The Four Lenses of Population Aging: Planning for the Future in Canada’s Provinces

By Patrik Marier

© 2021

With its implications for health care, the economy, and an assortment of other policy areas, population aging is one of the most pressing issues facing governments and society today, and confronting its complex reality is becoming increasingly urgent, particularly in the age of COVID-19. In The Four Lenses of Population Aging, Patrik Marier looks at how Canada’s ten provinces are preparing for an aging society. Focusing on a wide range of administrative and policy challenges, this analysis explores multiple actions from the development of strategic plans to the expansion of long-term care capacity. To enhance this analysis, Marier adopts four lenses: the intergenerational, the medical, the social gerontological, and the organizational. By comparing the unique insights and contributions of each lens, Marier draws attention to the vital lessons and possible solutions to the challenges of an aging society.

Drawing on over a hundred interviews with senior civil servants and thousands of policy documents, The Four Lenses of Population Aging is a significant contribution to public administration, provincial politics, and comparative public policy literatures, and a timely resource for policymakers and general readers seeking an informed perspective on a timely and important issue.

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Product Details

  • Series: IPAC Series in Public Management and Governance
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 368 pages
  • Illustrations: 7
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

This book analyses the actions and plans enacted by the ten Canadian provinces to prepare for the new reality of an aging society.

The Four Lenses of Population Aging: Planning for the Future in Canada’s Provinces

By Patrik Marier

© 2021

With its implications for health care, the economy, and an assortment of other policy areas, population aging is one of the most pressing issues facing governments and society today, and confronting its complex reality is becoming increasingly urgent, particularly in the age of COVID-19. In The Four Lenses of Population Aging, Patrik Marier looks at how Canada’s ten provinces are preparing for an aging society. Focusing on a wide range of administrative and policy challenges, this analysis explores multiple actions from the development of strategic plans to the expansion of long-term care capacity. To enhance this analysis, Marier adopts four lenses: the intergenerational, the medical, the social gerontological, and the organizational. By comparing the unique insights and contributions of each lens, Marier draws attention to the vital lessons and possible solutions to the challenges of an aging society.

Drawing on over a hundred interviews with senior civil servants and thousands of policy documents, The Four Lenses of Population Aging is a significant contribution to public administration, provincial politics, and comparative public policy literatures, and a timely resource for policymakers and general readers seeking an informed perspective on a timely and important issue.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: IPAC Series in Public Management and Governance
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 368 pages
  • Illustrations: 7
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "The Four Lenses of Population Aging is an excellent book. It combines theoretical sophistication, comprehensive coverage, and writing that is lively and accessible to a variety of audiences. The author's passion for his subject and deep knowledge shine through on every page. It will be the standard resource on aging policy in Canada for many years to come."


    Kent Weaver, Professor of Public Policy and Government, Georgetown University

    "Population aging is a major issue which affects many developed countries and will affect many others in the coming decades. Patrik Marier provides a detailed and sophisticated analysis of the experience of Canadian governments in developing policies in specific areas from pensions and health care to residential care. Setting out four lenses through which to observe aging, Marier shows how each influences policy solutions to deal with aging. The book reveals how each lens emphasizes different elements in aging populations and favours different policy instruments and mechanisms to alleviate related policy problems, highlighting the difficulties associated with developing cohesive strategies to tackle the challenges, and seize the opportunities, related to aging populations."


    Michael Howlett, Burnaby Mountain Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1), Simon Fraser University
  • Author Information

    Patrik Marier is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Concordia University.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction
    Facing the consequences of an aging population
    Purpose of this book
    Why focus on Canadian provinces?
    Why focus on civil servants?
    Methods
    Content

    THEORETICAL UNDERPINNING
    Chapter 1 – The Lenses of Population Aging
    Introduction
    The Intergenerational Lens
    Generational accounting
    Dependency ratio
    Musgrave rule
    Generational politics
    The Medical Lens
    Population aging – a rising number of seniors with special needs
    Geriatrics – a marginalised specialty in medicine
    Health promotion or how to age successfully
    The Social Gerontology Lens
    The “new” or “positive” gerontology
    Critical gerontology
    Political economy
    The Organizational Lens
    Conclusion – Policy Lenses in Public Administration

    Chapter  2 – Population Aging as Policy Problems
    Introduction
    Linking policy problems with population aging lenses
    Defining what is the problem
    Causality
    Severity
    Novelty
    Proximity
    Complexity
    Problem population
    Solutions to policy problems
    Solvability
    Monetarization
    Governmental capacity
    Interdependencies
    Interactions between the lenses: Co-existence, complementarity, and competition
    Intergenerational and medical lenses
    Intergenerational and social gerontology lenses
    Intergenerational and organizational lenses
    Medical and social gerontology lenses
    Medical and organizational lenses
    Social gerontology and organizational lenses
    Conclusion

    Chapter 3 – The Politics of the Long View
    Introduction
    The rise and fall of planning
    The fall
    The revival: Old wines in new bottles?
    Thinking and action with a long view in the public sector
    What is the long view
    How to promote the long view within the public sector?
    What facilitate or impede the long view in Canadian provinces?
    Politicization of the civil service
    Leadership
      Policy capacity within the civil service
    Professionalization of the long view
    Institutional mechanisms
    Conclusion

    PUBLIC POLICY AND POPULATION AGING
    Chapter 4 - Pensions
    Introduction
    Historical overview and current structure of Canada’s pension policy
    CPP/QPP
    Occupational pensions
    Private alternatives
    What solutions for pensions? CPP, ORPP, and new occupational tools
    What is wrong with the Canadian pension system?
    The Harper years: Lack of consensus led to multiple provincial initiatives
    Provincial commissions on occupational pension plans
    Pooled registered pension plans and Québec’s Voluntary Registered Savings Program
    Provincial earnings-related pension schemes: The longevity pension and the ORPP
    The longevity pension
    The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan
    The Liberal years: Improving the CPP, occupational pension plans, and new alternatives
    A lens analysis of the pension debates
    Conclusion

    Chapter 5 – Health and Residential Care
    Introduction
    Health care expenditure
    Overview of health care expenditure in Canadian provinces
    Population aging and health care expenditures
    Views from civil servants
    Long Term Care – Residential care
    A continuum of care?
    The geopolitical and economic realities of residential care
    Human resources
    Analysing the four lenses in health policy
    The intergenerational lens embedded within the crowding out problem definition
    Dominance of the medical lens and the marginalisation of the social gerontology lens
    Organizational lens – Expanding the health perspective into other bureaus
    COVID-19 and the Long-Term Care Crisis of 2020
    Conclusion

    Chapter 6 – Home Care Services and Caregiving
    Introduction
    Home care services in Canadian provinces
    What is home care?
    The Canadian context of home care – common challenges
    Classifying home care models in Canada
    The role of partisan politics
    Home care as policy failure?
    Caregiving
    A De-familializing model?
    Caregiving policies across Canada and recent developments
    Impact on health status, labour market, and retirement income
    Home care as a universal solution for population aging?
    Intergenerational lens
    Medical lens
    Social gerontology lens
    Organizational lens
    Conclusion

    PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND POPULATION AGING
    Chapter 7 – Central Agencies and Inter-Ministerial Coordination
    Introduction
    The organizational lens and policy problems
    Central agencies
    Executive council
    Monitoring the consequences of population aging in Québec
    A unique initiative spearhead by a central agency in Nova Scotia
    Finance Ministries
    Inter-ministerial coordination
    Alberta’s approach to aging population
    Informal channels
    Conclusion

    Chapter 8 – Offices for Seniors
    Introduction
    The Creation (and Expansion) of Offices for Seniors
    A diversity of organizational settings
    Councils on aging
    What Do Offices for Seniors Do?
    Dissemination of information
    Consultations
    Coordination of seniors’ related issues and programs
    Policy instruments and policy input
    The Tension Between the Social and Medical Lenses
    Embracing healthy aging
    A return to the Ministry of Health?
    Still a social perspective?
    Long Term View
    Facilitating a long term perspective
    Obstacles to implement a long term horizon
    A Third Wave of Offices for Seniors? Seniors’ Advocate Offices
    Conclusion: Divergent Path for Seniors’ Offices

    CONCLUSION
    Conclusion
    Revisiting the four lenses of population aging
    Intergenerational lens
    Medical lens
    Social gerontology lens
    Organizational lens
    Revisiting the theoretical expectations on the long view
    Federalism, population aging, and policy diffusion and learning
    The continuing marginalisation of social policies and its consequences in the context of an aging population and the challenges of COVID-19

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