The Baby Boom is a demographic phenomenon that occurred after the Second World War, from 1946 to 1965. In fact, about eight million Canadian people were born in this period, causing economic, social, cultural, and political changes in each stage of their growing process (Statistics Canada, 2013). Currently, Baby Boomers have started to approach the last stages of their lifespan, reaching formal retirement from work and therefore an increase in leisure time (Cavanagh and Wendy, 2012).
In fact, provinces as Ontario and Alberta, as well as, cities as Toronto and Vancouver will experience some of the effects of their retirement, specially in areas such as senior centres, public services, the organization of companies, and the real estate. In Toronto, the aging process on Baby Boomers will challenge senior centres to restructure their programs and physical venues in order to accommodate their new necessities. First, Fitzpatrick and McCabe (2008) argue that Boomers will become isolated due to social and personal challenges in their lives.
For instance, a research found that Boomers will struggle in creating a new identity when starting their retirement (Brown, 2016). In fact, their exit from formal jobs will result in the need for establishing a new lifestyle to fulfill the time previously used on working (Fitzpatrick and McCabe, 2008). In addition, although the majority of Boomers in Toronto present a healthy life, issues related principally to the decline of cognitive abilities will increase in the following years (Fitzpatrick and McCabe, 2008). Therefore, there will be a rise in the need for restructuring community-based services of the city.
According to Fitzpatrick and McCabe (2008), senior centres will require to update their traditional conception and implement a variety of innovative activities, services, programs and community spaces. For example, Fitzpatrick and McCabe (2008) states that low-cost meals, institutionalization, foreign language classes, vocational activities, volunteering, media rooms, strength and exercise rooms, and later service hours for seniors who still work, are some of the new features that senior centers in Toronto will need to implement in future years. In addition, mental health is considered a key component for their optimal health.
In fact, issues as dementia have increased in Torontonian elders in the last years, rising the need of care services in order to provide special support to this group (Ostroff, 2015). Furthermore, Brown (2016) states that social relationships provide emotional security to elders, so senior centres will need to focus their attention on offering emotional care and support in all of their programs. Finally, services in transportation will become essential in Toronto since they facilitate Boomers’ quick access and mobility to the centers (Fitzpatrick and McCabe, 2008).
Of similar importance, the aging of Baby Boomers in Toronto will result in the need for improvements and changes in services provided by public libraries. Cavanagh and Wendy (2012) argue that the current state of libraries in Toronto, specifically the seniors’ services, does not match with the necessities of the boomer generation. Hence, public libraries will need to search for innovative re-assessments in their physical venues, as well as, in the conceptualization and practice of their services. First, despite Baby Boomers enjoy high technology skills, they will continue to demand physical areas to read. Cavanagh and Wendy, 2012).
In fact, Cavanagh and Wendy (2012) agree that in the future, there will be an increase in both the awareness for accessibility and the necessity for reading material. They also argue that accessibility will need to be redesigned to allow Boomers to access to the library. Parking lots, the use of ramps in entrances, and work stations compatible to wheelchairs are expected to rise in importance in Toronto libraries (Cavanagh and Wendy, 2012; Long, 2005). Second, current deficiency on specific programs for older adults will cause changes in public libraries.
Cavanagh and Wendy (2012) indicate that due to the increase of disability and the need of support services that maintain Boomers’ independence, the creation of an agefriendly “transgenerational environment” will be relevant in future. In fact, libraries will need to cover aspects such as computer assistance, book talks, and reading support. For instance, Long (2005) states that a new way to improve services and foment knowledge is through programs focused on topics related to the city. Finally, homebound delivery services will help to reduce issues of mobility, specially in crowded areas such as inner Toronto (Long, 2005).
Baby Boomers will not only foster future changes in public libraries and senior centres of Toronto, but also in the organization of companies. As Rogers (1993) states, nowadays, Baby Boomers belong to the managerial workforce that affect strongly the organization of the company where they work, thus their following retirement will have a strong impact in Toronto establishments. According to Mackenzie and Dryburgh (2003), managers are typically the oldest and most vulnerable to reach retirement due to the requirement of high levels of experience.
In fact, Rogers (1993) argues that due to the monetary and human investment in their training through large public educational programs, Baby Boomers have excelled in what they produce the best, bringing positive inputs to the workforce and values that influence positively the functionality of companies (Rogers, 1993). Similarly, Mackenzie and Dryburgh (2003) state that Baby Boomers are substantial suppliers of talent and experience in the workforce and are a valuable resource for employers and the well-being of their corporations that cannot be easily ignore.
Therefore, their retirement will cause complications in the internal organization of different companies. As Mackenzie and Dryburgh (2003) argue, the current demographic pattern in Toronto highlights the need of planning for future deficit of managerial employees. To overcome these challenges, corporations will need to start looking for ways to opaque the possible effects of the retirement of Baby Boomers. For instance, Rogers (1993) states that companies will continue to foster factors of satisfaction in managerial positions in order to retain the commitment of key Baby Boomers and therefore reduce the impact of their ageing.
Similarly, Bouw (2016) argues that the market for experienced workers in Toronto is relatively high, attracting Boomers to work even after their retirement age. To finish, Baby Boomers have become a key component to current and future changes on the prices of the real estate market. In Vancouver and Toronto, Boomers continue to drive the luxury estate market, showing the importance of not only economic forces but also generational demographics. First, CBC News (2015) states that Baby Boomers have both helped in the mortgage payments of their adult children, as well as, acquired really expensive homes.
For instance, Boomers can easily afford houses in traditional luxury neighborhoods such as Forest Hill in Toronto, and Shaughnessy in Vancouver (CBC News, 2015). In addition, Baby Boomers, who live relatively alone or only with their partners, have increased their interest towards units in luxury condominiums, where each apartment could reach 3,000 square-foot in size (CBC News, 2015). In fact, there has been an increase of sales of large apartments in the housing market of Metro Vancouver and Toronto as a result of the decline of Boomers’ interest in the investment potential of single-family houses (Hansen, 2014).
For example, prices for unit range about $2-5 million in Vancouver and $2-4 million in Toronto. (CBC News, 2015). In Vancouver, downtown condominiums have become the new home for Baby Boomers in the last two years. In effect, developers have designed high-rise projects specifically to appeal to their requirements. For instance, ten projects focused on Boomers as the target, are in planning and development stages in regions such as Surrey, Richmond, and Conquitlam. Hansen, 2014)
Thus, Baby Boomers will continue to affect the real estate market by increasing the demand of luxury housing, specially of apartments in condominiums. However, Baby Boomers will also cause a future gradual looming in the price of general housing in Ontario and Alberta. (Pittis, 2015) In fact, due to Baby Boomers are looking for getting the maximum value from their single-family homes, a future increase in this specific market will make prices to reach a maximum value at certain point, resulting in a period of decline. Ireland, 2015) For instance, Edmonton will present a reduce in housing prices due to both the large supply of homes in the market and economic issues related to the decline of Alberta’s oil extraction.
As Pittis (2015) states, the combination of both factors will cause a reduction in the housing demand since there will be fewer buyers compared to the number of Boomers competing to sell their homes. In Ontario, there will be similar consequences, however, they will vary depending on where and what type of house is in the market. Pittis, 2015) For instance, inner Toronto may not be hardly affected because its convenient place allows a limited number of single-family homes with a high demand from buyers. In contrast, sixty-four percent of inhabitants in the Great Toronto Area demonstrate being worried about a possible downturn in the real estate prices. (Ireland, 2015).
In London, for instance, the vast space for construction will not provide the city with an scarcity value, reducing even more the housing prices in the area. Pittis, 2015) In conclusion, the future retirement of Baby Boomers will affect cities in areas such as services and their infrastructure, workforce, and the real estate market. Firstly, public libraries and seniors centres in Toronto will need to be updated to provide services and spaces that meet the new requirements of Baby Boomers. In addition, the managerial workforce of Toronto will be highly affected by Boomers’ retirement, thus incentives that help to keep their desire to work will help to reduce an abrupt effect.
Finally, Baby Boomers will both cause a decline in the general prices of housing in provinces like Alberta and Ontario, as well as, encourage the increase of the luxurious market, in cities like Vancouver and Toronto. Despite there have been an interest to address some of this future changes, it would be essential for each city and province to foster plans that will not only help Baby Boomers to experience a positive aging process but also prepare Canada to the side effects of their retirement.