The majority of Canadians are unprepared for retirement and most people near retirement age need to make changes to avoid outliving their savings, a new report has found.

Deloitte Canada’s research, published Wednesday, found many Canadians are facing retirement challenges as the amount of money needed to retire has risen over the past few years. 

Fifty-five per cent of near-retiree households will need to make lifestyle changes to avoid outliving their savings, the researchers found after surveying 4,000 near-retiree and retiree Canadian households. That figure is expected to climb to 73 per cent when accounting for unexpected expenses like health care, long-term care costs and one-off expenses.  

The report said this group of people “are the middle-income Canadians who sit between the state-supported group and the well-off households and to whom we, as a country, are not paying sufficient attention to.” 

Factors contributing to the rising retirement burden included increased investment responsibilities placed on employees, rising retirement costs, fewer planning resources and unexpected expenses in late retirement, the report said. 

Tackling the issue will involve coordination across the Canadian financial services industry, including banking, wealth management, insurance and the public sector, the report said.

Deloitte Canada highlighted three areas of focus to deal with the looming retirement challenges. Those included enhancing the accessibility of near-retirement advice, helping retirees manage cash flow and deal with rising costs, as well as incentivizing people to build healthy savings habits “as early as possible.” 

“To conquer these pressing challenges, and course correct to reduce the number of vulnerable near-retirees, the financial services sector has a critical role to play in narrowing the retirement gap,” Hwan Kim, a partner of financial services innovation and open banking at Deloitte Canada, said in a press release on the findings.


The report also found 14 per cent of the three million near-retirement households can confidently retire and 31 per cent of those nearing retirement age will need support from the government’s public pension system. 

Only 24 per cent of workers in the private sector participate in employer-sponsored pension plans, according to the report. Additionally, 58 per cent of those nearing retirement age and retiree households have no formal retirement plan. 

“By coming together to develop innovative solutions and service offerings, we can both drastically improve the quality of retirement for Canadians and simultaneously unlock value for financial services and healthcare providers,” Kim said in the release.

“Fundamentally, helping Canadians more than we are, is a win-win for everyone.”


The survey was conducted with a random sample of 4043 households nationwide to receive a true representation of the Canadian near-retiree household landscape. Respondents were aged 55+. Responses were captured and analyzed from December 2022 to February 2023