Age at retirement, by class of worker

Public sector employees retire earlier

  • Since 1976, public sector employees have consistently retired at a younger median age than private sector employees or self-employed workers. The difference in retirement age between employees in the private and public sectors began increasing in 1984, when public sector workers began retiring earlier. The median age at retirement for public sector employees declined from 64.8 in 1976 to 57.2 in 1999; by 2007, however, it had edged back up to 58.8.

  • The median retirement age of employees in the private sector remained fairly stable from 1976 to 1988. It then went into a long-term decline, reaching 61.3 in 1999 (compared with 65 in the late 1970s). After that, it rebounded slightly, climbing to 62.4 in 2007.

  • Among the self-employed, the median retirement age has remained steady since the mid-1970s, fluctuating between 64.3 and 65.9. While the median age of retirement declined during the 1990s for public and private sector employees, partly because of corporate and government downsizing during this period, it remained essentially unchanged for self-employed workers during this decade, partly because of the relatively rapid growth of self-employment among older workers.

Chart M.3
Median age at retirement, by class of worker, 1976 to 2007

Chart M.3  Median age at retirement, by class of worker, 1976 to 2007

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, CANSIM table 282-0051.

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