Demographic change and aging
The demographic evolution seen in Western countries brings significant challenges. Our populations are aging, especially here in Québec. In fact, only in Japan is the average age so high. In Québec, migration flows have become the main source of population growth. These changes have significant repercussions on the evolution of Québec society, land use planning, local economies, types of housing, the labour market, the organization of living environments, workforce availability (especially in the regions), as well as health services, long-term care systems and public finances.
Such changes demand new balances and a rethinking of working life and our physical environments in order to facilitate the social participation of the entire population. They also call for a different approach to relationships between generations, and are therefore of concern to the field of social innovation. Québec is well positioned to secure and advance the competitiveness of its research on aging, lifelong human development, new intergenerational dynamics, and the design of inclusive environments for all members of the population.
Clearly, demographic change is a priority challenge to be addressed, as it engages the scientific community, government action, the business community and society. The main issue is to thoroughly understand the effects of sociodemographic change and the factors that help citizens reach their full potential from early childhood into old age, and mobilize stakeholders from all fields in order to better meet the needs of individuals, families and communities and, above all, to provide solutions that are appropriate to the Québec context. In short, the research community can bring innovative solutions to Québec society through the application of an intersectoral approach, and ensure that we collectively benefit from demographic change rather than passively enduring its negative effects.