Written by: Hellen Lavric

The aging population in Canada has had significant effects in the employment sector. A large number of older workers are remaining at work or re-entering the workforce for a variety of reasons. Some include moving into a less physical job due to decreased mobility as they age. Others may be looking for opportunities to avoid isolation, while some may need to continue working for financial reasons. Within Eastern Ontario, however, the demand for workers has not improved the participation rate of older workers accessing employment services or in the workforce. (Ontario, 2019) While current trends identify low birth rates and an aging population, local employers rarely hire older workers according to Employment Ontario statistics. (Onehub, 2018) According to de Blois and Lagace, (from Understanding Older Canadian Workers’ Perspectives on Aging in the Context of Communication and Knowledge Transfer), older adults are perceived as “dependent, helpless, and resistant to change” or “warm but not very competent.”

Further, the perception older workers have of themselves as a result of these stereotypes poses additional challenges for older workers. (de Blois and Lagace, 2017) Advocating for themselves is a crucial skill during a job search, and employment coaches and educators need to address this in their support of the client.

Many Employment Ontario programs and services are earmarked for youth leaving older workers to fend for themselves during their job search and re-training efforts when needed. (Ontario, 2019) That is not to discount the support from coaches and educators within the Employment Ontario network (Employment Services and Literacy and Basic Skills). It is an incredible service offered to Ontarians for free. These service personnel and the programs they offer should be accessed as soon as one finds themselves looking for work or upgrading schooling.

Aging population
With many older workers re-entering the workforce, employment service personnel and employers need to understand the availability of as well as the strengths and weaknesses of this demographic. The key issues are successfully advocating for older workers and supporting their training/re-training. (TVO, 2017) In many regions in the area, the workforce cannot meet the demand, but older workers are generally not seen as a desirable pool of potential new hires.

Unlike the youth demographic, there are no tailored programs and financial supports allotted explicitly for the mature job seeker in the east region. (OneHub, 2019) As an example, youth employment programs are comparatively, much more abundant than general supports provided by Employment Ontario. All non-youth program candidates, which includes older workers, share a much smaller piece of the “pie.” (Ontario, 2019)

Moreover, the demand for workers throughout the region, mainly rural areas, is far more significant and demand outweighs supply. As such, older workers are necessary potential hires and worthy of the investment of time, money and resources. (TVO, 2017)

The Labour Market Group of Renfrew and Lanark (LMG) collects and disseminates critical regional, provincial and national workforce data. Why do I need to know this? If you care about where you work, how much you can expect to make, or what jobs are in demand before you make educational decisions, you can expect to save yourself a great deal of money and a lot of aggravation. Assessing your personal and professional values is key to finding the right fit. There are plenty of professional coaches in their area at your service. Job seekers, employers, and Employment Ontario service staff can access local labour market information in report form, bulletins, regional survey outcomes, and face to face presentations. You can take a look at our website: www.renfrewlanark.com or contact us by phone at (613) 735-4308, extension 2897.

Hellen Lavric is a professional facilitator and a Program Coordinator with the Labour Market Group of Renfrew and Lanark. 

Helen Lavric

de Blois, S., Lagace, M. (2017). Understanding older Canadian workers’ perspectives on aging in the context of communication and knowledge transfer. Canadian Journal of Communication. Volume 42. 631-644.

Dick, B. (2019) Interview with Brent Dick, Site Supervisor, Algonquin College, Community Employment Services, Pembroke, Ontario. January 15, 2019.

Labour Market Group (2019). Local labour market planning report; Renfrew and Lanark. Retrieved from: https://www.algonquincollege.com/renfrewlanark/files/2019/03/LLMP-Report-2019-EN_Final.pdf

Langevin Learning (2003). Advanced instructional design; adult learning principles. Langevin Learning Services. Ottawa, Canada.

Ontario (2019). Employment Ontario: jobs and employment. Retrieved from: https://www.ontario.ca/page/employment-ontario

Ontario East (2019). Economic development: Ontario east communities. Retrieved from: https://www.ontarioeast.ca/ontario-east-advantage/communities

EOPG (2019). Employment Ontario partners gateway: programs and services. Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities. Retrieved from: http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/programs/

TVO (2017). Ageism in the workplace. From The Agenda with Steve Paikin. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbkiD_z38Hg&list=PL_qBUgE5zAWa1ALhLD7rpuOOoItY_Omb-&index=4&t=0s

Workforce Development Ontario (2019). Champions of Ontario’s local labour market solutions. Retrieved from: http://www.workforceplanningontario.ca/en/

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