An increasingly older population will dominate Canadian housing trends until the end of the century, William Teron, Canada's urban affairs minister, said recently.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Institute for Canadian-American Studies in Windsor, Ontario, Teron said, "The most dramatic factor which will shape our future is the absolute fact that the age mix of our population is changing."
The Institute for Canadian-American Studies is an academic organization associated with the University of Windsor. It publishes papers on U.S.-Canadian subjects and holds an annual forum on problems of mutual interest. The topic of this year's meeting was "Housing in North America and the Public Interest."
"There is a very good chance," Teron said, "that between now and the end of the century we will not see as many children in Canada as were recorded in the 1966 census."
The Canadian official noted that in 1966 there were nearly 6.6 million children in his country under the age of 14. By the year 2001, the number of children will range from 5.4 million to 6.7 million, according to Canadian projections. Today there are 5.9 million Canadian children.
Changing social patterns have created "over-housing" for many, Teron said. He commented that in Canada, with approximately 4 million single-family homes, 1.4 million of these units were occupied by just one or two people.
"Up to now," he explained, "it was relatively cheap to maintain these large, often mortgage-free houses.However, new external forces will alter the ability and desire to heat, maintain and pay taxes on housing grossly in excess of need.
"In time," he continued, "these people will seek to reduce their burden and to rationalize their resources according to a new set of priorities . . . "