After reaching an all-time high in 1997, early retirement rates have tapered off, according to an article written by Statistics Canada’s Labour Statistics Division.
Using Labour Force Survey data, the article found that at the start of the 1990s, 30 per cent of workers retired before age 60. That figure increased steadily until 1997, when it peaked at 46 per cent. Since then, the number of early retirees has declined to the 2000 level of 40 per cent.
In addition to the numbers, the article also notes the following early retirement facts:
•many public servants have been encouraged to take early retirement packages and that trend has been followed (to a lesser degree) in the private sector. In 1997, 65 per cent of public sector retirees were under age 60. The current level is around 63 per cent;
•early retirement is more common among highly educated workers and those who work full-time. In both cases, workers have higher earnings and are probably better able to save for retirement. That way, they can retire before age 60 without having to wait until they became eligible for government retirement benefits;
•there seems to be a link between unemployment and early retirement. The Atlantic provinces have the highest rates of unemployment and early retirement, while western Canada has the lowest. These figures suggest that many early retirees in the Maritimes are being forced to leave work early.