Colour-coded Retirement

An intersectional analysis of retirement income and savings in Canada
June 16, 2021
637.91 KB49 pages

This paper draws on 2016 census data to provide an intersectional analysis of seniors’ income and of retirement savings among the adult population in Canada. It considers whether two core objectives of government policy— retirement security and reduction of seniors’ poverty—are being achieved equitably. Colour-coded Retirement documents the income gap between white, racialized and Indigenous seniors and it examines retirement savings for these groups. The data reveal significant differences in both income and savings among these groups.

Addressing seniors’ poverty and retirement income security for Indigenous peoples and racialized Canadians remains a pressing policy challenge. Sustained efforts to address the underlying economic marginalization resulting from colonialism and systemic racism are urgently required. Only then will the barriers to equitable employment opportunities be dismantled and the gender, Indigenous, and racialized pay gap be closed. Those measures would increase access to workplace-based pension plans and retirement savings. Another part of the solution lies in improving Canada’s public pension plans, since they provide crucial support to marginalized seniors. In the absence of all of these measures, income insecurity will continue to track Indigenous peoples and racialized Canadians well into their old age.