York prof says baby boomer retirement will impact economy

More than 100,000 York Region residents are set to retire in the next decade but just what that will mean for our economy is anyone’s guess, wrote YorkRegion.com Aug. 19.

Through a $500,000, 18-month study, the region hopes to find out.

York Region has a relatively high percentage of baby boomers and soon-to-be retirees, regional director of economic development Patrick Draper said. Younger workers are opting for fields such as biotechnology, leaving open the question of who will fill so-called traditional jobs.

“It’s pretty serious right now. If the government and private sector don’t do anything, the consequences could be pretty severe,” said Tony Fang, a professor in York’s School of Human Resource Management in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

With an aging population and declining fertility rate there will be fewer people in the labour market producing goods and services, he said.

Off-setting salary increases and promotions with more family time, more work from home and phased retirements could all help ease the transition to a new workplace model, he said. Studies like the one in which the region is engaging could be a part of finding solutions. “We need a more systematic approach to HR planning,” Fang said.

Gay dropouts say street is only option

There is little research on sexual orientation and youth homelessness in Canada, says Ilona Abramovich (BA ’04, MA ’08), who wrote her master’s thesis in York’s Faculty of Health on the lack of services for queer homeless youth in Toronto, wrote the Toronto Star Aug. 20.

A 2000 study estimates between 25 and 40 per cent of homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or transgender (LGBT). Yet in Toronto – which promotes itself as Canada’s gay capital – there are no emergency shelters or crisis services specifically designed for them, says Abramovich, 29, whose experience “coming out” as a lesbian sparked her interest in the issue.

“There are programs for queer youth and programs for homeless youth. But there is very little geared to the specific needs of queer youth who are homeless,” she says. “And that has to change.”

Local reverend bids farewell to his flock

A life in service to God is not always a person’s first career choice and this was true for Rev. Michael Barnes (BAS ’84, BA ’89), who will officially retire on Oct. 1, wrote the Bracebridge Examiner Aug. 19.

After 13 years at Knox Presbyterian Church in Bracebridge, Barnes is bidding adieu to his official life in the ministry and looking back upon the years that helped shape his religious calling.

Barnes holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Administrative Studies from York University. He also earned a Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from Knox College, University of Toronto.

"I liked the simplicity of the Presbyterian church’s setting and service," he said. "I was also interested in things spiritual. A real turning point came when I was going to night school at York. I took an Interpreting the Bible course. That really got me interested."


On air

  • An interview with Sarah Flicker, professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, about her latest study of teen sexual health was rebroadcast on Hamilton’s AM900 CHML Radio Aug. 19.
  • Most TV and radio stations continued their coverage of the Rogers Cup at the Rexall Center at York University Aug. 20.