8 years in 2010, and for women from 78.9 years to 83.9 years. By 2035, life expectancy is projected to reach 85.1 years for men and 87.7 years for women.

In the western world, the aging of large cohorts of baby boomers, born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, is compounding the population aging phenomenon.

In 1971, almost half of Ontario’s population was aged 25 and under, and seniors accounted for only eight per cent of the population. Today, less than a third of the population is aged 0–25 and seniors account for 15 per cent of the total.

The arrival of baby boomers into the 65 and over age group began in 2011. The number of seniors is projected to almost double to 4.1 million by 2035, from 2.1 million in 2013. Even faster growth is projected for the oldest age group during this period, with the population aged 90 and over almost tripling (+189 per cent). By 2035, seniors will account for 23.8 per cent of Ontario’s population.

Population Aging in Perspective

The pace of population aging varies around the world. In 2012, Ontario and Canada had shares of seniors slightly below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 15.3 per cent, but significantly lower than the Eurozone’s 18.9 per cent. In Italy and Germany, one in five residents is already aged 65 and over. At 24.4 per cent in 2012, Japan’s share of seniors was already higher than what is projected for Ontario in 2035 (23.8 per cent).

4. Slower Growth of the Core Working-Age Group

As with many Western nations, growth in the core working-age population (ages 15–64) was mainly driven by young people turning 15 and immigration. In the 1960s and 1970s, baby boomers joined the 15–64 age group, swelling its ranks. In the 2000s, their children, the echo generation, became of working age. Over the past 40 years, Ontario’s core working-age population almost doubled, growing at an average annual rate of 1.5 per cent.

From now until the late 2020s, the passage of large cohorts of baby boomers into retirement age will be the main factor influencing the moderation of growth in the core working-age group. By 2031, once all baby boomers have exited the core working-age group, the pace of growth will increase but be lower than historical standards.

Over the period to 2035, the core working-age population (aged 15 to 64) is projected to increase by 12 per cent — an average annual increase of 0.5 per cent. By 2035, Ontario’s core working-age population is projected to number 10.4 million and to account for 60.5 per cent of the population, down from 68.6 per cent in 2013.

Starting in 2015, more people will turn 65 than young people turn 15, meaning that growth of the core working-age group will come exclusively from net migration.

5. Declining Overall Labour Force Participation Rate

As growth in the core working-age population slows, Ontario’s labour force will also grow at a slower pace. Population aging is expected to result in a declining rate of overall labour force participation in Ontario.

The most significant trend driving the aggregate labour force participation rate since the 1970s has been the increase in the number of women in the workforce. Labour force participation rates for adult women have risen dramatically, from 57 per cent in 1976 to 82 per cent in 2013. This trend, however, is moderating as core working-age female labour force participation rates approach those of similarly aged males. It is projected that 25- to 54-year-old female labour force participation rates will climb to 89 per cent by 2035, just below those of males of the same age.

Despite continued gains in labour force participation, women are still underrepresented in leadership positions such as on boards of directors and in executive positions. This is one of the reasons the Ontario Securities Commission has published rule amendments for comment that would include a requirement for certain public companies to annually disclose their policies regarding the representation of women on their boards and, if no policy is in effect, companies would be required to explain the absence of such policies. As well, companies would be required to disclose the consideration given to the representation of women in executive positions when making executive officer appointments or an explanation for the absence of such consideration.

The labour force participation rate of Ontario’s youth aged 15 to 24 has been on a declining trend since the late 1980s. After reaching a peak of 74.6 per cent in 1989, the labour force participation rate of youth in Ontario fell to a low of 60.1 per cent in 2012, before edging up modestly in 2013.

This decline reflects a variety of factors, including rising enrolment rates in postsecondary education institutions, which provide youth with valuable skills that increase future employment and earning prospects.

Government investment in youth employment, such as the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy, combined with ongoing improvements in the labour market is expected to contribute to a modest rise in youth labour force participation in coming years.

At the other end of the age spectrum, the average age of retirement increased from 61 years in 2002 to 64 years in 2013, which should support a rise in the 65+ participation rates. Labour force participation of workers aged 60–64 rose from a low of 35.4 per cent in 1998 to 54.9 per cent recently. Over the same period, the participation rate of those aged 65–69 increased from 12.5 to 27.4 per cent. As well, some older workers who have retired chose to maintain attachment to the labour market in some form, including by taking part-time positions. However, while this group is growing, it is expected to have a fairly modest impact on the overall labour force.

On balance, even with labour force participation rates rising for many segments of the workforce, the impact of population aging means that the overall labour force participation rate is expected to decline, from 66.4 per cent in 2013 to 63.3 per cent by 2035.

6. Concentration of Population Growth in the Greater Toronto Area

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in North America. The population of the GTA has doubled since the mid-1970s, rising from 3.2 million in 1976 to over 6.4 million in 2013. The region has seen significantly faster growth than the rest of the province over this period, such that today 48 per cent of Ontarians live in the GTA, up from 38 per cent in 1976. The main driver of regional growth is immigration.

The GTA remains attractive for immigrants, with more than 80,000 people immigrating to the region every year. This is projected to continue in the future. The GTA’s total population is expected to grow by another 2.5 million people by 2035 to reach 8.8 million. The region will account for more than two-thirds of provincial population growth over the period. It is projected that, by 2035, 51.4 per cent of Ontarians will live in the GTA.

In the rest of the province, the population will keep growing, but at a slower pace. Central and Eastern Ontario are projected to see population growth of over 20 per cent to 2035. The population of Southwestern Ontario will grow by about 10 per cent, while the North as a whole is projected to maintain a fairly stable population. Throughout the province, large urban areas are projected to grow faster in general, while some remote and rural areas are projected to continue experiencing long-term population decline.

Implications of Ontario’s Demographic Outlook

This section discusses far-reaching economic and fiscal implications stemming from Ontario’s demographic outlook to 2035.

Future Economic Growth May Be Restrained by Slower Labour Force Growth

As the population ages and the pace of growth in the core working-age group slows, Ontario’s labour force will not increase as rapidly as it has in the past. This could contribute to a slower rate of future real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the province.

The first baby boomers have reached retirement age, and more will turn 65 each year, surpassing the number of young people entering the working-age group. Since participation in the job market is significantly lower for older age groups, population aging will be a factor in slower labour force growth to 2035. Policies to encourage higher labour force participation, including flexible retirement policies, would partially offset the effects of aging on the aggregate participation rate. This could also mitigate the cost to government of population aging.

Encouraging faster productivity growth can help minimize the impact of slower labour force growth. Business investment is one of the primary levers of labour productivity growth. New technology, plants and equipment can enable businesses and workers to produce more and better products.

Public investment in infrastructure can also enhance long-term productivity. For example, transportation infrastructure reduces costs for businesses trying to access current and emerging markets, while public transit helps connect workers to more jobs and opportunities.

To ensure Ontario’s future economic prosperity, it is critical that governments, employers and workers continue to work together to promote ongoing improvements in productivity.

Facilitating Immigrants’ Integration into the Labour Market Will Support Economic Growth

Immigration has always contributed significantly to Ontario’s economic and social prospects. Highly skilled immigrants are essential to support the development of a knowledge-based economy. Immigration also helps foster Ontario’s international trade through commercial and cultural ties with countries of origin.

To remain competitive and promote economic development, Ontario must continue to attract and retain global talent. A greater provincial role in selecting the level and mix of immigrants coming to Ontario is necessary to ensure newcomers better support economic prosperity in the province.

Ontario is taking steps to help skilled immigrants come to the province and successfully integrate into the labour market. On November 5, 2012, Ontario released its first immigration strategy, A New Direction: Ontario’s Immigration Strategy, which has three objectives:

  1. Attract a skilled workforce and build a stronger economy;
  2. Help newcomers and their families achieve success; and
  3. Leverage the global connection of our diverse communities.

Ontario’s Immigration Strategy calls on the federal government to increase its Provincial Nominee Program allocation to 5,000 in 2014. This would help reverse the trend of a declining share of economic-class immigrants to Canada settling in Ontario. This share fell from 61.1 per cent in 2001 to 30.5 per cent in 2012. Ontario should have the same flexibility and capacity as other provinces to meet changing labour market needs and help the economy grow.

Achieving the full benefits of immigrants’ participation in the labour market requires that the provincial and federal governments work together to better facilitate the economic integration of newcomers. Providing the necessary training and supports will help immigrants prepare to enter the labour market and contribute to Ontario’s future prosperity sooner. Therefore, the Province calls on the federal government to provide sufficient financial support to help with the settlement and integration of new Canadians.

Another key to Ontario leveraging the global value of immigration is to help internationally trained individuals obtain employment in their fields. The Province offers a variety of programs, including bridge training, which help immigrants settle and prepare to enter the labour market. These individuals still face a number of challenges in having their credentials and experience recognized.

The government is working with regulators and Ontario’s Fairness Commissioner to continue improving recognition of internationally trained professionals’ foreign qualifications.

Greater Labour Force Participation of Underrepresented Groups Will Need to Be Encouraged

The impact of baby boomers retiring and the loss of their workplace experience can be partially mitigated by encouraging increased labour force participation of all segments of the Ontario workforce.

As described earlier, while the labour force participation of youth has declined over time, older workers have been increasing their participation in the labour market. This trend was particularly strong for those aged 65 to 69, whose participation rates more than doubled from 12.4 per cent in 1989 to 27.4 per cent in 2013.

Promoting policies and workplace initiatives that encourage more flexible work arrangements can help increase labour force participation of all workforce groups.

The employment and training needs of those with a weak attachment to the labour market will also have to be met to increase labour force participation. Providing services and supports that are best suited to the needs of individuals can more effectively address barriers to employment and lead to better outcomes.

Older Workers

There is still a strong case for policies to further reduce barriers that older workers face in the labour market. These include facilitating flexible retirement plans such as gradual reduction of working hours while contributing to pension plans; flexible work schedules; opportunities for older workers to upgrade skills; supporting work/life balance; and promoting the health and well-being of workers in the workplace.

Encouraging skilled workers to remain in the workforce longer, either full time or part time, will be particularly important in occupations where the average age of workers is higher or where recruitment challenges exist, such as in certain skilled trades and health professions. For example, to mitigate the trend of early retirement among nurses, the Nursing Strategy will support late-career nurses who work in hospitals and long-term care homes remaining in the workforce by providing less physically demanding, alternate roles for a portion of their work time.

Youth

The labour force participation of youth is particularly sensitive to the state of the economy. During periods of recession and in their aftermath, youth, in particular those aged 15 to 19, experience a much greater decline in labour force participation compared to other age groups.

Ontario’s youth fared much better than their counterparts in most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries following the recent recession but they still face high unemployment. In 2013, the youth unemployment rate stood at 16.1 per cent, compared to 13.0 per cent in 2007. This is of concern as studies show that periods of youth unemployment can have long-term social and economic consequences. These experiences can lead youth to face persistently lower wages and a higher likelihood of becoming unemployed later in life.

Initiatives geared towards increasing youth employment and incentives for earlier entry into the labour market can help boost Ontario’s workforce.

As more jobs are expected to require postsecondary education going forward, it is important that Ontario continue to provide support to boost higher education. Ontario has implemented measures to expand access to postsecondary education and promote higher rates of completion at colleges and universities. As a result, the percentage of students graduating from college has increased from 57 per cent in 2002–03 to 65 per cent in 2011–12. Moreover, 77 per cent of undergraduate students are completing university, up from 74 per cent in 2002–03.

Policies and programs aimed at improving school-to-work transition can contribute to better employment outcomes for youth. These include partnerships among educational institutions, employers and government; the integration of career development in high school; and the expansion of experiential learning opportunities in colleges and universities.

In recognition of Ontario’s youth employment challenges, the 2013 Budget announced $295 million over two years in a comprehensive Youth Jobs Strategy. The Strategy includes a Youth Employment Fund established to create 25,000 job opportunities over two years. The Fund has already helped employers offer over 9,000 job and training placements to young people across Ontario.

Existing employment and training programs also support Ontario youth. About 35 per cent of Employment Ontario’s clients were aged 29 or under in 2012–13.

Investments in Education and Skills Training

Investments in education and skills training play a critical role in preparing people for available jobs and ensuring future prosperity in a knowledge-based economy.

Through Employment Ontario, the Province’s network of employment and skills training programs, the Province invests more than $1 billion annually in workers’ skills and training, serving about one million Ontarians each year.

The Ontario government has been committed to improving its employment and training programs to promote labour market outcomes among people who are underrepresented in the labour market by:

  • Introducing a comprehensive Youth Jobs Strategy;
  • Integrating employment and training services across the government with Employment Ontario to improve services for clients;
  • Removing barriers for people with disabilities;
  • Promoting apprenticeship enrolment and completion to increase the supply of skilled workers; and
  • Ensuring affordable postsecondary education, including the introduction of the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant in 2011–12, which improved access for low- and middle-income families.

The government also remains committed to preparing the youngest students for a productive future. Ontario’s investments in full-day kindergarten give children a better start in school and prepare them for success.

Workplace Training and Lifelong Learning

Governments, employers, labour, and education and training institutions need to work together to explore incentives and measures that would increase workplace training opportunities. Studies show that employers in Canada invest less per capita in workplace training than international competitors such as the United States.1

In today’s knowledge-based economy, workplace training and lifelong learning are increasingly important to keep pace with technological change and constantly changing skills requirements. With Ontario’s aging population and slower labour force growth, workplace training and lifelong learning are even more important for Ontario’s productivity, competitiveness and growth. Ensuring the availability of skills that meets the needs of growing or emerging industries will also remain crucial.

A Growing and Aging Population Will Weigh on Government Spending

With the number of seniors in the province almost doubling by 2035, government spending, particularly on health care, will come under increased pressure.

Health Care

Ontario’s health care system must prepare for the demographic shift that will nearly double the number of seniors living in the province by 2035. The provincial government spends on average three times more per capita on health care for seniors than for the overall population.

Population aging has put pressure on the demand for health services and contributed from one-half to one percentage point to the underlying cost drivers of health spending by the provincial government over the past three decades. It is projected that, as population aging accelerates, the impact of this demographic factor would, other things being equal, increase the cost pressures on public health spending by slightly more than one per cent annually.

These demographic changes are happening concurrently with the government’s plan to manage the rate of growth in health spending. See Chapter 4: Long-Term Fiscal Prospects for more information on cost drivers and mitigation strategies in the health care sector.

Government Transfer Programs and Services for Seniors

Population aging will also put increasing pressure on other programs that benefit seniors, including transfers, community and social services, and long-term care. These costs will likely accelerate in the 2020s as the baby boom cohorts begin to enter their seventies in large numbers. As well, retirement saving by today’s workers, including baby boomers who are currently in what were typically high-saving years, is inadequate. Studies have consistently shown that many of today’s workers are not saving enough to maintain comparable living standards in retirement, and that this problem is likely to worsen with each subsequent cohort.

The intersection of population aging and slower labour force growth with inadequate retiree income would cause a negative impact on future program spending and economic growth. A large senior population with inadequate income will rely to a greater degree on government transfer programs and services, exacerbating the pressures expected to arise from population aging alone.

These additional costs would be a burden that future workers will have to bear, either directly through greater support to older family members or indirectly through higher taxes. To mitigate these risks, the government is committed to enhancing and improving retirement income security so that workers are better prepared for the retirement phase of their lives.

Infrastructure

Ontario’s projected population growth of 3.7 million by 2035 will result in significant demand for all types of infrastructure, from transportation, health care and education, to the electricity system and water management. For instance, an aging population and a growing number of seniors living on their own will likely have implications for housing needs, public transit and the delivery of community services. See Chapter 4: Long-Term Fiscal Prospects for more information on public infrastructure.

Regional Differences in Population Growth and Age Structure Will Require Targeted Government Response

Regional differences in the pace of population growth and aging will create challenges for government service delivery.

As the population of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) keeps growing at a rapid pace, the demand for urban infrastructure, especially transit, will remain high. Investments in public transit support economic growth and help improve the quality of life of Ontarians by enhancing the connectivity of neighbourhoods and business districts and by addressing congestion. The Places to Grow Act, 2005, enables the government to create provincial growth plans that provide a framework for implementing the government’s vision for stronger, prosperous communities. The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which includes the GTHA, will continue to guide decisions on a broad range of issues, including transportation, infrastructure planning, land use planning, urban form, housing, natural heritage and resource protection.

While large urban areas will continue to experience population growth, some small, remote and rural communities of the province are currently experiencing long-term population decline. Maintaining a balanced level of government services in such communities will grow in importance as a key policy priority.

Different regions of the province will experience varying growth of specific age groups, which will require different government responses. While the number of children in Ontario is projected to grow overall through to 2035, many regions are expected to see declines. This means that school enrolment will rise in some regions and fall in others. Investment in future elementary and secondary education infrastructure should be informed by this changing geographic distribution that will influence new school expansion in underserviced areas and the consolidation of underutilized school sites.

As well, population aging will not occur at the same pace in all regions. Rural and remote regions such as Northeastern Ontario, where proportions of seniors are already higher than average, will see the slowest increase in numbers of seniors. The greatest pressures on health care spending will likely be in suburban municipalities, particularly in the GTHA, where the number of seniors is projected to more than double by 2035.

1 C. Lavis, “Learning and Development Outlook 2011 — Are Organizations Ready for Learning 2.0?” Conference Board of Canada, (2011); P.D. Hughes and A. Campbell, “Learning and Development Outlook 2009: Learning in Tough Times,” Conference Board of Canada, (2009).

Description of graphics

Chart 1.1:  Growth Rate of Ontario’s Population, 1971–2035

This bar chart shows the past and projected annual growth rate of Ontario’s population from 1971 to 2035. Past population growth rates were higher than what is projected. Over the 1971–2013 period, the average annual population growth rate was 1.3 per cent. This is higher than the average annual population growth rate of 1.1 per cent projected from 2013 to 2035.

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Chart 1.2:  Net Interprovincial Migration to Ontario, 1971–2013

This bar chart shows the annual net interprovincial migration to Ontario from 1971 to 2013. Numerous years of gains are usually followed by numerous years of losses, following the business cycle in Ontario. After a period of annual net gains from 1996 to 2003, when Ontario gained a total of 75,000 interprovincial migrants, the net flows have turned negative. Over the last decade, Ontario lost 127,000 people through interprovincial migration.

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Chart 1.3:  Contribution of Natural Increase and Net Migration to Ontario’s Population Growth, 1971–2035

This area chart shows the annual contribution of natural increase and net migration to total population growth in Ontario from 1971 to 2013, and projections to 2036. Ontario’s population used to grow mostly from natural increase in the 1970s. However, natural increase now accounts for only 39 per cent of total population growth, and its share is projected to fall to 21 per cent by 2035.

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Chart 1.4:  Baby Boomers Passing through the Ontario Age Structure, 1965–2035

This chart shows age pyramids of Ontario’s population by age group, highlighting the baby boom generation. In 1965, baby boomers were in school. In 1985, they were young adults. In 2005, they were older workers. In 2015, they will be young retirees and, by 2035, they will be older seniors.

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Chart 1.5:  Age Distribution of Ontario’s Population, 1975–2035

This chart shows the age distribution of Ontario’s population for broad age groups in 1975, 1995, 2015 and 2035. In 1975, 25.6 per cent of Ontarians were children aged 0–14, 65.7 per cent were of working age (15–64), and 8.7 per cent were seniors (65+). In 2015, children will account for 20.4 per cent of Ontario’s total population, the working-age group will represent 68.2 per cent of the total, and seniors 15.8 per cent. By 2035, 15.7 per cent of Ontarians will be children aged 0–14, 60.5 per cent will be of working age, and 23.8 per cent will be seniors.

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Chart 1.6:  Share of Population Aged 65 and Over, Ontario and Selected Countries, 2012

This chart shows the 2012 share of population aged 65+ in selected countries. The highest shares of seniors displayed are for Japan at 24.4 per cent and Germany at 21.1 per cent. The lowest shares shown are for Mexico at 6.3 per cent and Brazil at 7.3 per cent. Ontario was at 14.7 per cent, while Canada was at 14.8 per cent.

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Chart 1.7:  Growth Rate of the Core Working-Age Population in Ontario, 1971–2035

This bar chart shows the annual growth rate of the core working-age population in Ontario (ages 15–64) from 1971 to 2035. It show how dramatically lower future growth rates are projected to be. The average annual growth rate of Ontario’s core working-age population was 1.5 per cent over the 1971–2013 period. It is projected to average only 0.5 per cent from 2013 to 2035.

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Chart 1.8:  Labour Force Participation Rates, 25–54 and 55–64 Age Groups, Ontario, 1976–2035

This line chart shows the annual labour force participation rates of men and women aged 25–54 and 55–64 in Ontario from 1976 to 2035. For men aged 25– 54, labour force participation declined gradually from 96 per cent in 1976 to 91 per cent in 2013 and is projected to remain relatively constant to 2035. For women aged 25–54, labour force participation rose rapidly from 57 per cent in 1976 to 79 per cent in 1990, then kept increasing gradually to reach 82 per cent in 2013, and is projected to continue doing so until 2035 to reach 89 per cent. For men aged 55–64, labour force participation declined rapidly from 79 per cent in 1976 to a low of 59 per cent in 1995. Subsequently, their participation rate increased to reach 70 per cent in 2013, and is projected to be relatively constant to 2035. For women aged 55–64, labour force participation rose very slowly from 37 per cent in 1976 to 45 per cent in 2000, and then increased rapidly to reach 61 per cent in 2013. Their participation rate is projected to keep increasing to reach 66 per cent in 2035.

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Chart 1.9:  Labour Force Participation Rates of Youth in Ontario, 1976–2035

This line chart shows the annual labour force participation rates of men and women aged 15 to 24 in Ontario from 1976 to 2035. Young men’s participation rate rose from 69 per cent in 1976 to 77 per cent in 1989, followed by a decline to reach 61 per cent in 2013. Similarly, young women’s participation rate rose from 62 per cent in 1976 to 73 per cent in 1988, followed by a decline to reach 60 per cent in 2013. Labour force participation of youth of both genders is projected to increase gradually to reach 67 per cent by 2035.

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Chart 1.10:  Labour Force Participation Rates of Seniors in Ontario, 1976–2035

This line chart shows the annual labour force participation rates of men and women aged 65+ in Ontario from 1976 to 2035. Senior men’s participation declined from 17 per cent in 1976 to a low of 9.6 per cent in 1993 and 1996, rising thereafter to a high of 18 per cent in 2013. Senior women’s participation remained below 5 per cent from 1976 to about 2000, and then increased fairly rapidly to reach 10 per cent in 2013. Labour force participation of seniors of both genders is projected to keep increasing from 2013 to 2035, reaching 12 per cent for women and 19 per cent for men.

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Chart 1.11:  Population of the Greater Toronto Area, 1976–2035

This bar chart shows the total population of the Greater Toronto Area from 1976 to 2035. The GTA had a population of 3.2 million in 1976, which grew to 6.4 million by 2013. It is projected to reach 8.8 million by 2035.

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Chart 1.12:  Labour Force Participation Rates by Age Group, Ontario, 1989 and 2013

This line chart shows superimposed labour force participation rates by age groups for 1989 and 2013 in Ontario. It shows that in 1989 Ontarians under the age of 30 had higher participation rates than they do in 2013. Participation in the labour force is about the same at ages 30 to 49. Participation rates are higher in 2013 compared to 1989 for all age groups above age 50.

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