At Home: Canada’s aging population could strain GDP
Mention Canada’s aging population and many people immediately think of the extra toll it will put on services like health care. But in a recent report, the federal budget watchdog warns of another sector that could be deeply affected: Canada’s gross domestic product.
As the CBC reports, the federal budget watchdog has cautioned that ?the government’s current fiscal structure is not sustainable if the demographic issue of the country’s increasingly aging population is not addressed.?
The report, released by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), estimates that, if the government’s fiscal structure remains the same, growth in the GDP per capita ?will fall by a little more than half over the next 50 years.?
Since 1961, GDP has grown an average of 2.1 per cent. But as the country’s population ages, GDP growth is projected to average only 0.9 per cent over the next 50 years. To combat the problem, the PBO’s report recommended ?permanent fiscal actions?: spending cuts to programs, increased taxes, or both.
However, a spokesperson at Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s office disagreed with some of the report’s conclusions, telling reporters that ?once the economic recovery has taken hold, extraordinary stimulus spending will end, the economy will grow and we will undertake the necessary restraint in spending growth to reduce deficits.?
In Foreign News: Grade 10 students could head straight to college
A new program aimed at better preparing US students for college could see some students headed there after grade 10. As The New York Times reports, the program is modeled on ?systems in high-performing nations including Denmark, England, Finland, France and Singapore.?
Rather than tying high school graduation to ?seat time,? the program would set board exams that students could attempt after grade 10. The passing score for the tests ?would be set at the level necessary to succeed in first-year college courses.? In the current system, high school graduates are often shocked to find that they’re not prepared for college-level courses. Many of them require remedial help to get through their first year, while others simply drop out.
A student who successfully passes the board tests could begin community college right away. Students who plan to attend a ?selective college? have the option of taking college prep courses while finishing high school. If a student fails the grade-10 board exam, they can retake it at the end of either grade 11 or 12. Terry Holliday, Kentucky’s commissioner of education, told reporters that the program ?would allow an approach based on subject mastery?a system based around move-on-when-ready.? Schools in eight states will introduce the program in 2011.