York U professor's new book examines the changes and challenges of retirement in Canada


TORONTO, Nov. 1, 2013 – A century ago, the average Canadian lifespan was 60 – today, we can expect to live 20 years longer than that. Just as the influence of the baby boom generation has transformed society, so will it transform the choices and challenges associated with retirement.

York University professor Thomas R. Klassen of the Department of Political Science and the School of Public Policy and Administration in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies has written and commented extensively on retirement and income security for older Canadians. In the past decade, he has advised governments on retirement policy, served as an expert witness on legal cases dealing with retirement, and lectured widely on the topic.

Retirement is holds a wider range of possibilities than ever before. Klassen’s new book, Retirement in Canada (Oxford University Press), is an accessible look at what we know about the changes taking place, as well as what we can predict. He considers retirement from many angles: the changing demographic trends in Canada, along with other Western nations, provide fascinating insights into the past, present, and future.

Watch Klassen discuss how, in his view, retirement will become more akin to a buffet rather than à la carte: http://youtu.be/QsWi9S_2WO0

About 60 percent of Canadians have no employer pension plan, and will rely on modest public pensions and their own savings. As a result, many older workers are not prepared for a financially secure retirement. Politicians are under increasing pressure to reform both public and private pensions. The premier of Ontario recently waded into the fray, noting that the province is considering establishing its own pension plan if the federal government fails to enhance the Canada Pension Plan.

Klassen offers valuable insights into the options available to families, workers, employers and governments, including some creative and forward-thinking ideas, such as the lessons Canadians can learn from developing countries. He also examines the debates around mandatory retirement, intergenerational equity and how pensions will change in the coming years.

Given that over 7 million Canadians will retire in the next two decades, the transition from work to retirement is increasingly in the media spotlight and at the centre of political debates. Prof. Klassen presents clear, understandable observations and analysis.

WHAT: Book launch for Retirement in Canada

WHERE: York University Bookstore, York Lanes, Keele Campus (Building 24 on the map)

WHEN: Tuesday, November 5, 4-6 pm

NOTE: Thomas Klassen is available for interviews.

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Media Contact: Tabassum Siddiqui, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x 44543 / tsiddiq@yorku.ca