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Future of Work

World Education Services and LMIC’s Future of Work Annotated Bibliography synthesizes the latest research findings. To ensure that policymakers and stakeholders are equipped with needed tools and insights, new reports are added regularly.

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What the project is about

LMIC, in partnership with the World Education Services (WES), is re-launching the Future of Work Annotated Bibliography with a new theme on migration themes. New entries will be added every two months.

This partnership allows both organizations to work together and offer more resources, tools and support to individuals, including, but not limited to Canadians, policy makers, researchers, international students and immigrants to achieve their educational, professional and research goals.

Why we're doing this project

The future of work continues to evolve, and despite our work shifting towards the now of work during the start of the pandemic, the future of work has once again become the focus. It is essential now more than ever to address gaps and vital elements in labour market information to help policymakers and stakeholders shape the future of work.

New entries added on 2023-02-22 are marked with a symbol:

ILO. (2023, January). World employment and social outlook: Trends 2023. International Labour Organization.

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Key Takeaway: The pandemic, labour market shortages and global events such as climate change and conflict have contributed to an uncertain employment forecast. Women and youth continue to experience unemployment and barriers to economic and social inclusion. 

The International Labour Organization (ILO) released their latest installment of the World Employment and Social Outlook series, highlighting key forecasts in global labour market and justice efforts for 2023.  

Several conflicts have contributed to labour market challenges globally. Post-pandemic recovery efforts, war, displacement crises, looming recessions and environmental catastrophes have presented a climate of uncertainty around decent work.  

Currently, the global jobs gap stands at 473 million people (12.3%), a measure that highlights the unmet need for employment worldwide.  

Women and young people continue to experience disparate access to decent employment. The participation rate of women is at 47.4% as compared to 72.3% for men. The unemployment rate for young people aged 15–24 is nearly three times that of adults over 25. More than one in five youth are not in education, employment, or training (NEET). Global employment is expected to expand by 1% in 2023 (compared to 2.3% in 2022).  

However, projections for 2023 demonstrate that labour market improvement will vary by region. Africa has an expected growth rate of nearly 3%. For Latin America and the Caribbean, the expected growth rate is 1%. Europe, Asia and North America, however, are expected to see limited growth, with a rise in unemployment.

Statistics Canada. (2023, January 18). Racialized Canadians are less likely to find as good jobs as their non-racialized and non-Indigenous counterparts early in their careers. The Daily.

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Key Takeaway: Despite high levels of education, racialized Canadians are less likely to find jobs with the same earnings and benefits as their non-racialized, non-Indigenous counterparts.  

Although racialized people are more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to their non-racialized, non-Indigenous counterparts, they are less likely to find jobs that offer the same pay and benefits following graduation – opportunities this Statistics Canada briefing defines as “good jobs” by comparison.  

Many racialized populations — including Korean, Chinese, South Asian, Japanese, Arab and Filipino — have education levels well above the national average. Southeast Asian populations, however, have statistically lower levels of education, which can be attributed to many arriving as refugees to Canada.  

Furthermore, there are variations in educational outcomes among Latin American and Black populations. The report notes that Latin American immigrants who arrived in Canada in 2001 or later are more likely to have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Similarly, first- and second-generation Black Canadians who were born in Africa or had at least one parent born in Africa are more likely to have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher.  

Among women, West Asian and Arab graduates experience the largest income gaps, earning 15–16% less than their non-racialized, non-Indigenous counterparts. Among men, Black, Southeast Asian, Filipino, Chinese and Korean graduates have the lowest employment incomes, earning between 11–13% less than their non-racialized, non-Indigenous counterparts.

Zhang, T., Banerjee, R., & Amarshi, A. (2023, January 4). Does Canada’s Express Entry system meet the challenges of the labor market? Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 21(1), 104–118.

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Key Takeaway: The Express Entry system was designed to efficiently manage immigration applications of highly skilled workers. However, gaps remain for mid-to-lower-skilled occupations, resulting in higher vacancy levels in other much needed occupations.  

Despite disruptions to migration levels throughout the pandemic, Canada surpassed annual immigration targets that were decided upon before the onset of COVID-19.  

Like many major immigrant-receiving countries, Canada continues to rely heavily on increased immigration levels to bolster economic recovery post pandemic.  

First introduced in 2015, the Express Entry system (EE), is the portal through which most economic migration occurs in Canada. According to migration research experts, however, gaps remain when utilizing EE to address the needs of the labour market. The emphasis has long been on “skilled immigration” where EE restricts eligibility based on skill level.  

However, labour needs persist in other sectors, including those the paper defines as “mid-skill” or “lower-skill” occupations. This presents as higher vacancy levels in the skilled trades, personal support work, early childhood education and engineering, placing the economy at a disadvantage, especially in times of crisis where such occupations are essential.  

To enable a more responsive migration model, additional coordination is needed between policy makers, labour unions and occupational regulatory bodies. 

Statistics Canada. (2022, December 12). Atlantic Canada experiences a recent uptick in retaining skilled immigrants. The Daily.

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Key Takeaway: Targeted immigration pathways, like the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, have contributed to higher retention rates for new immigrants. Work experience prior to admission to Canada also plays a significant role. 

In the Atlantic region, initiatives such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot have enabled more skilled immigrants to move into the region.  

Nova Scotia saw the biggest increase in overall retention rates compared to annual data (67.6%). When looking at long-term data (over five years), P.E.I. had the lowest retention rate of provinces in the Atlantic region yet received the largest increase among admission cohorts.  

Immigrants who arrived in Ontario, British Columbia or Alberta between 2010 to 2015 were most likely to stay up to five years after their arrival. The five-year retention rates for both Ontario and Alberta remained consistent and strong, at nearly 90%. Saskatchewan and Manitoba experienced challenges in retaining immigrants five years after admission, with rates declining more than 10 percentage points between 2010 and 2015.  

The retention rates between immigrant women and men are similar. Work experience prior to admission plays a significant role in retention. The retention rate for individuals with only study permits is 74.7%, compared to previous work permit holders at 89%. 

Statistics Canada. (2022, December 5). The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the economic integration of many immigrants. The Daily.

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Key Takeaway: The pandemic negatively impacted the economic inclusion of Canadian immigrants. Immigrant women were the most affected.  

Using the 2021 Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB), this report outlines how the first year of the pandemic slowed the socioeconomic progress that immigrants had made over the past decade.  

From 2016–2021, immigration contributed to 80% of the country’s labour force growth. Prior to the onset of COVID-19, the gap was narrowing between recent immigrants (those living in Canada 10 years or less) and the Canadian-born population in terms of both employment rate and earnings.  

However, due to the pandemic, new immigrants, especially women, were disproportionately affected. In 2020, the median entry wage of immigrants admitted in 2019 was $30,000, which was 6.5% lower than for those admitted in 2018 ($32,100).  

Immigrant women experienced significant challenges, with their median wages falling by 11.1% between 2019–2020 to $23,200. In comparison, their male counterparts saw a decline of only 5.2%.  

Interestingly, between 2019–2020, immigrants who knew both English and French were the only group to see an increase in media entry wages (up 0.3%).  

Finally, an interesting trend revealed that prior experience before permanent residency had a positive affect on the median wage. Those with a work permit saw the lowest decrease in median entry wages. Those without pre-admission experience saw the biggest decline, perhaps due to a lack of academic or work experience in Canada. 

Statistics Canada. (2022, November 30). Canada leads the G7 for the most educated workforce, thanks to immigrants, young adults and a strong college sector, but is experiencing significant losses in apprenticeship certificate holders in key trades. The Daily. Government of Canada. 


Key Takeaway: Despite the high rate of educated Canadians, the labour market is facing a shortage of skilled workers. 

This report looks at the educational attainment of working age (25–64) Canadians and their related labour market outcomes based on the 2021 census.Compared to the 2016 census, the number of Canadians reporting college or university education increased by almost 20%. This trend did not hold true, however, for apprenticeship certification. 

Construction trades remained unchanged from the previous census, and certification for trades related to mechanic and repair technologies and precision production experienced a decline. Construction trades are reporting labour shortages as the number of retirements outpace new apprentice certification. In addition, labour demand for trade certification has seen an increase, further exasperating the labour shortage. 

Health care continues to report labour shortages, in part due to underemployment for foreign-trained Canadians who run into issues with credential recognition or language proficiency. Overall, labour shortages are a concern in key sectors due to high rates of retirement and underemployment of specific demographics. 

Frenette, M., & Handler, T. (2022, November 23). Does taking short postsecondary programs or independent credits benefit recently displaced workers? Statistics Canada, Government of Canada.


Key Takeaway: Following a job loss, individuals who graduated with a college or CEGEP certificate or diploma had larger increases in annual earnings than those who did not. 

Understanding the outcomes associated with varying worker responses to permanent layoffs are crucial for both displaced workers and policy makers in Canada. This study examines the effect on earnings of enrolling in or graduating from short, career-oriented programs or independent credits after a job loss. The findings suggest that those who completed a college or CEGEP certificate, or diploma saw larger increases in earnings than those who did not enroll in postsecondary education. Graduates of short STEM or healthcare programs and individuals with independent credits saw higher and moderate earning gains, respectively. Graduates of short non-STEM programs (except health care) or micro-credentials and workers enrolled but not completing a short program did not experience relative gains. 

Arthur, N., Woodend, J., Gust, L., Dyrda, A., & Dang, J. (2022). It’s Not as Easy as They Say: International Students’ Perspectives About Gaining Canadian Work Experience. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 21(2), 42–58.


Key Takeaway: International post-graduate students could address some of Canada’s labour needs resulting from labour shortages. However, international students face multiple barriers to labour market integration.

Post-secondary institutions and Canadian immigration policy have become increasingly dependent on the growing number of international students attending Canadian schools. International students are often perceived as ideal candidates to fill the country’s labour shortages. However, many international students face challenges upon graduation when seeking work and deciding whether to stay in Canada or seek employment elsewhere. Five major barriers were identified:

  1. Policies and procedures: Slow processing times for work permits, inconsistent and confusing government policies and exclusion from work-integrated learning opportunities like co-op and paid internships left many with narrow employment options.
  2. Economic context and competition: The economic downturn fueled by the pandemic resulted in fewer job prospects and increased competition with peers who did not face work permit issues.
  3. Cultural challenges: Employer biases, gender discrimination and difficulties in understanding Canadian workplace culture pushed many to consider returning home for better employment opportunities.
  4. Language: Lack of English fluency was an impediment to job readiness and communication in the employment search.
  5. Life Circumstances: Focus on school left very little time for planning for post-graduation or career development opportunities.

In response to these challenges, the authors recommend streamlined employment policies and visa conditions, as well as coordination among employers, community agencies and post-secondary institutions to develop and promote work experience opportunities that support international students in accessing work experience while studying and post-graduation.

The Conference Board of Canada and Future Skills Centre. (2022, October 11). The labour market of tomorrow: Projections from the Model of Occupations, Skills, and Technology (MOST).


Key Takeaway: Over the next decade, the largest job gains are expected in jobs requiring university or college education, as well as in occupations involving skills that are difficult to automate.

The Conference Board of Canada has launched a new tool that includes detailed employment projections by occupation, industry and skill requirements for each region. During the pandemic, occupations requiring high school education, occupation-specific training or on-the-job training were the hardest hit in terms of job losses. Over the next decade, significant job gains are expected in occupations requiring university or college education. As well, occupations such as web designer/developer, database analyst, data administrator, computer engineer, and architect are expected to grow. Growth is also forecast in the areas of finance, veterinary services and transportation. 

The skills that will see the greatest increase in demand are those difficult to replicate through automation and technological progress. These include complex problem-solving, systems evaluation, systems analysis, writing and programming skills. Some occupations may benefit from technological progress, such as electronic service technicians, mechanical engineers, computer network technicians, database analysts, data administrators, and computer and information systems managers. Other occupations — including dental technologists, laboratory assistants, data-entry clerks and bookkeepers — may experience job loss from technological advances. 

Dinç, Y. E. (2022, October 4). The "Canadian Experience Disconnect" - Immigrant Selection, Economic Settlement and Hiring. Conference Board of Canada.


Key Takeaway: For many immigrants, a lack of “Canadian experience” is often identified as a barrier to economic and social integration. However, while Canadian experience is a commonly used phrase by government, employers and community agencies, it lacks a clear and consistent definition.

“Canadian experience” is a common phrase used by government, employers and community agencies, yet it lacks a clear and consistent definition. This report assesses the various forms of “Canadian experience” to find more clarity in the term.

Research has shown that “Canadian experience” results in an array of benefits such as advanced language skills, soft skills development, professional networks and more. For many immigrants, the lack of “Canadian experience” can be a barrier to economic and social integration. Further, the needs of individuals who enter Canada on temporary visas and then apply for permanent residency at a later date (also known as “two-step migration”) are strikingly different from those of newcomers who enter through direct permanent residency programs. The authors argue that the current immigration and settlement support system in Canada was not designed with two-step migration in mind. As a result, steps must be taken to ameliorate the system to support those individuals in achieving full economic inclusion. Recommendations include:

For the federal government:

  • Produce an evidence-based, coherent and consistent assessment of “Canadian experience” to adjust permanent residency pathways.
  • Review settlement practices and realign programming.
  • Support and invest in international students as potential immigrants to ensure their economic success.

For the provincial government:

  • Work with educational institutions to better align international programs with regional economic opportunities.
  • Collaborate with federal government and post-secondary institutions to enhance supports available to international students.

For employers:

  • Eliminate Canadian work experience as a formal hiring requirement.

Arcand, A. (2022, October). CME 2022 Labour and Skills Survey. Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.


Key Takeaway: Ongoing labour challenges have contributed to stagnation within the manufacturing and exporting sectors. The sector is seeking support through automation, immigration and skills training.

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) released their annual labour survey that found that labour shortages over the past year have resulted in over $13 billion in economic losses. Over 500 respondents were represented across the country in various subsectors of the manufacturing sector from small businesses to large multinational corporations. Participants noted that over the past year, 62% of manufacturers have lost or turned down contracts and faced production delays due to the lack of workers. Eighty per cent of manufacturers reported that labour shortages in related sectors – like transportation and logistics – are further affecting their businesses negatively. Fifteen per cent of employers admitted that they are considering the relocation of some or all their production outside of Canada due to the labour shortage. Finally, over 70% of respondents have increased wages and benefits as a method to retain and attract workers to their companies.

CME is calling on all levels of government to take action to fill the more than 85,000 vacant positions in Canada’s manufacturing sector within a year. Specifically, they ask for government support in four areas:

  • Providing more support for automation.
  • Bringing in more economic class immigrants and enacting reforms that reduce backlogs and improve processing times.
  • Providing employer-led training benefits to help upskill and reskill the workforce.
  • Renewing and increasing funding for programs that encourage persons from underrepresented groups to seek careers in manufacturing

Lamb, D., Banerjee, R., & Emanuel, T. (2022, October). New Canadians Working amid a New Normal: Recent Immigrant Wage Penalties in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian Public Policy.


Key Takeaway: Gender-based analysis of the earnings of recent immigrants suggest a significant difference between the earnings of women and men.

Newcomers face significant barriers to labour market integration in Canada, which can result in earnings gaps when compared to their Canadian-born counterparts. Recent immigrants were more likely than Canadian-born workers to be unemployed and recent immigrant women were more likely to be out of the labour force altogether. Furthermore, studies have shown that the earnings of immigrants have been greatly and negatively impacted in previous recessions. Conversely, during COVID-19, earning disparities experienced by recent immigrants were not as substantial. Surprisingly, recent immigrant men experienced a slight earnings boost, whereas recent immigrant women did not.

The researchers caution these findings, given that one of the main data sources used was the Labour Force Survey, which has some important limitations. Nevertheless, the researchers note that as the federal government continues to increase immigration targets for specific occupations and skillsets, newcomers still face biases that discount their professional experiences in the labour market. Consequently, more work needs to be done to address these biases and ensure better integration and recognition of internationally trained professionals in Canada.

Drolet, M. (2022, September 26). Unmasking differences in women’s full-time employment. Insights on Canadian Society. Statistics Canada.


Key Takeaway: Immigrant women in Canada do not fare as well in full-time employment as their non-immigrant counterparts.

This report highlights trends for women’s full-time employment in Canada from 2007-2021, with a focus on Indigenous and immigrant women. The full-time employment rate for both groups appear to increase with age:

  • In 2007, 53% of Indigenous women aged 25-29 were working full-time, which increased to 63% in 2021 when the same individuals were 40-44 years old.
  • Immigrant women who arrived in Canada as children or teenagers remained at the same rate (69% full time employment) from 2007 to 2021.
  • For immigrant women who arrived in Canada after the age of 18, their full-time employment increased from 48% in 2007 (age 25-29) to 64% in 2021 (age 40-44).

Higher education tends to be associated with higher rates of labour market integration. In the case of Indigenous women, although this demographic had the lowest university education rates, 79% of those who were university educated were as likely to hold full-time employment as their non-Indigenous Canadian-born counterparts in 2021. However, for immigrant women with university education obtained outside of Canada, their numbers were not as strong. In 2021, 66% of long-term immigrants (arriving in Canada more than 10 years ago) with a university education obtained outside of Canada were working in full-time positions. The researchers suggest that credential recognition, parenthood and marital status contribute to these lower outcomes.

Lamb, C., & Munro, D. (2022, September). Mitacs skills for innovation: Sharpening Canada’s skills advantage. Mitacs.


Key Takeaway: Canada’s talent advantage is strong, but there are opportunities to sharpen our skills and knowledge to improve our lagging innovation performance.

In this report, organizations and interns involved in the Mitacs Elevate and Accelerate program are surveyed about the generalized and specialized skills required for innovation. General skills include creativity, problem-solving, risk assessment and risk-taking. Growing evidence shows that basic digital literacy and STEM skills are needed by everyone involved in innovation. Specialized skills may vary depending on the type of innovation. Organizations involved in product innovation, for instance, require science skills more than those engaged in process or service innovation. By better understanding the groups of skills required for different kinds of innovation, Canada will be better positioned to develop and utilize those skills for innovation success. In highlighting these findings, the report provides a foundation and recommendations for better innovation skills development plans.

Richardson, B., & Hussain, Y. (2022, September 1). Course correction: How international students can help solve Canada’s labour crisis. RBC Economics.


Key Takeaway: As a major part of Canada’s immigration strategy, international students are a source of highly skilled talent. In recent years, enrollment of international students has grown exponentially. Given current labour shortages, this demographic could play a pivotal role in addressing Canada’s labour force challenges.  

International students are a major part of Canada’s immigration strategy. They have become a vital resource for post-secondary institutions across the country since they account for nearly a third of tuition fees paid annually. With tightening labour markets and an aging workforce, international students are considered ideal candidates for permanent residency in Canada.  

Globally, Canada is becoming the third largest destination for international students. Furthermore, international students are twice as likely to study engineering, mathematics and computer science — major areas with projected labour shortages in the country. While studying in Canada is a favourable pathway, many international students find it difficult to navigate the complex system to acquire permanent residency. Barriers to securing relevant work experience, for example, is a major challenge in addition to their exclusion from many work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities available for domestic students. 

Canada needs a coordinated approach to leverage international students as a future source of labour and permanent residents. By focusing on in-demand fields of study, transparency throughout the immigration process, streamlined pathways to permanent residency and further support from the public and private sectors, international students can fully succeed in Canada. 

Walker, J. (2022, September). Poor cousin no more: Lessons for adult education in Canada from the past and New Zealand. IRPP Insight 43. Institute for Research on Public Policy.


Key Takeaway: Canada’s adult education system needs to become more mainstream, expand measures of progress, support the professionalization of educators, empower Indigenous leadership and work towards national coordination.

This paper presents policy recommendations for federal, provincial and territorial governments to improve Canada’s adult education system by addressing gaps in skill development, assessment and certification practices. Based on previous reform efforts and lessons learned from a successful case-study in Aotearoa, New Zealand, the author argues for several areas of improvement.

These include 1) making adult education mainstream, 2) expanding measures of progress, 3) supporting the professionalization of educators, 4) empowering Indigenous leadership in education, and 5) building toward national coordination.

These lessons will support the development of a strong education strategy and a better future for Canadians.

Young, R. (2022, August 25). Highly educated newcomers in Canada. Scotiabank Economics.


Key Takeaway: With increasing labour shortages across Canada, newcomers must be better included. Despite their high education levels, many immigrants are in positions that  don’t leverage their skills and training. More must be done to address this underutilization of skilled talent to benefit the Canadian economy.  

In Canada, more than 400,000 new jobs have been added to the labour force since the onset of the pandemic, yet more than one million jobs remain vacant. As labour shortages tighten across Canada, more needs to be done to encourage the participation of marginalized populations in the workforce, including women, older Canadians and newcomers to Canada.  

This report emphasizes that recently arrived Canadians should be a focus for labour market integration as many arrive in their prime working years and are highly educated. The reality, however, is that newcomers are less likely to occupy positions commensurate with their training and skills. Canadian census data from 2016 suggests that fewer than 40% of immigrants are in a position that requires their university credentials versus 60% of the Canadian born population.  

Several factors contribute to this reality — including credential recognition challenges, language and cultural barriers — which result in an underutilization of skills and education. Nevertheless, this continued education–occupation mismatch of recent immigrants is concerning. Narrowing this gap could significantly benefit the Canadian economy. But to do so, more collaboration across governments, private sector, post-secondary institutions and social impact sectors is needed.  

Conference Board of Canada. (2022, August 3). Beyond blue and white collar: A skills-based approach to Canadian job groupings. The Conference Board of Canada and the Future Skills Centre. 


Key Takeaway: Recognizing a need to update the way employment opportunities are considered and discussed, this paper outlines eight new groupings for Canadian jobs based on underlying skill similarities. 

This report details a variety of labour market indicators — including average income, risk of automation and unemployment, and employment growth based on a 10-year employment forecast — for each of the eight new groupings of Canadian jobs:

1) STEM professionals, 2) knowledge workers, 3) personal services, 4) supervisors, 5) technical trades, 6) non-technical trades, 7) builders and 8) doers.  

Noting that Canada’s labour market has shifted towards the knowledge-based and services industries, the report concludes that STEM professionals and knowledge workers have several advantages. These include the strongest growth prospects, low automation risk, and tight labour market conditions, giving them the strongest outlook of the eight new groupings.  


Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC). (2022, July 21). Survey report: Impact of processing delays of work permits and business visas on Canadian employers. CERC.


Key Takeaway: Many employers use immigration pathways to attract and hire international candidates. However, Canada’s increasing immigration backlogs have impacted businesses negatively, resulting in lost revenue. More can be done to streamline the immigration process, particularly for occupations most in demand.  

Immigration backlogs have ballooned throughout the pandemic. In June 2022, the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) conducted a survey with organizations that regularly access the International Mobility Program (IMP). Reportedly, 97% of organizations hire talent through work permit programs and 53% hire via economic immigration pathways.  

Recent IRCC processing delays, however, have a negative impact on these businesses. Due to these delays, 94% of organizations have cancelled or delayed projects. For 55% of them, this has resulted in lost revenue. Several Canadian universities also responded to the survey, with 29% reporting cancelling or postponing educational programs as well as delaying research projects. 

Participants offered five areas of improvement for IRCC: 

  • Provide employers with efficient and predictable processing times  
  • Create a program that provides labour market impact assessment exemptions  
  • Fast track applications in high-demand occupations  
  • Hire more staff to modernize the outdated processing systems in place at IRCC  
  • Implement a Trusted Employer Program for those that hire international talent  

Janzen, N., Fan, C., & Powell, N. (2022, July 20). Proof point: Canada’s labour shortages will outlive a recession. RBC Economics.


Key Takeaway: Canada’s continued labour shortages have impacted businesses across the country. While a recession may ease some of these challenges, immigration can address many labour shortages. Long term, however, a steady flow of immigrants coupled with better integration and use of their skills will be far more beneficial.  

Labour shortages, aging workers and the pandemic’s impact on the economy are accelerating challenges faced by Canadian employers. As of June 2022, businesses reported 70% more job openings across the country than before the pandemic. Research projects that Canada is only about halfway through the wave of labour force exits, with labour force participation expected to fall substantially by the end of this decade. 

Immigration can address some of these labour force challenges; however, a stronger long-term solution would include better integration of immigrants’ skills and increased resources in areas such as childcare and housing. These capital investments can help close the labour force participation gap between genders and boost workforce productivity.  

Mahboubi, P., & Higazy, A. (2022, July). Lives put on hold: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canada’s youth. Commentary No. 624. C.D. Howe Institute.


Key Takeaway: The global pandemic disproportionately affected Canadian youth due to their overrepresentation in the hardest hit industries. COVID-19 also disrupted education, leading to further income losses. In pandemic recovery plans, more action is needed to support youth for their labour market success.  

Youth in Canada were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic across various metrics, including health, social inclusion, education and workforce integration. Educational disruptions because of school closures led to widening learning gaps and employment gaps due to lockdowns, cancelled work-integrated learning programming and other changes.  

At the federal level, Canada has taken steps to improve outlooks for youth who face challenges in bridging education and meaningful work. The 2021 budget recovery plan pledged to support the creation of 215,000 new work-integrated learning opportunities and higher quality jobs for youth. The road to recovery has still been uneven, with marginalized youth — including those not in education, employment or training (NEET) — facing compounded challenges.  

To adequately support youth in post-pandemic recovery strategies and mitigate long-term negative effects (career scarring), all levels of government must coordinate their efforts. Ensuring that young Canadians are equipped with targeted, relevant skills development tools to make up for potential learning loss and employment disruption is essential.  

Experts recommend a comprehensive strategy to:  

  • Expand employment services (career counselling and job search assistance) to reduce the risk of un- and under-employment among youth 
  • Enhance labour market flexibility and labour mobility to match skills with the first job and reduce job mismatching  
  • Encourage participation in and support for opportunities in education, learning and skills development, and address barriers to participation for non-student youth  

RBC Economics. (2022, June 29). Immigration Nation: New Canadians are vital to an aging society.


Key takeaway: As Canada’s population ages, increasing immigration and better utilization of existing talent pools can power the country’s economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the flow of new migrants to Canada. However, these numbers are slowly rebounding as borders have re-opened and pandemic restrictions have eased. Given that low birth rates continue across the country, population growth through immigration has become an important driver of Canada’s economic success.

At the same time, tight labour markets also mean that immigration will be an important tool for balancing the exodus of aging workers against the increasing quantity of job vacancies. Newcomers to Canada already fuel nearly 100% of the country’s labour force growth, and they will be increasingly critical to fill persistent labour market gaps.

The authors argue that the key to success is to tap into the productive potential and available skills of immigrants and women more effectively. Boosting the contributions of these two groups can address long-standing equity concerns and improve Canada’s production potential in the long run.

Business Council of Canada. (2022, June 24). Canada's immigration advantage – A survey of major employers.


Key takeaway: Canadian employers are experiencing significant challenges when it comes to hiring international talent. These difficulties are hindering their business growth and hurting their bottom lines. More can be done to help employers navigate the immigration system to find the skilled talent they need.

Based on a survey of 80 member companies of the Business Council of Canada, this report highlights the experiences and challenges that companies face in hiring skilled immigrants from outside Canada. More than half of respondents said they actively recruit workers through the immigration system, and many expect to increase their use of this pathway over the next three years.

Skills shortages are widespread across the country, and employers are struggling to fill positions, especially for technical roles in computer science, engineering and information technology. Many survey respondents reported having to cancel or delay projects as a result of the tight labour market, resulting in foregone revenue, loss of market share and the relocation of work outside of Canada.

In addition, processing delays in the applications of prospective immigrants have been a significant hindrance to recruitment efforts. Moreover, employers who need and want to hire international students express discouragement with the onerous application process and the challenges that candidates face in obtaining permanent residency. Finally, while a large share of employers surveyed support higher immigration targets, they emphasize that immigration should focus on economic-class admissions.

Feir, D. L., Foley, K., & Jones, M. E. C. (2022, June). Heterogeneous returns to active labour market programs for Indigenous populations. NBER Working Paper #30158. National Bureau of Economic Research.


Key Takeaway: Non-Status First Nation and Métis individuals who participated in longer-term interventions of the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Strategy (ASETS) program experienced larger impacts on their annual earnings than Status First Nations individuals.   

This paper quantifies the impact of active labour market programs amongst distinct Indigenous populations in Canada. Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) programming provides a suite of active labour market programs for Indigenous groups in Canada who face differing institutional and labour market environments.  

Comparisons were made between individuals who participated in longer-duration interventions (high-intensity) versus shorter-duration (low-intensity) programming. The paper finds that in terms of annual earnings, the returns to high- relative to low-intensity programming differed significantly across Indigenous populations and Canadian jurisdictions.  

In particular, Métis and non-Status First Nations participants in high-intensity programming experienced considerable earnings differences two years post-ASETS. Status First Nations participants, on the other hand, experienced insignificant returns between the high- and low-intensity groups.  

Overall, the authors conclude that the diverse experiences of Indigenous groups who participated in ASETS programing underscores the importance of context in predicting the relative impacts of active labour market programs. 



The Conference Board of Canada. (2022, June). Under Pressure: Tight Labour Markets Are Driving Major Change.


Key takeaway: Canada is facing a tight labour market. At the same time, COVID-19 has changed the way people work. We must pivot to address these new labour market dynamics because failure to do so will have long-lasting implications for the economy.

The workplace has shifted since the onset of the global pandemic. This report examines Canada’s tight labour market and its implications for the economy. Across the country, job vacancies continue to increase while simultaneously, unemployment has reached a record low rate (i.e., 5.2% in April 2022). Employers have been responding by changing their hiring requirements and focusing on specific skills and abilities.   

COVID-19 forced workplaces to relocate to remote work indefinitely, and attitudes toward returning to the office have changed over time. Based on results from several surveys, most workers now say they prefer to work remotely and/or have hybrid work arrangements. As the post-pandemic recovery unfolds, these trends will substantially impact the labour force.

The authors note several implications:

  • Investment surge: Canada needs more investment in machinery, equipment, research and development, and intellectual property. Such investments have been weak for several decades, and as a result, many businesses are struggling to grow in the current labour market environment.
  • Need for more workers: Immigration has become a major avenue for addressing labour shortages. Immigration targets have reached their highest levels since 1913 as governments aim to secure more workers.
  • Higher wages: Tight labour markets mean wage growth is increasing and is expected to persist.
  • Adapting educational and training programs: To address shortages and help those who are underemployed transition into available roles, training programs will need to adapt. Recognition of other skills and training, such as micro-credentials, will also require further consideration in the labour market.

Walton-Roberts, Margaret. (2022, May 31). The ethics of recruiting foreign-trained healthcare workers. Healthcare Management Forum, 35(4), 248-251.


Key takeaway: As Canada continues to actively recruit internationally trained health professionals (IEHPs), it requires better co-ordination of data about its health-care workforce and collaboration with other stakeholders in the health-care landscape.

In 2019, more than one million people were employed in Canada’s health occupations, and immigrants accounted for a quarter of them.

At the same time, Canada is a signatory to the World Health Organization’s Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel. The Code aims to reduce the active recruitment of health workers from countries facing critical shortages of these workers, and it provides principles meant to guide the ethical recruitment of international talent. The author argues that Canada’s active recruitment of internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) is in breach of the Code and is also a wasted opportunity for Canada.

In addition, the author argues that while it is important for IEHPs to acquire credential recognition in order to practice in Canada, the difficulty involved in doing so is a major contributing factor to the underutilization of immigrants with health-care education. Furthermore, Canada has neglected health workforce planning issues and lacks basic information about the supply and demand for health workers in the country. This has led to disjointed data on the subject, which hinders the ability to address labour shortage issues across the country.

Recommendations include improving data availability and co-ordination, engaging the health-care landscape’s multiple stakeholders in long-term labour force planning, and embedding ethics into hiring practices to create systems that will allow for the full participation of IEHPs in Canada.

Frenette, M. (2022, May 25). Is taking a gap year between high school and postsecondary education beneficial or detrimental in the long term? Economic and Social Reports. Statistics Canada.


Key Takeaway: Taking a gap year between high school and postsecondary degree programs is correlated with reduced future earnings.

Taking a gap year between secondary and post-secondary studies has long been a goal for many students. On the positive side, a gap year could help students become more mature before starting postsecondary studies. Having an additional year of work or life experience could also help them make more informed decisions about their future career, possibly leading to superior labour market outcomes later.

On the other hand, taking a gap year could involve substantial opportunity costs, such as accepting low-paying work, or perhaps not working at all. Statistics Canada investigated the long-term labour market implications associated with taking a gap year in education. Using data from the Youth in Transition Survey, which covers ages 17 to 31, research findings suggest a substantial negative association between taking gap year and cumulative earnings for those who enrolled in a degree program.

In contrast, taking a gap year was positively associated with earnings for men enrolled in non-degree post-secondary programs ($70,416, or 14.6%, more). There was no association for their female counterparts.

Frenette, M. (2022, May 25). Recent trends in Registered Education Savings Plan holdings by income, immigrant status, Indigenous identity and province. Statistics Canada.


Key Takeaway: High-income families are more likely to hold Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) investments than low-income families. However, there is no significant difference in RESP investment between immigrant and non-immigrant families. 

This report analyzes the trends in Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) investments among different subgroups of the population including low- and high-income, immigrants and Indigenous people, as well as across provinces.  

Families in the top tier of income distribution are more likely to hold RESPs, but the gap in RESP investment between families at the top and bottom of income distribution is decreasing. In 2019, high-income families held 6.7 times more RESP investments than their counterparts in the bottom quintile, compared to 8.2 times in 2016. 

Even though children of immigrants tend to be highly educated compared to children of Canadian-born parents, there is no significant difference in RESP investment between immigrant and non-immigrant families.  

Indigenous families living off-reserve have two to three times less invested in RESPs compared to non-Indigenous families, but a large share of this difference can be explained by variation in income, wealth and parental education. Indigenous (off-reserve) and non-Indigenous families with similar income, wealth and parental education invest similarly in RESPs. 

While at first glance there seems to be an important disparity in RESP investment across provinces, much is explained by differences in income and wealth between provinces. Once these determinants are accounted for, families in Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and British Columbia have the highest adjusted RESP investments. 

Freestone, C. (2022, May 20). Proof point: Immigration will fuel Atlantic Canada’s population upswing. RBC Economics.


Key Takeaway: International migration will continue to reverse a longstanding outflow of residents from Atlantic Canada. This will invigorate the economy and contribute to further population diversity.

Atlantic Canada has become a more popular destination for immigrants and Canadians alike. Immigration contributed to an increase of permanent residents from 3% (in 2015) to 5.7% (in early 2022).

Most immigrants to the area are economic immigrants (below age 65), coming from Asia and West Africa. Additionally, in 2021 over 22,000 Canadians relocated to Atlantic Canada from other provinces. Continued growth in Atlantic Canada is forecasted with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s ambitious immigration targets, the Atlantic Immigration Program and the increasing number of international students.

As density expands, however, economists caution that a new set of challenges may arise, such as affordable housing and infrastructure. Nevertheless, increasing growth across the Atlantic will result in higher wages and consumer spending. Overall, it will have a positive impact on the region.

Atiq, M., Coutinho, A., Islam, A., & McNally, J. (2022, May). Jobs and skills in the transition to a net-zero economy: A foresight exercise. Future Skills Centre.


Key Takeaway: To enable resilient, equitable job growth in the transition to a net-zero economy, policymakers must support workers shifting out of jobs expected to disappear.

The demand for jobs and skills contributing to the net-zero economy will be spread unevenly across sectors in Canada. The key question for policymakers is how to enable resilient, equitable job growth across a range of future policy alternatives ranging from low to high carbon-intensive pathways to net-zero emissions.

The authors build a foresight model to explore plausible resilient futures in the face of uncertainty about Canada’s needs for green jobs and skills. Their analysis assumes disproportionate impacts on energy-intensive sectors, persistent job growth and uneven job creation due to net-zero emissions policies.

The authors recommend developing a net-zero career roadmap, providing reskilling and upskilling programs to workers in transition to net-zero jobs, and developing mechanisms to support workers facing unemployment created by the transition to zero emissions.

Jetha, A., & Nasir, K. (2022, May). Strategies to ensure young persons with disabilities are included in the future of work: Practical solutions proposed in the first round of a Delphi survey. Institute for Work & Health.


Key Takeaway: To improve the labour market outcomes and stability of young persons with disabilities (PWD) in Canada, collaboration among key stakeholders, active participation from the community, employer support, accessible transportation and strong social safety nets are critical.  

Through online surveys, 125 participants made up of young people with a lived experience of disabilities, policymakers, disability employment counsellors, labour market experts and futurists were asked to rate the impact of six challenges shaping the future of work for young persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Canada.  

These challenges include 1) advanced digital technologies; 2) artificial intelligence in human-resource decision-making; 3) digital globalization; 4) cultural tensions around workplace inclusivity; 5) climate change; and 6) external shocks speeding up the pace of change. The report also presents strategies and supports suggested by participants to address the barriers reflected by each challenge.  

The authors find that supporting job security with increased private–public collaboration, flexible work arrangements, increased funding and training resources for small and medium-sized employers and updating existing anti-discrimination laws and policies can improve young PWDs’ labour market outcomes and stability. 

Miller, S. (2022, May). Bridging the gap: The role of innovation intermediaries in Canada. A summary of lessons and best practices from existing knowledge. Mitacs.


Key Takeaway: Intermediaries can support innovation by creating links, providing services, such as financing and access to testing facilities and supporting strategic capability.

This report answers three central questions about innovation intermediaries with the goal of better understanding how they operate to support innovation. First, it defines innovation intermediaries as organizations that provide a supportive role for collaboration between parties during the various stages of innovation. Next, it explains the need for innovation intermediaries to support firms, individuals or universities in overcoming systemic or market-based barriers to innovation. Finally, it discusses how successful innovation intermediaries act to create, maintain and strengthen connections amongst those in an innovation system. As well, intermediaries can provide access to testing facilities, financing, portfolio advice or technology transfer opportunities. They can also support the exploitation of new knowledge to generate positive socio-economic impacts.

Workers’ Action Centre. (2022, May). From the frontlines: An urgent agenda for decent work.


Key Takeaway: Adopting labour legislation that focuses on worker needs is an important step in protecting frontline and precarious workers.

Through a combination of meetings, surveys and in-depth interviews with workers in low-wage and precarious work from across Ontario, this report summarizes their key issues. It also identifies the employment and labour law changes needed to support them.

The authors argue for adopting labour legislation that focuses on making sure that all workers receive decent wages, decent work hours, paid sick days and equal pay for equal work . As well, actions to end racism, discrimination and workplace bullying would help protect frontline and precarious workers, which often include immigrants.

Furthermore, as the gig economy and remote work opportunities grow, the current employment standards legislation should be re-drafted to better include those workers traditionally excluded, such as self-employed and freelance workers.

Dahlke, J. A., Putka, D. J., Shewach, O., & Lewis, P. (2022, April 12). Developing related occupations for the O*NET program. O*NET Resource Center.


Key Takeaway: O*NET has developed a new process for identifying related occupations within their taxonomy based on the similarity of what people in occupations do, what they know and what they are called. 

This report outlines the development and evaluation of a new process for identifying related occupations with the O*NET-SOC 2019 taxonomy. Previously, related occupations information was not available for all O*NET occupations.  

In this report, the initial approach for identifying related occupations is described, based on the similarity of work performed — in other words, the tasks and activities associated with an occupation.  

Upon evaluation, however, the researchers decided to include additional information, resulting in a final occupational relatedness composite indicator using task and detailed work activity-based similarity, knowledge importance similarity and alternate title similarity — based on three elements: what people in occupations do, what they know and what they are called.  

The ability to discover and review related occupations is central to job search and career exploration and this research is meant to support that exploration as well as labour research, workforce development and human resources. 

APEC. (2022, April). The future of work in Atlantic Canada. Atlantic Provinces Economic Council.


Key Takeaway: Skills and labour shortages will affect the Atlantic region. Addressing labour pressures and future of work-related issues will help ensure a sustainable labour market in the region.  

This research examines the impact of different global and national trends on the labour market of Atlantic Canada. Shifts in regional demographics, diversity and inclusion, automation and digitalization, global markets and supply chains, and green jobs and sustainability are all covered.  

The report highlights how changes in these megatrends will impact employers, workers, training institutions and governments. How to facilitate a healthy, inclusive, and sustainable labour market in the region is also covered.  

The Atlantic region’s population is older and aging faster than the rest of Canada. Supporting a sustainable labour force and economic growth will require between 13,000 to 16,000 immigrants per year. Improving diversity and inclusion in the labour market is also crucial in addressing regional labour shortages.  

The region’s occupational composition puts it more at risk for automation, since it lags the rest of the country in adopting new business technologies. Skills mismatch and upskilling challenges are also major barriers to digital adoption.  

As a region highly dependent on international trade, its labour market must adapt to increasingly protectionist trade measures. Firms in the region could shift to local higher-cost suppliers, which could undermine the competitiveness of exporters, but create opportunities for local regional firms. Finally, industries directly connected to environmental sustainability, such as renewable energy, are likely to boom.

Canadian Arab Institute and Newcomer Students’ Association. (2022, April). Employment barriers facing Arab women in Canada.


Key Takeaway: Arab Canadians experience significant challenges to economic integration. Further coordination is required to better support their labour market outcomes.

Arab Canadians make up one of the fastest-growing immigrant communities in Canada. However, they also have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. This report examines the experiences of Arab Canadians in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, highlighting several employment barriers they face. These include inadequate employment services, lack of foreign credential recognition, language and communication obstacles, and discrimination.

Based on their analysis, the authors advocate several pathways: 1) creating easy-to-access central information portals about the labour market; 2) encouraging federal–provincial coordination in providing information about degree equivalency processes before immigrants arrive in Canada; 3) encouraging workplaces to implement standardized performance evaluations to remove bias in performance reviews as well as fear of reprisal for reporting microaggressions or blatant discrimination, and 4) more funding for organizations that provide mentorship and social networking for newcomer and racialized women. 

Beauregard, P.-L., Connolly, M., Haeck, C., & Molnár, T. L. (2022, March 10). Primary school reopenings and parental work. Canadian Journal of Economics, 55(S1), 248–281.


Key Takeaway: To estimate the impact on parental employment, this report analyzes the geographical pattern of Canadian primary school re-openings during the COVID-19 pandemic. It found positive impacts of school re-openings on employment and hours worked.

The authors measured the impact on parental employment and work hours in Canada by observing the geographical pattern of primary school re-openings through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. They did this by comparing parents of primary-school children in regions where schools re-opened to regions where schools remained closed. In addition, the authors considered the parents of secondary-school-age dependents as an additional control group.

Mainly using confidential microdata from the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (LFS) from between January 2017 to 2021, the authors estimated the impact separately for mothers and fathers, as well as for single parents. Single mothers experienced an 18-percentage point increase in their employment capacity following school re-openings as compared to all other parent categories.

Gooch, E., Chaktsiris, M., Jae, K., Patterson, L., Suleman, S., Urban, M. C., Cukier, W., & Luke, R. (2022, March 10). The future is micro: Digital learning and micro-credentials for education, retraining and lifelong learning. Diversity Institute, Future Skills Centre, eCampusOntario, Magnet.


Key Takeaway: To demonstrate mastery, micro-credentials must be agile, responsive and flexible; created collaboratively by educators, employers and learners; and focused on developing workplace-related skills and competencies.

This report aims to provide a better understanding of micro-credentials, how they can support and advance people’s careers and, in doing so, strengthen the national workforce.

First, the report provides an overview of the micro-credential ecosystem in Canada, including definitions from a variety of sources. Second, feedback from participants across Ontario’s 36 pilot projects created using eCampusOntario’s Micro-credential Principles and Framework is collected and analyzed.

Finally, eight recommendations are offered to support the further development of Canada’s micro-credential ecosystem:

1) Create robust employer–educator networks to facilitate collaboration and connection across sectors

2) Conduct further research into the assessment methods that work best for micro-credentialing

3) Conduct a comprehensive mapping of skills in demand in the present and future

4) Amend the eCampusOntario Principles and Framework to account for the insights gathered in this report

5) Support experimental and innovative micro-credential development, delivery and pedagogy

6) Drive awareness of micro-credential potential and opportunity across Canada among educators, employers and learners

7) Conduct additional research on the potential of micro-credentials to better reach equity-seeking groups

8) Invest in research to capture feedback from learners and/or employers

Gabler, N., & Gormley, B. (2022, March 2). Lost opportunities: Measuring the unrealized value of skill vacancies in Canada. The Conference Board of Canada.


Key Takeaway: Skills vacancies represent $25 billion of unrealized economic value in Canada.

This research explores skills vacancies in Canada and estimates their unrealized economic value. In this study, job vacancies are defined as skill-set vacancies, identified by disaggregating job vacancies through expected skills for each job.

The unrealized value of each skill is then calculated using the annual salary associated with each occupation. The cost of these skill vacancies has grown from an estimated $15 billion in 2016 to $25 billion in 2020 — approximately 1.33% of Canada’s GDP. Furthermore, the cost of vacancies requiring soft skills such as active listening, critical thinking, reading comprehension, speaking, monitoring and coordination alone surpassed $6 billion.

The findings also show that social and emotional skills are highly ranked. These same skills topped the list six years in a row, suggesting systemic challenges in closing skill gaps.

De Maricourt, C., & Niang, M. (2022, March). Les offres d’emploi en ligne, nouvelle source de données sur le marché du travail : illustration sur l’année 2019. [Online job postings, a new source of labour market data: Illustration for the year 2019]. DARES.


(French only) 

Key Takeaway: The sheer volume and prevalence of online job postings generate opportunities for collecting and manipulating large amounts of real-time labour market data, which can provide novel insights into labour market tightness. 

The main objective of this document is to explore the new possibilities of analysis generated by the emergence of databases built using online job postings. In particular, the document addresses the issue of creating a statistical database from semi-structured data collected on the Internet through web-scraping. As well, it examines the contributions and limits of these databases, their comparability with the usual sources of labour market information and the creation of new indicators based on online job postings.  

As an illustration, the document introduces the JOCAS (Job Offer Collection and Analysis System) database, which contains more than five million entries for 2019 from daily collections on several recruitment sites. However, as is common when using online job posting data, the JOCAS database faces issues of representation given that online job postings represent only a biased segment of recruitments. Job offers for executives or in the sectors of information and communication, for example, are overrepresented, whereas job offers in agriculture and hospitality are underrepresented.  

Nevertheless, the authors suggest that using data from online job postings is valuable for better understanding labour market tensions — and certain sectors such as the digital sector — and for monitoring labour market indicators. 

TRIEC. (2022, March). Bridging the gap: Immigrant women and their labour market integration in the Greater Toronto Area. Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.


Key Takeaway: Skilled immigrant women faced challenges in finding adequate employment in Canada during the pandemic. To ensure an inclusive post-COVID response, targeted supports are required for better integration into the labour market.

This TRIEC report explores the challenges faced by skilled immigrant women who arrived in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) between 2011 and 2020. The study combined an online survey with in-depth interviews with 365 immigrant professionals and 608 employers.

The immigrant respondents are women aged 25–54, with an average of eight years’ work experience prior to immigration. Nearly 80% of them identify as racialized and two-thirds have graduate degrees. Regardless of their employment backgrounds, nearly half noted that it took more than six months to land their first job in the city.

Several noted lack of Canadian work experience to be a significant barrier to finding employment, and more than half decided to minimize their educational experience to secure a job, suggesting that their skills are significantly underutilized.

Among the employers surveyed, more than half reported strategies to attract immigrants through hiring practices, yet only a third reported having pathways for career advancement once hired.

Based on these findings, the authors recommend providing stronger pre-arrival information sharing and supports, improved coordination and accountability of employment-related programs for newcomers, targeted employment services to support immigrant women, as well as education and recruitment programs that specifically address workplace barriers for immigrant women.

Conference Board of Canada. (2022, February 17). Recovery for all: Finding equities in education and employment. Toronto, Future Skills Centre.


Key Takeaway: As pandemic recovery plans unfold; strategies must include representation and input from the communities most affected.

Led by the Conference Board of Canada and the Future Skills Centre, this report explores the disparate effects that pandemic restrictions have had on vulnerable communities in Canada, specifically, youth, Indigenous people, women and newcomers.

Researchers interacted with hundreds of stakeholders across the country to discuss their perspectives and concerns on equity and to solicit recommendations for promoting a more inclusive, equitable skills landscape for the future. Key themes that emerge include equity, education and employment, essential skills, innovation in post-secondary education, the changing nature of work and social and digital infrastructure.

Moving forward, it will be critical to engage with these communities — encouraging their participation and seeking their input — to understand the regional and demographic differences they experience and to develop effective post-pandemic recovery plans.

Guldimann, C., & Powell, N. (2022, February 16). Green collar jobs: The skills revolution Canada needs to reach net zero. RBC Economics and Thought Leadership.


Key Takeaway: The report addresses key changes to skills and employment in the Canadian labour market for the net-zero economy.

This report found that the transition to net-zero carbon emissions in Canada will have a significant impact on both existing and emerging labour market trends. The authors used the US ONET occupational green tasks methodology to identifying the affected occupations and skills in the Canadian National Occupation Classification.

The authors forecast that between 235,000 to 400,000 new jobs will emerge from this transition, while 15% of the labour force will see significant changes in their skills and responsibilities. Similarly, 8 of the 10 major occupational groups will be disrupted by these changes to skills and roles. Canada’s transportation, energy, and manufacturing sectors will face the earliest changes. Occupations in agriculture and natural resources as well as trades, transportation and equipment operators are expected to see a 40% increase in new jobs over the same period. Managers in engineering, architecture and utilities are already experiencing over half of their tasks shift, a five-fold increase compared to other managers in Canada.

Cassidy, H. (2022, February). The labor market impact of COVID-19 on immigrants. IZA World of Labor 2022, 489.


Key Takeaway: Immigrants are disproportionately employed in sectors hardest hit by COVID-19. They have also been underrepresented in remote work and thus need additional supports to improve opportunities in this area.

This report looks at the impacts of COVID-19 on immigrant workers in the US, Canada, Australia and several EU countries. In nearly all countries examined, immigrant workers were more likely than their native-born counterparts to be employed in jobs ill-suited to remote work.

Although job loss rates between the two groups were nearly equal before the pandemic, data shows that in nearly all the countries examined, employment losses by immigrant workers throughout the pandemic were greater than those of the native-born population. Additionally, immigrants were disproportionately represented in sectors hardest hit by the lockdowns, such as the hospitality sector, security and cleaning services and the restaurant industry.

Furthermore, for recent immigrants (fewer than five years), short job tenure placed them in higher risk of job loss. The authors argue that as the pandemic continues, one likely consequence will be the increase in remote work that has benefitted Canadian-born workers more than immigrant workers. To mitigate this, they suggest placing further attention on transitioning immigrant workers into more “remoteable” occupations, supported by enhanced language proficiency training.

Finally, policymakers must recognize that for nearly two years, lockdowns and re-opening the economy has had unequal effects on different groups. Moving forward, policy decisions should examine how to provide a smoother economic recovery for groups most affected.

TRIEC. (2022, February). Six trends shaping immigrant labour market integration. Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.


Key Takeaway: Canada must ensure that immigrants access supports and resources to help their inclusion, integration and retention in the labour market.

Immigration has been identified as a key mechanism to address labour market challenges and support post-pandemic economic recovery in Canada.

This report identifies six key trends impacting the labour market integration of Canadian immigrants. The top trends identified are automation, flexible work environments, gig work (including freelancers), prioritizing transferrable skills over credentials, delayed retirement and the importance of diversity, inclusion and equity in the workforce.

The workplace is changing, with a new era of agile workers in a digital economy. Alternative work arrangements now include hybrid and remote work, and re-skilling approaches include a new trend towards micro-credentials.

For immigrants to succeed, employers must consider investing in learning opportunities (like work-integrated learning programs) and clearer frameworks to reduce hiring biases that favour “Canadian experience.” These steps will allow employers to hire the best talent and support immigrant integration into the Canadian labour market.

ILO. (2022, January). World employment and social outlook: Trends 2022. Geneva: International Labour Organization.


Key Takeaway: Without effective international and domestic policies, many countries will take years to recover from the labour market impacts of COVID-19, with workers facing long-term consequences.

This report looks at the different challenges countries have been experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Labour markets have deteriorated and many countries are struggling to recover.

The report not only examines how pandemic challenges have affected countries around the world, it also explores the varied recovery patterns across regions, countries and sectors.

The report concludes by sharing the Global Call to Action for a Human-Centred Recovery from the COVID-19 crisis; one that has been adopted by the ILO’s 187 Member States.

The ILO sees this call to action as a necessary step towards recovery and advancement in crucial labour market matters that continue to affect certain groups, regions and sectors disproportionately.

Kelly, M., Brown, N., & Esses, V. M. (2022, January). Improving the attraction and retention of international educated healthcare professionals in small and rural communities. Toronto: Ryerson University.


Key Takeaway: Recruiting internationally educated healthcare professionals is one approach to addressing the labour market shortage, especially for small and rural communities.

Internationally educated healthcare professionals (IEHPs) have gained much attention since the onset of COVID-19. Inadequate healthcare resources, particularly for small and rural communities, have left many overworked and understaffed hospitals during the pandemic.

Recruitment of IEHPs is one way to address some of these challenges. However, this policy brief argues that more can be done to support and retain IEHPs in small and rural centres over the long term.

The many recommended approaches to IEHP retention include education, immigration policy, networking, personalized support and a pan-Canadian toolkit for more coordinated, national recruitment and retention. For example, prioritizing IEHPs in federal and provincial immigration programs as well as providing education pathways that focus on small/rural community medicine in countries from which IEHPs are arriving would both be helpful.

Once in Canada, IEHPs need increased training opportunities (for example, bridging programs) and collaborative networks in small/rural communities as well as personalized support for accompanying family members, including education, housing, settlement, social services, etc.

Schwedel, A., Root, J., Allen, J., Hazan, J., Almquist, E., & Devlin, T. (2022, January). The working future: More human, not less. Bain & Company. 


Key Takeaway: The relationship between workers and employers is changing, requiring firms to change their approach to attracting and retaining talent. 

This report examines the relationship between workers and firms and the implications that the future of work will have on attracting and retaining talent.  

The report is based on a survey of 20,000 workers and in-depth interviews with more than 100.

Five key themes are explored:  

1) motivations for work are changing 

2) beliefs about “good jobs” are diverging 

3) human advantages are becoming more emphasized 

4) technological change is blurring boundaries  

5) younger generations are increasingly overwhelmed.  


The authors also identify three emerging ideas for leaders looking to improve employer–employee relationships:  

1) focusing on underutilized potential within firms 

2) building personal capacity and actively improving the wellbeing of workers 

3) creating a sense of belonging and opportunity.  

OECD. (2021, December 15). Artificial intelligence and employment: New evidence from occupations most exposed to AI. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 


Key Takeaway: Artificial intelligence may further increase labour market disparities between workers with the skills to use AI and workers.  

This research explores the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on employment. In the past, automated technologies have primarily impacted low- and middle-skilled workers, disrupting those engaged in routine tasks.  

AI has made the most progress, however, in non-routine cognitive tasks: information ordering, memorization, perceptual speed and deductive reasoning. As a result, occupations requiring high levels of formal education now have the highest exposure to AI.  

The OECD suggests that AI may further increase labour market disparities between those who have the skills to use it effectively and those who do not. A key policy challenge, therefore, is to ensure that workers have the right skills to work with new technologies.  

Century Initiative. (2021, December). Driving innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada: The benefits of immigration. Toronto.

Key Takeaway: Canada should improve the current attraction, selection and settlement approaches to retain immigrant innovators and entrepreneurs.

Over the years, Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem has been highly regarded. However, some areas — including productivity, business growth, and investment in business research and development — could be strengthened.

This report highlights that governments, post-secondary institutions and the private sector can play a stronger role in supporting immigrant innovators and entrepreneurs in Canada. The Century Initiative found that one-third of successful Canadian private tech companies currently positioned to grow into world-class firms were founded or co-founded by immigrants.

The report recommends that Canada enhance the immigration process to target and select immigrant innovators. Streamlining applications for high potential immigrant entrepreneurs and recognizing self-employment as experience that can contribute to permanent residence qualifications would be helpful. Additionally, improving supports for immigrant entrepreneurs to start new businesses and connect with retiring business owners could be scaled up. Finally, strengthening the conditions to attract top talent from abroad can help entrepreneurs as well as support international students interested in careers in entrepreneurship in Canada.

McKenzie, S., & Goddard, T. (2021, November 17). Building responsive career pathways in a post-pandemic world: A roadmap for change. Blueprint & Future Skills Centre. 


Key Takeaway: The pandemic has created an accelerated need for high quality career and employment services in Canada. 

This report focuses on the pivotal role that career guidance will play in navigating the changing world of work in a post-pandemic labour market.  

The paper addresses a wide range of ideas surrounding the fragmentation of career and employment services. Adopting a more evidence-informed, person-centered service delivery practice, engaging with LMI and technical tools to inform career decisions, and removing barriers as Canadians navigate career pathways are all discussed.  

The authors suggest changing the “fail-first” reactionary career guidance model to a more proactive, comprehensive approach as seen in other countries. Additionally, information surrounding education and training across provincial and territorial agencies has been found to be inconsistent, fragmented and inaccessible.  

While employers have started improving access to skills training and education when updating their human resource practices, public agencies must also support Canadians in improving resiliency in the face of labour market changes.   

Challenge Factory. (2021). Workforce Architecture, 1(1). Toronto: Challenge Factory.


Key Takeaway: Workforce Architecture is Challenge’s Factory new digital magazine and research exchange, which includes articles about challenges and innovations in the world of work.

Workforce Architecture is Challenge’s Factory newly developed digital magazine and research exchange. It includes articles that speak to challenges and innovations occurring in the world of work.

In its first issue, Challenge Factory shares their framework for discussing themes related to the world of work, whether related to governments, educational institutions or the business world.

Three lenses make up the framework, developed to aid in building workforce architecture solutions:

1) lifelong career development

2) future of work

3) revolutionary change

Farmer, T., O’Neill, K., & Toor, M. (2021, November). Settling for more: Matching newcomers to Alberta’s tech sector. Ottawa: Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC).


Key Takeaway: As Alberta’s digital economy accelerates, high demand for workers in the tech sector will persist. However, barriers to employment still exist for many newcomers.

As Alberta rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic, the province’s digital economy has shown signs of resiliency and future growth potential. However, the sector will require more skilled digital talent to succeed.

This report examines the in-demand digital occupations and skills needed for the sector’s growth.

Newcomers already possess many skills needed to succeed, having arrived with high levels of experience and talent. However, the report finds that they face several barriers to employment in Alberta’s digital economy, including:

– the prioritization of Canadian work experience

– difficulty making connections and searching for jobs

–  being unfamiliar with the interview process and job negotiation skills, the conflation of soft skills and “culture fit”

– the absence of soft skill upskilling programs

Moving forward, the researchers suggest that skills training and targeted immigration could help bridge the gap between newcomers and employers.

Dinç, Y. E. (2021, October 29). Valued workers, valuable work: The current and future role of (im)migrant talent. Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada.


Key Takeaway: If immigration levels fall below current targets, larger labour shortages and further disruption will result.

This report analyzes Canada’s dependence on immigrants and temporary residents in areas of essential work, arguing that this dependency puts the future and resilience of these sectors at risk.

Using 2015 census data, the researchers examined four subsectors for deeper analysis: truck transportation, nursing and residential care facilities, farming and food manufacturing. These were chosen as areas of focus specifically because of their respective workforce size, the “essential” nature of the work (access to food and healthcare) and because they are often immigrant-intensive sectors.

Recommendations include:

– bringing in these essential workers as permanent residents

– improving working conditions and compensation

– ameliorating the credential recognition process

– expanding career pathways for workers across all skill levels

Ens, E., Savoie-Chabot, L., See, K. G., & Wee, S. L. (2021, October 5). Assessing labour market slack for monetary policy. Ottawa: Bank of Canada.


Key Takeaway: Canadian labour market concerns include long-term unemployment, slow recovery in unemployment rates among those 55+ and declining participation rates for non-university educated workers.

This research explores Canada’s recovery and the indicators used to evaluate labour market health.

The authors constructed an Expanded Labour Market Indicator to evaluate the various labour market slack measures and their concordances. COVID-19 has disrupted the degree of concordance between indicators — with individual measures sending mixed messages about the current health of the labour market.

The authors propose a framework to assess the labour market among three dimensions — job characteristics, labour market inclusiveness and overall labour market conditions — to provide a more comprehensive view and better capture labour market health.

Using this framework, they identify three areas of concern:

1) long-term unemployment,

2) slow recovery in unemployment rates among those 55+

3) declining participation rates in non-university educated workers

Zeman, K., & Frenette, M. (2021, October 4). Chapter 3: Portrait of youth in Canada. Youth and education in Canada: Data report. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.


Key TakeawayCumulative earnings associated with postsecondary education are far greater than average student debt levels. 

Post-secondary education rates are rising among younger Canadians as compared to older Canadians and to other OECD countries. While this is true across income groups, some groups fare better than others. Educational attainment is rising faster among women and second-generation immigrants, particularly those of Asian descent. Black youth are the least likely to attain post-secondary education.  

COVID-19 has challenged the education and earnings potential of graduates and may have long-term effects. Nevertheless, employment and earnings trajectories for postsecondary graduates are still higher than for non-graduates. Higher levels of education are associated with higher median cumulative earnings. 

In Canada, the cumulative earnings premium associated with postsecondary education is far greater than average student debt levels. Finally, with an uncertain near-term economic future due to the pandemic, young graduates arriving on the labour market may see earnings losses, which may continue years after the end of the pandemic. 

Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. (2021, October). Sink or swim: Transforming Canada’s economy for a global low-carbon future. Ottawa: CICC.


Key Takeaway: The global low-carbon transition presents an enormous economic opportunity for Canada, but large-scale investment to build transition readiness is needed before markets change.

“Sink or Swim” reports on the current state of Canada’s plans to lower carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. While certain industries will see changes in their profitability, sectors such as steel, cement and aluminum could fare better in the long term.

The report recommends investing in industries that create demand for renewable and low-emission products. At the same time, carbon costs can be offset through abatement and passing costs down to customers who continue to use high-emissions products.

Success in reducing emissions and in the overall low-carbon transition will require large-scale investment. For example, Canada ranks in the top 10 producers of minerals and precious metals that power fuel cells and electric vehicle batteries. This makes Canada well positioned to capture the four-to-five-fold global increase in demand by 2050.

The authors find that 3% of the Canadian labour force and 55 communities in Canada are employed in transition-vulnerable sectors. Public investment into these sectors will ensure long-term sustainability and support for local, people-focused revitalization.

Business Development Bank of Canada. (2021, September 29). How to adapt to the labour shortage situation: Hiring difficulties are not going away. Montreal: BDC.


Key Takeaways: Canada’s labour shortage issues are not new, but employers must shift their approach in attracting, hiring and retaining workers.  

For nearly two decades, Canada’s ageing population coupled with declining labour force participation has created a labour shortage problem in the country. This issue has worsened immensely in the global pandemic.  

Based on surveys with small and medium-sized (SME) Canadian entrepreneurs and their workers, the labour shortage is here to stay. As a result, employers report that this shortage has resulted in increased hours for staff, rising costs of wages and benefits, and limited business growth opportunities. While immigration can play an influential role in filling some of these gaps, BDC notes that this is just one way to address labour force growth.  

In response to these challenges, BDC highlights three proven solutions: new technology and automation, formal hiring processes and total compensation packages.  

RBC Thought Leadership. (2021, September 14). Powering up: Preparing Canada’s skilled trades for a post-pandemic economy. Montreal/Toronto: Royal Bank of Canada.


Key takeaway: We need more labour, upskilling and a shift to digital technology to meet the future demands in the trades sector.  

This report highlights the increasing labour shortage in the skilled trades sector. Over 700,000 skilled tradespeople are expected to retire by 2028. In the next five years, Canada will face a shortfall of at least 10,000 tradespeople in high-demand roles. 

Pre-COVID-19, Canada struggled to maintain a steady flow of skilled tradespeople. Combined with the rate of retiring workers, this labour shortage has worsened. Furthermore, the shift in the energy sector to greener technologies will require tradespeople previously employed in the oil sector to adapt. 

Strengthening talent pipelines through non-traditional groups — including women and immigrants — has begun; however, these groups alone will not be able to address the labour gap. As in many other sectors, a significant shift to digital technology is underway. For example, apprenticeship programs — a dominant pathway for many tradespeople — are shifting more coursework and learning labs into virtual platforms.  

This report stresses several possible solutions to address the changing landscape of the trades sector, including increased funding from all levels of government, further collaboration among industry, academia, regulators and government, and a re-assessment of the skilled trades immigration pathway. 

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2021, September 7). Beyond academic learning: First results from the survey of social and emotional skills. Paris: OECD Publishing.


Key Takeaway: The survey demonstrates the value of individual social and emotional skills in relation to life outcomes. 

The OECD’s Survey on Social and Emotional Skills is an international effort to collect data from students, parents and teachers on the social and emotional skills of learners at ages 10 and 15. OECD’s report classifies the social and emotional skills known to many as character or personality traits. Resilience, optimism, creativity, intellectual curiosity and stress control are some of the traits known to play an important role in the development of cognitive skills. 

This report presents the first results from this survey and discusses how social and emotional skills differ by gender, social background and age; and how they matter for student outcomes such as academic performance and well-being. Students’ social and emotional skills are seen to be closely related to students’ psychological well-being even after accounting for social status and gender.  

Some principal findings show that social and emotional skills fall as young people enter adolescence. Regardless of their gender or socioeconomic background, 15-year-olds reported lower skills than 10-year-olds. For such skills as optimism, trust, energy and sociability the decline is larger for girls than for boys. 

International Labour Organization. (2021, September 1). World social protection report 2020–22: Social protection at the crossroads — in pursuit of a better future. Geneva: ILO.


Key Takeaway: Countries are at a critical point in choosing between reinforcing social protection systems or falling back on unreliable safety nets.

This report examines the trends and the impact of COVID-19 in extending social protection and developing rights-based social protection systems around the world. Historically, social protection systems have grown, but big gaps still exist in coverage, comprehensiveness and adequacy. The pandemic has provoked unparalleled policy responses but also compounded pre-existing challenges, contributing to growing gaps between countries.

Countries are now at a critical point where they must choose between transforming pandemic crisis responses into reinforced social protection systems or moving towards minimalist safety nets. This unique policy window can be used to reinforce these systems to ILO standards, but the pressure of fiscal consolidation may provoke a backward trend.

Ivus, M., & Kotak, A. (2021, August). Onwards and upwards: Digital talent outlook 2025. Ottawa: Information and Communications Technology Council.


Key Takeaway: Canada’s economy has recovered well from the pandemic with a major shift towards digitization across the country. 

The digital economy represents a growing share of Canadian employment over the last 15 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has created further opportunities for Canada to expand. This report focuses on three areas of Canada’s digital economy: the impacts of COVID-19 on the broader Canadian economy, potential growth in the sector and employment forecasts to 2025.  

Particular attention is given to the federal government’s six areas for digital innovation and to employment prospects and skills required in these fields: cleantech, clean resources, advanced manufacturing, health and biotech, agri-food and food tech, and interactive digital media.  

Overall Canada’s information and technology sector looks strong, showing greater resilience and stronger performance than the general economy. The demand for skilled digital talent will remain high and employment in this sector will create additional jobs in the future. 

Microsoft. (2021, August). The new future of work: Research from Microsoft into the pandemic’s impact on work practices.


Key Takeaway: The shift to remote work has lasting, important implications for workers who do non-routine cognitive work.

This research explores the impact of COVID-19 on pandemic work practices and focuses on information workers — people who do non-routine cognitive work such as engineers or designers.

Work practices have rapidly changed since the start of the pandemic, leading to significant shifts impacting collaboration and meetings; personal productivity and well-being; IT and security; devices and physical ecosystems; software engineering; and societal implications.

The authors find that information workers prefer a hybrid mode of work and believe this model increases productivity and job satisfaction. The ability to have meetings and social engagement with colleagues is the primary reason for this choice, confirming the importance of in-person connection.

The study also finds that managers can impact employee productivity and well-being. Employees who received one-on-one support from managers were able to maintain productivity levels and work–life balance compared to those who did not receive similar support. This accentuates the need for managers to have soft skills to provide holistic support to employees.

Benton, M. (2021, July). Future scenarios for global mobility in the shadow of pandemic. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.


Key Takeaway: Government action and international cooperation will be key to the future of global workforce mobility.

This report explores the future of global mobility — a corporation’s ability to move its people to offices in different countries — and seeks to inform decision makers in government and international organizations on pandemic management.

Despite the development of vaccines, vaccine inequality and the emergence of more virulent variants have further complicated resuming mobility.

The report presents four possible scenarios for the next two to three years:

1) pandemic proofing, a world shaped by public health considerations;

2) mobility with friends, scenario of fragmented mobility, often within rigid regional bubbles;

3) chaos and fragmentation, provides a scenario where no meaningful solutions have been implemented and global mobility is uneven;

4) the pre-pandemic status quo, the least likely scenario, where COVID-19 is all but eradicated and global mobility resumes.

Leblanc, S., Mary, E., O’Neill, K., & Quan, T. (2021, July). Emergent employment: Canadian findings on the future of work. Ottawa, ON: Information and Communications Technology Council.


Key Takeaway: Flexibility and non-standard working arrangements will be key to the future of work – good policy and practices are necessary to address precarity, inequality, over-work, and isolation.

Gig work and remote work are changing the employment landscape and this report explores their role in the future of work.

Survey results indicated that people work remotely either because they are required to or because they prefer the flexibility. Higher levels of job satisfaction, positive work–life balance and feeling safe have been reported for those working remotely during the pandemic. Employers that successfully transition to remote work can maintain company culture, leverage remote work tools and foster innovation.

On the other hand, government should develop employment standards and regulations for remote work and adjust taxation for employers and employees.

The report affirms that large data gaps remain regarding the gig economy and experts are concerned about worker manipulation and power imbalances. However, survey respondents indicated positive feelings of agency and fairness among gig workers.

The report’s key findings include the continued importance of flexibility for the future of work; the need for changes to labour rights, business and innovation supports, social security and technical policy; and the need to address the precarity and inequality exacerbated by the pandemic.

Young, S. J., Deller, F. M., & McCallum, K. E. (2021, June 14). Innovation in post-secondary education, Skills for the post-pandemic world. Toronto: Future Skills Centre.


Key Takeaway: Canadian post-secondary institutions need to adapt their curriculum rapidly to address post-pandemic skills gaps.

The report examines Canada’s post-secondary institutions in the current juncture of COVID-19 and the ability to adapt to technological advances in education. Some key features of this flexibility come from the ability to change curriculum to meet the demands of students, government and workers as they arise. Despite constraints imposed by funding, quality control and regulatory mechanisms, these institutions remain responsive to labour market signals and challenges. Programs that incorporate work, integrated learning, micro-credentials and targeted training for special populations have enabled students to gain skills that are crucial for labour market entry post-pandemic. The report recommends that post-secondary institutions build on these structures by supporting adaptability and flexibility, adjusting funding mechanisms, and continually assessing the quality and competency of post-secondary programs to fill gaps in the skills students need to be successful in the labour market.

Cukier, W., McCallum, K. E., Egbunonu, P., & Bates, K. (2021, June 9). The mother of invention: Skills for innovation in the post-pandemic world. Toronto: Future Skills Centre.


Key Takeaway: The Canadian innovation sector needs an entrepreneurial skills strategy.

This innovation report looks at the skills necessary for the post-COVID economy. The findings suggest that over half the Canadian workforce will need to reskill within the next five years due to the disruption of the pandemic and accelerated technological automation. The pandemic has exacerbated these challenges in adopting and creating new technologies. Despite significant public investment in research and development, Canada’s innovation sector is lagging relative to other developed nations. The report calls for a strategy that addresses skills for innovation across sectors. Additionally, clear gaps within the innovation ecosystem can be addressed to improve its outcomes. The main issues that arise in its current form show that competition for scarce resources, a dearth of entrepreneurial management training opportunities, and lack of coordination among funding organizations creates fragmentation and duplication of effort for institutions, jurisdictions and sectors alike.

Stanford, J., & Bennett, K. (2021, June). Bargaining tech: Strategies for shaping technological change to benefit workers. Vancouver, BC: Centre for Future Work.


Key Takeaway: The impact of technology on jobs largely depends on how it is implemented, and it will be vital to give workers more say in negotiating how workplace technology unfolds. .

This paper in the Centre for Future Work’s PowerShare project assesses the impact of modern technology on the quantity and quality of work in Canada. It examines the complex effects of technology on jobs and how this can be leveraged for more inclusive labour market outcomes.

Statistics shows that technology adoption will not lead to mass unemployment; rather, it is more likely to cause a disruption and reallocation of jobs – for example, the risk of insufficient investment in innovation by Canadian businesses and its potential negative impact on the quality of work.

The impact of technology on jobs largely depends on how it is implemented and whether workers have a say in the ways in which technology is incorporated into their work.

Canadian unions have actively been involved in shaping and managing how technology is integrated into the workplace to ensure an adoption that protects and respects the workers.

Myers, K., Harding, S., & Pasolli, K. (2021, May 18). Skills training that works: Lessons from demand-driven approaches. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy.


Key Takeaway: Government-sponsored skills training can be effective when aligned with employer needs to meet the skills demand in local labour markets.

Prior to the pandemic, Canada’s skills development systems were already struggling to meet fast-changing labour market needs. With pressure from technological and demographic changes, Canada needs a skills development system capable of meeting employer and labour market needs. This research profiles two promising demand-informed training models — sector-based training and Career Pathways — both currently in use in the United States. The sector-based model works with employers in specific industries to identify their skills needs and to design corresponding training for better alignment. The Career Pathways model combines sector-based training with post-secondary education to facilitate workers’ career progression by providing upskilling opportunities. These models are recommended for their potential use in Canada’s policy response to the pandemic. Government-sponsored skills training can be effective when aligned with employer needs to meet skills demand in local labour markets. This is contrary to previous research, which relied on outdated methodology. Recommendations for Canada’s skills training landscape include testing and scaling up promising methods, developing strong networks between trainers and employers, and producing timely labour market information.

Dauth, W., Findeisen, S., Suedekum, J., & Woessner, N. (2021, May 12). The adjustment of labor markets to robots. Journal of the European Economic Association.


Key Takeaway: Automation and the increasing share of robots have augmented and improved outcomes in German manufacturing industries.

The research explores German labour data combined with survey data on the stock of robots in industry. Robots are defined as “fully autonomous machines that do not need a human operator and that can be programmed to perform several manual tasks…” From 1994 to 2014, the authors find that the increasing share of robots displaces workers in manufacturing, but these effects are fully offset by new jobs in services. This contrasts with findings in US labour markets that show alarmingly negative impacts from automation. The authors find that automation drove workers to take over new tasks in their original plants. Several measures indicate that these new jobs are of higher quality and earnings. In addition, younger workers adapted educational choices towards colleges and universities to better prepare for in-demand skills. Among all other occupations, managers and technical scientists were most likely to benefit from industrial robots.

Cross, P. (2021, April 22). The implications of slowing growth in Canada’s labour force. Fraser Institute.


Key Takeaway: Labour force growth is likely to continue its recent slowdown, emphasizing the importance of policies to stimulate investment and boost productivity.

This report examines projections on labour force growth and discusses what a possible decline of growth could mean for the Canadian economy. Most projections identified in the report show some slowdown in labour force growth over the coming decades. Growth will depend on immigration as Canada’s population ages. However, the pandemic has increased uncertainty around already precarious labour force projections. Although several factors make these projections uncertain, it is more predictable that labour supply growth will continue its recent slowdown. A decline is not inevitable but slower labour force growth is likely to result in a deceleration of economic growth if not combatted with increasing capital inputs or productivity. This makes the adoption of measures that boost investment and productivity even more important.

Speer, S., & Bezu, S. (2021, April 15). Job polarization in Canada. Toronto, ON: Future Skills Centre.


Key Takeaway: As policymakers consider how to build back the economy after the pandemic, addressing the problems created by job polarization must figure in their priorities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the phenomenon of job polarization — including automation, offshoring and the growing importance of the gig economy. This report looks at job polarization, with the goal of helping Canadian policymakers and the public better understand the trend, including causes and effects, and how it differs among provinces, industries and workers. As society slowly reopens and businesses resume, there will be no “return” to normal: the pandemic has dragged the future of work into the present. The goal of this report is to create a robust policy ecosystem that supports the mobility needed for workers and employers to navigate the new reality. If “build back better” is to be more than a slogan, it will need to confront the issue of job polarization.

Bonen, T., & Loree, J. (2021, April). How to forecast skills in demand: A primer. Toronto, ON: Future Skills Centre.


Key Takeaway: Forecasting in-demand skills is extremely challenging but three broad approaches are available that draw on different types of skills data.

There is no “silver bullet” approach to forecasting in-demand skills, but three broad approaches are available:

  • Forecasting employment in occupations and mapping these data to skills
  • Forecasting skills based on those listed in online job postings
  • Modelling expert opinions about the future trajectories of skills to make broad predictions about those that will be in demand

The work of forecasting employment in occupations and mapping those occupations to skills relies on well-established forecasting methods used by a wide variety of organizations, including provincial governments and industry-focused workforce development groups. Leveraging skills listed in online jobs postings requires extracting skills information through natural language processing (NLP) algorithms that categorize written text into a taxonomy of work requirements (of which skills are one type). Finally, we can use experts’ predictions about whether a handful of representative occupations (or skills) will grow or contract in the future. These “forecasts” are qualitative assessments about the future prospects for a subset of occupations (or skills), which are then projected onto similar occupations (or skills) using machine learning models. Given the unique lens used by each method, there is value in drawing insights from all three and using them in a complementary fashion.

Fudurich, J., Suchanek, L., & Pichette, L. (2021, April). Adoption of digital technologies: Insights from a global survey initiative. Ottawa, ON: Bank of Canada.


Key Takeaway: Compared with small/medium-sized firms, large firms are more likely to adopt digital technologies and more likely to expect negative effects on both employment and prices.

We live in a constantly changing world and digital technology is the main driver of this change. The Bank of Canada, together with a global network of central banks, set out to understand the global implications of digitalization on the pricing and employment decisions made by firms. By administering The Business Outlook survey to domestic and global partners, the authors analyzed the indirect impact on prices and on employment caused by digitalization to provide a policy response. Overall, Canadian firms expect some downward pressure on prices from efficiency gains such as automation, and from increased online competition and cost compression in the supply chain.

However, small- and medium-sized firms will see an increase in costs for implementation that will have to be passed on to their customers. Hence, digitalization clearly matters for price setting and hiring decisions. Due to the multifaceted nature of the issue, the authors argue that policy makers must continue to monitor and analyze the impacts of digital technology on variables of interest, focusing on inflation, pricing models and employment.

Future Skills Centre. (2021, April). Work at home or live at work: The complexities of new working arrangements. Toronto, ON: Environics Institute for Survey Research, Future Skills Centre, and The Diversity Institute.


Key Takeaway: Working from home may have been a blessing for some, but not for all.

In late 2020, as the pandemic’s second wave gathered momentum in Canada and the number of new COVID-19 cases steadily increased, the second wave of the Survey on Employment and Skills was conducted, focusing on how Canadians have been affected by the disruptions caused by the pandemic. The report highlights the experience of individuals who were able to work from home and those who were not. Due to the improbability that life will revert completely to the way it was pre-pandemic, it is important to understand the underlying inequalities present in our society. The report’s aim is to expose how working from home is closely tied to one’s socioeconomic situation. It specifies how Canadians who are more economically vulnerable are more likely to be working outside the home, how immigrants and racialized Canadians felt that working from home would have a negative impact on their careers, and how those with a physical or mental disability did not have the right equipment to properly work from home.

Quan, T., Ivus, M., & Snider, N. (2021, April). 21st century digital skills: Competencies, innovations and curriculum in Canada. Ottawa: Information and Communications Technology Council.


Key Takeaway: Teachers require ongoing skills development and training to ensure that they have the digital skills and competencies to integrate fast-changing technology into educational settings.

With education becoming increasingly hybrid (a blend of online and in-person), it is essential to understand the digital skills and competencies required by students and educators for online or hybrid education to be effective. Those responsible for preparing the next generation of workers require ongoing skills development and training to ensure that they have the digital skills and competencies to integrate fast-changing technology into educational settings. With students often more familiar with technologies than those instructing them, educators have become more focused on human skills such as critical thinking, creativity and adaptability versus the more traditional reading, writing and arithmetic, particularly in the K–12 system. Technology has facilitated improved access to the latest resources, expanded classroom boundaries, and increased engagement, interactivity, collaboration and communication. Technology is an essential pillar of education policy, and it remains important to ensure equitable access to reliable internet and information. The report highlights best practices and provides examples of successful adoption of technology in education.

Bouchard, G., Haddad, F., Norris, D., & Tewolde, H. (2021, March 10). A platform economy strategy for Canada: Supporting place-based governance for a more resilient and inclusive post-COVID future of work. Ottawa, ON: Action Canada.


Key TakeawayThe emergence of the “platform economy” has implications for the future of work and employment that requires a coordinated government policy response. 

 In the past decade, digital platforms like Uber, Airbnb, Shopify and Amazon have become widely used in Canada, fuelled by advances in big data, algorithms and cloud computing. In 2018, 28% of Canadian adults earned income through digital platforms. Evidence suggests that growth of the platform economy has accelerated due to COVID-19, and that it is fundamentally disrupting structures of workeremployer relationships, job security/precarity and compensation. In this new economy, policy challenges include addressing monopoly ownership, algorithmic management of low-skilled work and increasingly precarious labour practices. There are some indicators that rural regions or smaller municipalities may be less prepared to address these challenges. To date, intergovernmental action on these issues has been piecemeal. The authors argue that the federal government should adopt a coordinated “Platform Economy Strategy” to improve place-based governance of digital platforms in Canada. 


Kovács-Ondrejkovic, O., Strack, R., Baier, J., Antebi, P., Kavanagh, K., & López Gobernado, A. (2021, March 4). Decoding global talent, onsite and virtual. Boston, MA: Boston Consulting Group.


Key TakeawayWith the rise of remote work due to the pandemic, there has been a global decline in interest in migrating for work. 

This study of 209,000 people in 190 countries reveals significant shifts in attitudes and trends in global mobility, highlighting a decline in interest in migrating for work. In 2014, twothirds of global respondents were willing to move to another country for work. In 2020, this number had declined to 50% due to nationalistic immigration policies and changes prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the option to work remotely. Remote work provides opportunities for workers to engage with employers in different geographies without having to uproot their families. Regional responses to the pandemic — such as containment and vaccination measures — were a factor in willingness to relocate. A key finding is the decline of the US as the top work destination. The US is now ranked second, behind Canada, and tied with Australia, due to their pandemic management and perceived social systems and cultures. Some obstacles that employers and governments must consider for outofcountry remote workers include legal and regulatory complexities, time zone challenges and data protection differences. 

Brennan, J., Deer, F., Desai Trilokekar, R., Findlay, L., Foster, K., Laforest, G., Wheelahan, L., & Wright, J. M. (2021, March). Investing in a better future: Higher education and post-COVID Canada. Ottawa: Royal Society of Canada.


Key Takeaway: Investing in tomorrow’s workforce through adequate funding and support for the post-secondary education sector is critical.

This report highlights how the pandemic has further stretched the already strained post-secondary education (PSE) sector’s resources and the need for long-term planning to invest in Canada’s future workforce. PSE is critical to socioeconomic mobility, a highly skilled workforce, improved health outcomes and Canada’s global position in research. Key concerns in the sector centre on declining public funding, decreasing institutional autonomy, increasing part-time and contract faculty, increasing vulnerability to political and donor interests, reliance on a constantly changing international education market, the exclusion of students through high tuition, and limited mental health, technological and academic supports. Without adequate investment, PSE’s research capacity and the accessibility of education could be further eroded, depriving Canada of the public benefits of PSE. The task force’s recommendations are built on six fundamental principles including the provincial and federal governments working together to increase core funding for universities and colleges and for creating an expert panel to formulate a plan to support sustainable and equitable internationalization.

Lund, S., Madgavkar, A., Manyika, J., Smit, S., Ellingrud, K., Meaney, M., & Robinson, O. (2021, February 18). The future of work after COVID19. San Francisco, CA: McKinsey Global Institute.


Key TakeawayThe pandemic has accelerated trends in remote work, e-commerce and automation, with an up to 25% increase in post-pandemic occupation transitions. 

This report investigates the long-term impact of COVID-19 on work, the workforce and the workplace in eight countries with diverse labour markets. Using data from O*Net, the authors quantify five key attributes for more than 800 occupations: 1) closeness to customers or coworkers, 2) frequency of human interactions required, 3) if human interactions are with a small set of the same people or a stream of strangers, 4) whether the work is indoors and 5) whether it requires on-site presenceAcross all attributes, the pandemic has accelerated three trends: hybrid remote work, an increase in e-commerce and the growth of the “delivery economy,” and the adoption of automation and artificial intelligence (AI). Youth, women, ethnic minorities and workers without a college degree are likely to be most affected by these workforce transitions. The composition of occupations within the economy is likely to change with little to no growth in low-wage occupations. 

Tuccio, M., Quintini, G., & Keese, M. (2021, February 11). Improving the quality of non-formal adult learning: Learning from European best practices on quality assurance. Paris: OECD.


Key Takeaway: Quality assurance in non-formal adult learning is instrumental in improving the outcomes of low-skilled workers amidst the megatrends of the future of work.

Megatrends such as globalization, technological progress and population aging are changing the composition and needs of labour markets. Adult learning plays a crucial role in helping workers to update their skills and acquire new ones to match these needs. This is particularly important for adults with low skills. Since these workers are less likely to participate in formal education, non-formal adult learning becomes increasingly important. To reap the benefits of non-formal education programs, quality must be assured to evoke trust in such programs and guarantee the success of their participants. However, non-formal adult learning is less regulated, and quality assurance systems vary considerably. This report stresses the importance of establishing a wide and holistic quality approach, where typical quality assurance tools — such as certification and evaluations — are complemented with additional support structures, such as professionalization of teaching staff, involvement of social partners and more.

PwC Canada. (2021, February). Canadian field workers adjust to a new world of work. PwC Canada.


Key Takeaway: Post-COVID-19, firms should invest in technology and upskilling for Canadian field workers and prioritize their well-being.

This report looks at the changing world of work for Canadian field workers, defined as full-time or part-time employees who spend most if not all their workday in a non-office setting. Using PwC’s Canadian field worker study (conducted February 11–17, 2021), they find untapped potential in technology and upskilling for field workers, with more than half of field staff not using technology much either before or during the pandemic. Further, the pandemic has taken a toll on the well-being of field workers, with a 21% decline in the number who rated their well-being as good or very good from before the pandemic. This report urges leadership in these industries to consider how technology and upskilling better enable field staff, to be concerned about prioritizing employee well-being, and to think about how they are developing leaders.

Russek, H., Thornton, J., & Elias, D. (2021, February). Yesterday’s gone: Exploring possible futures of Canada’s labour market in a post-COVID world. Toronto, ON. Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E).


Key TakeawayThis report outlines eight “megatrends” and 34 related “meso” trends that have the potential to impact Canada’s job market.

We are living in very uncertain times, which makes it critical to be prepared for the years to come. This report outlines eight “megatrends” and 34 related “meso” trends with the potential to impact the future of Canada’s labour market. Many of these trends have been intensified by COVID-19, while others have emerged as a direct result of it. Trends include technological, social, economic, environmental and political changes. For example, this report discusses the possibility of permanent remote work or a push towards strong anti-racism workplace policies in the future. The purpose of this report is not to provide a comprehensive overview or predict the future but to inspire people to consider the ways that different trends interact, which are not always obvious. Additionally, it is important to understand how these trends may impact different demographic and population groups since their impacts may not always be equal.

Frank, K., Yang, Z., & Frenette, M. (2021, January 27). The changing nature of work in Canada amid recent advances in automation technology. Catalogue no. 36-28-0001. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada, Statistics Canada.


Key TakeawayOver the past two decades there has been an increase in occupations associated with non-routine tasks. 

This research explores the changing nature of work using a task-based approach. The authors compare the types of tasks required in given jobs, and the types of jobs available in the economy, to assess whether there was an increase in importance of tasks that cannot be automated. While analytical and interpersonal tasks have grown in importance between 2011 and 2018, this growth was modest. Between 1987 and 2018, the authors find a gradual increase in occupations associated with non-routine tasks, particularly from production, craft, repair and operative occupations toward managerial, professional, technical and service occupations (which are non-routine and manual tasks). Examination of these shifts is important and highlights that the world of work is highly responsive to such factors as changes in the country’s economic composition and business cycles, not limited to automation and technological advancements.

Giammarco, M., Higham, S., & McKean, M. (2021, January 21). What are Canadian post-secondary institutions saying and doing? Social and emotional skills. Ottawa, ON: Conference Board of Canada.


Key TakeawayThe report recommends an approach that values social and emotional skill for post-secondary institutions. 

The report highlights the growing importance of social and emotional skills (SES) to employers, and the slow response of post-secondary institutions (PSIs) to respond to this demand. Employers have shifted from hiring and rewarding employees based largely on their technical skills to incorporating more SES such as creativity and problem-solving. Most post-secondary and employment training programs, however, have not adapted to meet this change. With only one in five post-secondary strategic plans referring to the holistic development of SES, the report points to a disconnect between the needs of employers and the priorities of PSIs. To better equip students for the changing world of work, PSIs must incorporate SES development into applied training and assessment. The report recommends an approach that values SES at the strategic planning level for improved implementation.

Lane, M., & Saint-Martin, A. (2021, January 21). The impact of Artificial Intelligence on the labour market: What do we know so far? OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, no. 256. Paris, France: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.


Key TakeawayArtificial intelligence could create a myriad of new jobs but not all workers have the skills to adapt to these changes. 

This report provides new evidence and analysis of the fast-evolving changes in AI capabilities and diffusion and their implications for the world of work. The report emphasizes that AI is associated with a great potential for output and welfare gains as well as for magnifying the labour market impact. Low-skilled workers, who are more exposed to automation in general, are less exposed to AI. High-skilled workers in occupations requiring limited interpersonal skills and few novel situations are highly exposed to AI. Exposure, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that jobs will disappear. Humans outperform AI in creative and social intelligence, reasoning skills and dealing with uncertainty; AI could therefore complement labour. AI could also generate entirely new industries and create a myriad of new jobs that alter work environments and require reskilling or upskilling, but not all workers are equally prepared to adapt to these changes. The size of AI’s impact on productivity and whether workers will share in the benefits are still in question.

Elliott, R. J. R., Kuai, W., Maddison, D., & Ozgen, C. (2021, January). Eco-innovation and employment: A task-based analysis. IZA Institute of Labor Economics.


Key Takeaway: Through a trade-off between green and non-green jobs, eco-innovation may lead to a change in the composition of the labour force rather than to overall growth.

This research examines the relationship between eco-innovation — the development of a product, process or method with environmental benefits — and firm-level employment. Policymakers have shown growing interest in eco-innovation as a key mechanism to transition economies to a more sustainable development path and increase job quality.

Combining O*NET’s green occupation list with firm-level administrative and survey data, the authors investigate how developing green technologies affects the total number of jobs and the share of green jobs within the Netherlands.

The authors report an increase in the share of green jobs driven by the reduction in non-green jobs rather than the increase in green jobs. The authors also report this shift to be the result of product innovation rather than process or total innovation motivated by government subsidies.

As a result, it appears that encouraging eco-innovation through subsidies leads to a compositional change in the labour force, rather than to overall growth, through a trade-off between green and non-green jobs.

Georgieff, A., & Milanez, A. (2021, January). What happened to jobs at high risk of automation? OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, no. 255. Paris, France: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.


Key TakeawayThe OECD estimates that 14% of jobs are at high risk of automation.

Using data from the 2012–2019 Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) the OECD estimates that 14% of jobs are at high risk of automation. Despite growing concerns surrounding automation risk, employment has grown by 12% among countries surveyed. Employment growth was lower in high-risk occupations (6%) as compared to low-risk occupations (18%). The authors point out that manufacturing, sales, clerical and agricultural occupations — already at high risk of automation — showed employment declines. The authors similarly raise concerns that workers with low levels of education are increasingly employed in occupations at high risk of automation: 5.9% since 2012. Additionally, job stability is lower and more older workers are employed in sectors at high risk of automation. Interestingly, countries with high employment growth were at the highest risk of automation. The authors indicate that automation may contribute positively to employment growth as countries facing higher automation risk also experienced higher levels of productivity growth.

World Economic Forum. (2021, January). Building a common language for skills at work: A global taxonomy. Cologny, Switzerland: WEF.


Key TakeawayThe report proposes to organize skills by clusters to better inform the needed to reskill, upskill and redeploy workers. 

This report proposes a framework for a global skills taxonomy as part of WEF’s Reskilling Revolution to provide one billion people with improved education, jobs and skills by 2030. The proposed taxonomy draws on the European Skills, Competences and Occupations (ESCO) and American Occupational Information Network (O*NET) frameworks and integrates emerging skills and attitudes. To enable the agility required for the changing nature of work, stakeholders must adopt skills as the currency of the labour market. Skills-based recruitment will better enable employers to identify talent, while providing workers with the ability to transition better between roles and increase access to training opportunities. The proposed taxonomy emphasizes the value of a skills-based approach to reskill, upskill and redeploy workers. The taxonomy also comprises definitions, categorizations of skills clusters and groupings, recommendations for implementation and use cases on how reskilling has already been leveraged.

Gyarmati, D., Lane, J., & Murray, S. (2020, November 13). Skills next: Competency frameworks and Canada’s essential skills. Toronto, ON: Public Policy Forum, Ted Rogers School of Management, Diversity Institute, and Future Skills Centre.


Key TakeawayThere is a need for further research on how best to measure social and emotional skills and their impact on employee retention. 

In this report, the authors call for a Canadian competency framework for essential skills that covers “soft skills” and other essential skills identified by industry leaders as being key to success. This report summarizes the research on definitions and frameworks. Soft skills help workers navigate career changes, engage in continuous learning and manage change. Among other uses, competency frameworks help develop, classify and recognize skills, knowledge and competencies to assist employers better assess candidates during recruitment. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) developed a Skills and Competency Taxonomy that the report recommends should be linked to occupations to fill a crucial labour market information gap. Canada lags in adult literacy and training compared to other countries due to lack of employer investment, particularly from the private sector. The paper concludes with critical areas for further research on skills and competencies — including how best to measure social and emotional skills — and what the relevance and impact of these skills is on employers’ outputs and long-term employee retention.

Kanders, K., Djumalieva, J., Sleeman, C., & Orlik, J. (2020, November). Mapping career causeways: Supporting workers at risk. London: Nesta


Key TakeawayFocusing on viable job transitions and skill gap analysis could help mitigate risk of job loss associated with automation risk. 

posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers may find themselves facing another risk: Automation. This report looks at current trends in the UK, France and Italy and identifies viable solutions for workers in occupations at high risk of automation. By utilizing a career transition recommendation algorithm, the authors discovered that at-risk workers have 10% fewer options that they could transition into, based on their skills, than workers in lower-risk jobs. Also, many transitions for at-risk workers would place them in occupations also at high risk of automation. By focusing on viable transitions, skill gap analysis and risk of automation analysis, the report aims to provide practical recommendations for lowering worker exposure to automation risk. It also recognizes that other trends besides automation will also disrupt the future of work.

Papademetriou, D. G. (2020, November). Managing the pandemic and its aftermath: Economies, jobs, and international migration in the age of COVID-19. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute.


Key TakeawayMigration has been heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which provides an opportunity to reimagine migration management and labour policies.  

The pandemic disrupted much of 2020, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continuing to project deep recession for 2021. While employment in some sectors has started to rebound, millions of jobs have already been lost and many of those will likely be permanent, particularly in retail and travel, arts and entertainment, commercial real estate, and accommodation and hospitality. Migration fell by 46% in the first half of 2020, and policymakers continue to grapple with reopening their economies, societies and borders while managing the public-health risks. Public health and travel restrictions could prompt employers and governments to invest in automation and to revisit retirementage laws and pension benefits. In the short to medium-term future, international students, “selected” and “essential worker” migrants will become more important as policies are enacted to prioritizimmigrants who can aid with the health crisis and economic recovery. The pandemic provides an opportunity for societies to reform immigrant-dense, low-wage labour markets, such as factory and industrial agrarian work, and to reimagine the management of borders.  

Adams-Prassl, A., Balgova, M., & Qian, M. (2020, September). Flexible work arrangements in low wage jobs: Evidence from job vacancy data. IZA Discussion Paper no. 13691. Bonn, Germany: IZA – Institute of Labor Economics.


Key TakeawayThe paper finds that increased demand for flexible contracts rises is partly driven by a desire to reduce labour costs. 

Using a machine-learning method to analyze 46 million UK job vacancies posted between 2014 and 2019, this paper finds that employer demand for flexible, non-salaried contracts rises with an increase in the minimum wage. This suggests that the demand for flexible work arrangements is partly driven by a desire to reduce labour costs. The paper observes that a large and unexpected change to the minimum wage led to a 7-percentage point increase in the proportion of flexible and non-salaried vacancies at low wages. Contrary to the popular narrative that flexible jobs are mostly prevalent among well-paid, highly educated workers, the paper finds that alternative work arrangements advertised in the UK tend to cluster in low wage, non-salaried jobs, with their share rising over time.

OECD. (2020, July 23). Preparing for the future of work in Canada, OECD reviews on local job creation. Paris: OECD Publishing.


Key Takeaway: COVID-19 has greatly affected local communities across Canada and is likely to speed up automation in the workplace.

This report sheds light on the threats and opportunities facing local labour markets in Canada due to COVID-19 and provides recommendations focusing on future-proofing people, places and firms. To help leverage local assets and respond to the future of work, the recommendations are to foster demand-led training and labour market information and promote economic diversification building on local skills assets. To support people to make the digital transition that must be accelerated due to COVID-19, the OECD recommends that Canada ensure that the employment and skills system targets workers in need and promotes a human-centred response to the future of work. Lastly, to ensure that firms have access to skills and training opportunities, the recommendation is to improve the effectiveness of training for firms and ensure that they make use of the available skills.

World Economic Forum. (2020, January 22). Jobs of tomorrow: Mapping opportunity in the new economy; Part 1: Opportunity in the emerging labour market. Cologny, Switzerland: WEF.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to create many new jobs and opportunities in future. In order to recognize which skillsets workers will require in order to leverage those opportunities, the World Economic Forum analyzed labour market metrics with the collaboration of Burning Glass Technologies, Coursera and LinkedIn.

The report finds seven emerging professional groups adopting new technologies: data and AI; engineering; cloud computing; marketing; sales and content; people and culture; and product development. AI specialists and data scientists have the highest growth rate among professions. However, human interaction remains a critical aspect of the new economy. The demand for such professionals as customer support specialists, social media assistants and green marketers is expected to rise.

Moreover, this report groups skills into five clusters: business skills; specialized industry skills; general and soft skills; tech baseline skills; and tech disruptive skills. Business skills include those needed to start or operate an enterprise, while specialized industry skills are specific to the field in question. General and soft skills — known as cross-functional skills — are typically the non-cognitive capabilities needed across all professions. Tech baseline skills span basic computer literacy while tech disruptive skills allow for using and designing the technologies set to impact business models.

OECD. (January 2020). The Future of Work: Expert Meeting on Collective Bargaining for OwnAccount Workers. Paris: OECD.

This report presents issues facing the labour market, notably current obstacles for own-account workers. The OECD defines own-account workers as self-employed workers without employees. Workers in such non-standard forms of employment can face poor working conditions. For instance, own-account workers have no access to collective bargaining. Even when they do, they may face practical issues in identifying the relevant bargaining counterpart. They may also face price competition from foreign contractors who do not have to abide by the collective agreement.

Such obstacles impede the possibility of improving working conditions. The OECD advises all countries to follow the best practices implemented by some OECD members. Tailoring labour regulations, for example, to define worker categories thoroughly so that it is clear who is allowed to access bargaining rights is one remedy. Tailoring competition regulations by lifting the ban against collective bargaining for sectors and occupations where own-account workers may face power asymmetry is another possible measure.

Autor et al. (2019, October). “The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms”. NBER Working Paper No. 23396.

This paper discusses the reasons for the fall in labour’s share of GDP in the US and other countries, starting in the early 1990s and continuing to the present. The authors introduce the “superstar firm” model, based on the notion that industries are increasingly dominated by a small number of highly productive firms with very large market shares (e.g., Google, Apple, and Amazon). Since, by definition, more productive firms require fewer workers for a given production level, a market shift towards these superstar firms causes the aggregate labour share of income to decrease, despite the fact that the average firm’s labour share doesn’t experience much change. The authors use microeconomic census data on US firms for six major economic sectors to examine the issue. They find that in all sectors the share of sales going to a small number of firms has increased since the 1980s. They also find that the industries where concentration has increased the most have had the sharpest fall in labour share — further confirming the qualitative results from the model.

Boyd, J. A. & Huettinger, M. (2019, August). “Smithian insights on automation and the future of work.” Futures, 111, 104—115.

This report discusses the work of economist Adam Smith in the context of current discussions of how technological changes may affect employment. Many recent publications have discussed this issue. Sometimes referred to as Future of Work Studies (FoWS), they tend to share the same methodological goal: to assess the risk of jobs being lost to automation. Many suffer from the same two shortcomings: a failure to acknowledge the drivers of technological progress and a disregard for the opportunities that automation may bring for improving jobs. As a result, they propagate the message that the impact of automation is largely inevitable, and they present a false dichotomy whereby societies are forced to choose between economic growth and employment.

However, discussions about the impact of technological change on employment and the labour market are not new. Economists have been debating such issues since they were first raised by Smith in the late 18th century. In fact, the particular shortcomings present in these FoWS can be addressed by comparing them with Smith’s works, discussed in this report. Specifically, Smith expressed a view that innovation through technological change requires insight and creativity— in other words, that technology does not advance for its own sake, but rather is the result of some underlying human motivation. As a result, it is also not unavoidable. Likewise, Smith conveyed a normative perspective about the benefits of technological progress through the “opulence” (high consumption) it delivers, which, according to Smith, should diffuse itself throughout the different ranks of society. As such, economic growth is valuable insofar as it helps all members of a society achieve equitable livelihoods of with minimal effort. Bringing Smith into the current debate around automation and new technologies compels researchers to probe the issues more deeply: to ask not only which jobs could be automated but which should be automated. It also highlights the fact that automation has the ability to free workers from the more mundane tasks of their occupations, freeing them to pursue more fulfilling work.

Arntz, M., Gregory, T., & Zierahn, U. (2019, June). Digitalization and the future of work: Macroeconomic consequences. ZEW Discussion Papers, 19-024.

Advances in machine learning, increased computer power, and the availability of big data have enabled the automation of non-routine and cognitively complex tasks, spurring much debate over the impact of these new technologies on the labour market. Quantifying the total impact of automation on jobs is the challenge undertaken in this report. Previous studies, such as Frey and Osborn (2013), have attempted to measure job losses stemming from automation using binary occupation-level approaches (i.e., either a job is automated, or it is not). Such studies often overestimate job losses, however, because in many jobs only certain tasks have been automated.

Three factors help explain why a high degree of task automation does not necessarily translate into actual or expected job loss. First, there is the gap between available technology and its implementation (called “technological diffusion”). For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a General Purpose Technology, which typically requires a long time to be widely implemented throughout the economy. Second, the impact of AI (or any technology) on employment depends on whether workers adjust to the new demands of their job (called “worker flexibility”). Workers who develop skills that complement those tasks replaced by technology may not experience job loss. For example, ATMs created the need for bank tellers with a more focused skill set, rather than replacing them altogether. Finally, technological change also induces job creation by making firms more productive, raising the demand for production and hence labour. As a result, the net effect of automation on employment is ambiguous, ultimately remaining an empirical question.

To address this empirical question, the authors run model simulations using German labour market data. The simulations yield five key results: (1) investment in automation and digitalization technologies will have a small positive effect on employment; (2) the German labour market will see large structural shifts as a result; (3) high-wage, high-skilled occupations will increase relative to middle- and low-skilled occupations; (4) worker mobility will increase; and (5) related productivity gains will induce greater demand for goods from firms adopting these new technologies, resulting in job creation. These results suggest that policy makers should promote new technologies, address skills shortages, and increase worker mobility between labour market segments to counteract employment and wage inequality.

Thornton, J., Russek, H., O’Neil, T. (2019, April 9). Turn and Face the Strange: Changes impacting the future of employment in Canada. Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E).

This report is the first output of the Employment in 2030 initiative from the Brookfield Institute. The initiative seeks to forecast skills and occupations in Canada, taking into consideration a number of complex factors, drivers and trends. To spark exploratory and imaginative thinking around the future of work, the report describes 31 trends affecting skills demand in Canada. These trends were identified by a “horizon scan” in which possible signals of change are gathered from academic journals and media sources. The 31 trends are grouped into seven categories: technological change, globalization, demographic change, environmental sustainability, urbanization, increasing inequality, and political uncertainty. An eighth “other” category is also included to capture certain Canada-specific trends including ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ and the ‘cannabis economy’. For each of the 31 trends identified, the report offers an evaluation of the nature of the observable signal (weak, emerging or mature), potential implications for Canadian labour markets, an overview of present studies, sample evidence of change, and an action assessment as to whether the impacts will be immediate or long-term. The report concludes with a snapshot of the potential impact for Canada in 2030 and a call to action.

Brookings Institution. (2019, January 24). Automation and artificial intelligence: How machines are affecting people and places.

This report documents the effects of technological change on the future of work, focusing on both backward-looking and forward-looking analyses. Backward-looking analysis evaluates the degree to which occupations were automated from 1970 to 2016. Similarly, forward-looking analysis focuses on the risk of automation for occupations by the year 2030. The authors use several US datasets, such as the Census and American Community Survey (ACS), to examine changes in the labour force by occupation and geography. To estimate future automation rates, the authors use McKinsey’s estimates of the likelihood of an occupation being replaced by an automated process by 2030. These estimates rank each occupation on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 representing certainty that the occupation will be lost to automation.

In the backward-looking analysis, the report finds that employment has grown overall, but with a net loss of middle-income occupations to automation, resulting in a “hollowed out” labour market. In other words, the increase in employment has been greatest at the high and low ends of wage distribution. Not surprisingly, middle-wage jobs in decline are typically those most closely associated with routine tasks. In terms of the forward-looking analysis, the report finds that while automation will affect tasks in most occupations, it will have a muted effect on total employment. This is due, in part, to new machines and software that will complement tasks in existing occupations, rather than substituting the entire set of tasks that constitute the job. Importantly, the authors mention several limitations associated with their analysis. For example, they make an important distinction between technological possibilities and the adoption of new technology, which is very difficult to model. Second, they cannot predict what new jobs or tasks might be created by new technologies. Finally, the authors note potential policy initiatives to help smooth labour market transitions, including promoting a constant learning mindset towards re-skilling, and improving safety nets for workers struggling with changes in their jobs.

World Economic Forum. (2019, January 22). Strategies for the New Economy: Skills as the Currency of the Labour Market. White paper.

The future of work is expected to be characterized by two significant problems: job loss and growing skills shortages. Experts have long called for improved clarity regarding the definition and measurement of skills, and their relation to the job market. There is an inherent challenge to accurately measuring and evaluating skills as they are not directly observable. The traditional solution has been to use proxies for skills, such as educational qualifications, program quality, and even the social networks of potential job applicants.

Beyond being poor measures of actual skills held by individuals, the use of proxies contributes to labour market inefficiencies and social inequalities. Education-based skills proxies, for example, are premised on a linear “learn, do, retire” life model that does not reflect changing skills requirements and reinforces the social stratification associated with high performance in secondary and tertiary education. To address these inefficiencies, the authors suggest shifting to a skills-based system, in which skills are the core currency of the labour market. They outline ten strategies to accomplish this:

  1. Build, adapt, and certify foundational skills;
  2. Build, adapt and certify advanced skills;
  3. Build, adapt and certify skills among the adult workforce;
  4. Realize the potential of educational technology and personalized learning;
  5. Map the skills content of jobs;
  6. Design coherent and portable certifications;
  7. Rethink organization and talent management processes;
  8. Drive momentum around the concept of skills;
  9. Align skills taxonomies; and,
  10. Shape culture, mindsets and mechanisms for lifelong learning.

The report concludes with a series of case studies describing emerging initiatives exemplifying these ten strategies

Deloitte (2019). The path to prosperity: Why the future of work is human.

This report discusses how, rather than replacing our jobs, technology will change the way we work. The authors highlight that these changes mean employment will continue to grow in the occupations that are most difficult to automate. The authors focus on the effects technology is likely to have on job replacement, the rate of transition between jobs, and the gig economy for the Australian job market.

The findings highlight that even though technological change is accelerating, unemployment rates are currently low in Australia and other developed countries, such as the US and EU member states. This suggests that so far, technological change is not replacing workers in large numbers, on net. Furthermore, when new technologies start taking effect, they will create more jobs than they replace. With respect to changing jobs and the gig economy, the authors find that 45% of workers in Australia have been with their current employers for more than five years, and that casual jobs currently represent a smaller share of all jobs than they did in the preceding two decades.

Finally, the report focuses on the types of jobs that are likely to be created in the future, predicting that by 2030, 36% of new jobs will be knowledge-based. The report also predicts that most of these jobs will be in the business services, health, education, or engineering sectors. The authors conclude by highlighting the importance of on-the-job learning as a remedy for changes in skill requirements, which are increasingly job-specific.

Kostyshyna and Luu (2019). “The Size and Characteristics of Informal (“Gig”) Work in Canada”. Bank of Canada, Staff Analytical Note, 2019-6.

New technologies have led to a significant increase in the share of Canadians involved in non-standard or informal work arrangements, particularly among those who are less than 25 years of age. Official labour market statistics in Canada do not fully reflect this new trend, suggesting that employment and wage growth figures may be biased downwards. The authors estimate that taking these new forms of work into account would increase the labour force participation rate by approximately 3 percentage points overall, and by 8 percentage points for youth. Further, using the Canadian Survey of Consumer Expectations, the authors find that participation rates in informal jobs are strongly correlated with weak labour market conditions. For instance, informal job participation is higher in provinces where the unemployment level is high and wage growth is weak. Supporting this correlation, the authors note that 15% of people with informal jobs stated they could not find a standard work position and 37% said they wanted to earn extra money to compensate for negative labour market conditions such as job loss, reduced hours, reduced pay, and/or stagnant wages. Informal work participation rates are also higher among those who fear losing their main job in the coming year and those who work parttime because they cannot find a full-time position. More than half of these informal workers would prefer to have a regular, formal job.

World Bank. 2019. “The Changing Nature of Work”. Chapter 1. World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work.

This first chapter of the 2019 World Development Report provides a general overview of how technological progress has changed the landscape for workers over the past decades. The chapter focuses on three main areas of transformation: (i) the effects of automation; (ii) changes in skills demanded; and, (iii) the rise of the gig economy. The authors note the difficulty in estimating the percentage of jobs at risk for automation. For example, in the US alone, the estimated number of jobs at risk of being lost to automation range from 7% to 47%. Further, such estimates typically do not accurately include the rate of technology absorption into the economy and its use by firms. The report argues that a better pathway for future research is to focus on the demand for skills. Today, the most in-demand skills are those that are non-routine, cognitive and socio-behavioural. Finally, the report briefly discusses the rise of gig-workers, which account for approximately 3% of the global labour force. Even though gig workers do not constitute a large proportion of the workforce, gig jobs have changed the way work is traditionally performed, allowing for more flexibility and greater labour market access.

Mateos-García, J. (2018, December 19). The Complex Economics of Artificial Intelligence. National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA). Available at SSRN 3294552

AI systems are often seen as a neutral and homogenous “General-Purpose Technology” (GPT). This article argues, in contrast, that AI systems are not neutral and that certain trajectories of deploying AI systems can have significant societal benefits. The main difference between AI and other GPTs (e.g., the steam engine, electricity, computers) is the fallibility of AI. AI applications mimic specific human intelligences, making them susceptible to failure in unexpected situations. The article discusses four complexities of AI systems that can derail their adoption — organizational, market, social, and temporal — as well as the ideal scenarios for each complexity.

Type of complexity Description
Organizational Uncertainties in how AI might create tensions between different organizations
Market Widespread informational asymmetries of AI systems can lead to unfavourable applications
Social Individual deployment of AI systems might have adverse effects, such as worker displacement
Temporal Once locked-in to a trajectory, it is difficult to change course even if the trajectory is recognized as inferior

The author argues that societies can maximize the benefits of AI deployment by identifying and strengthening favourable AI trajectories, undertaking rigorous research to reduce uncertainties in deploying AI, introducing regulatory and compliance measures to help identify permitted applications of AI, and active monitoring to preserve diversity and prevent premature lock-in into inferior AI trajectories.

Lane, J. & Murray, T.S. (2018, December 10). Literacy lost: Canada’s basic skills shortfall. Canada West Foundation, Human Capital Centre.

From 2003 to 2011, literacy rates in Canada fell by seven percentage points, according to the International Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey and the Program for the Assessment of International Adult Competencies Survey, respectively. To explain the data, the authors cite three underlying causes: a failure in the educational system, a high proportion of low-skilled workers in the labour force with a lack of opportunity for up-skilling, and skill loss due to disuse. They argue that the decline in literacy impacts Canadians and the economy at three levels. First, illiteracy makes one more vulnerable to job loss and can make finding new work even more challenging. Second, and related, Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Essential Skills Profiles show that most occupations require workers to possess minimum literacy scores of 3 out of 5 to be fully productive at their job. Yet, in comparing the assessments of individual Canadians in 2011, Lane and Murray show that the supply of workers with this minimum literacy level has not kept pace with demand. Finally, declining literacy rates and levels can drag down both GDP and worker productivity.

To address declining literacy rates, the authors suggest that Canada improve the literacy skills of students in K-12 and post-secondary education, invest in understanding the skill needs of employers, embed literacy training in all aspects of workforce training, encourage literacy use at work in order to halt loss due to disuse, and mandate the new Future Skills Centre to include cognitive skills in its research.

Anani, Namir. (2018, November 15). “Paving the Way for the Future of Work.” Canadian Public Policy. November. 44(S1): 1–10.

This article argues that the world of work is undergoing a structural transformation as evidenced by the rise in non-traditional working environments, the decline in long-term careers, and the increasing number of workers with mobile and on-demand employment structures. It follows that Canadian workers, educators and policy makers should be aware of forthcoming technological changes that may disrupt labour markets. To that end, the author examines key technologies that are expected to boost innovation, fuel economic growth and alter the landscape of work in Canada – namely, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 5G wireless and blockchain. The applications of these technologies are far reaching and cut across several key industries in Canada, including manufacturing, health care, finance, retail and transportation. To ensure the Canadian workforce is prepared for the future, the article emphasizes the need for a renewed focus on work-integrated learning, as well as greater collaboration between industry and academia. This requires a pan-Canadian discussion on how to revamp the educational system in order to strengthen the supply of digitally skilled workers.

Welse, M.R., Hanson, A.R., Sentz, R., & Saleh, Y. (2018, November 13). Robot ready: Human+ skills for the future of work. Strada Institute for the Future of Work & Emsi.

The labour market outcomes of liberal arts graduates in the US are quite strong, yet enrollment in these types of programs has been on the decline since the 1970s. Graduates of liberal arts programs are often left to navigate the job market alone, with little guidance on how to map their education to the skills needed in the workplace. Since liberal arts programs are the main pathway by which soft skills are developed, Welse et al. argue that these programs need to do a better job of preparing students to enter the workforce. Hindering this effort, however, are differences in terminology used by labour market experts and educators. Employers, for example, often list in-demand skills such as communication and critical thinking, which are too broad to measure. Schools, on the other hand, often talk about skills in relation to academic subjects, which does not provide employers with a clear way of assessing what the graduates can do with their knowledge. To clarify this point, Welse et al. use a cluster analysis approach to group skills by field, occupation, and job. Combining data from job-postings, applicant resumes and social media profiles, they show how one skill (e.g., communication) maps to several different capabilities and job tasks depending on the field. They also advocate for the inclusion of technical skills into the liberal arts education, a combination they refer to as “human+” skills (e.g., programming + ethics, or AI + emotional intelligence).

World Economic Forum. (2018, September 17). The Future of Jobs Report.

This report considers the risks of automation to employment and its potential to improve the quality of existing jobs and create new high-quality jobs. The WEF surveyed 313 global companies from a variety of industry sectors representing a total of 15 million employees. The survey probes corporate leaders’ views on the future of work, new in-demand skills and strategies for upskilling the workforce over the 2018-2022 period. Nearly 50% of companies expect that technological advancement will lead to a reduction in their full-time workforce by 2022. This is in part driven by the fact that firms expect machines to perform 58% of all tasks by 2022, up from 29% in 2018. Further, depending on their industry, between 23 and 37% of firms plan major investments in robots over the next 5 years. Finally, half of all companies report that they expect technological change to modify their geography of production, distribution and value chains.

Despite the seemingly dire warnings of automation, the report finds a net positive outlook for job creation. It estimates a decline of 0.98 million jobs and a gain of 1.74 million jobs across all industries. Further, human skills that remain in-demand are expected to increase in value. Soft skills such as creativity, persuasion, negotiation, emotional intelligence, and leadership are highlighted as the most likely to increase in value. However, much of the growth in jobs is likely to be non-standard: Between 33% and 50% of businesses are likely to hire external contractors, temporary staff and freelancers to fill their new demand for skills.

Lent, R.W. (2018, September 5). Future of work in the digital world: Preparing for instability and opportunity. The Career Development Quarterly, 66, 205-219.

This article asserts that the literature concerning the future of work is inconsistent, which makes taking informed career-related decisions difficult. While some research predicts large-scale job loss and labour disruptions, other research emphasizes the emergence of new, meaningful work opportunities. Given such conflicting reports, only one thing is certain: the world of work is changing; how and to what extent it is changing, remains unclear. Lent seeks to help career counselors and vocational psychologists understand their role amid this uncertainty. He advocates for career development professionals to shift from a career-matching paradigm, which has been the dominant approach in career counseling, to a career-life preparedness approach that encourages clients to accept change as a normal part of individual career paths and teaches planning and coping strategies.

Mitchell, C., Young, M., & Popiela, A. (2018, August 29). The Future of Work: Frontline Challenges in an Era of Digital Transformation. The Conference Board.

This report presents the findings from The Future of Work: The Strategic HR Joint Council Meeting where 250 C-suite and senior level executives from 14 councils on human resources (HR) management discussed the future of HR. The report also lists the skills and aptitudes that will become essential to HR professionals in the near future, such as managing ever-changing operational needs and adopting an experimental approach to program development.

Discussants believe that the field will become increasingly focused on those non-routine tasks necessary to achieve long-term organizational goals. In order to generate greater efficiencies, routine HR tasks will be increasingly automated. For instance, HR will play a pivotal role in improving incentive structures to reward collaboration instead of competition between employees. HR professionals will also be increasingly involved in training staff on team building and new digital skills. It is also expected that the number of freelancers and external consultants used by companies will increase, therefore requiring HR professionals to be at the forefront of workplace restructuring.

Acemoglu, D., & Restrepo, P. (2018, June 6). The Race between Man and Machine: Implications of Technology for Growth, Factor Shares, and Employment. American Economic Review, 108: 1488–1542

This paper discusses the extent to which technology can both replace workers and generate new opportunities for labour. The authors introduce a new conceptual framework in which technology automates some tasks while also creating new, complex tasks in which labour has a comparative advantage. To validate their task-creation framework, the authors note that about 60% of the approximately 50 million jobs added to the US economy during the past 35 years are associated with new job titles. The authors assume that new job titles reflect changes in the underlying tasks that workers perform and therefore use the emergence of new job titles as a proxy for new tasks.

The authors embed their framework into a dynamic model that endogenizes both automation and the creation of new tasks. At the long-run equilibrium, the authors focus on two possible scenarios: 1) the economy displays stable growth of both automation and complex tasks; or 2) automation outpaces the creation of complex tasks at a level that leads to a full-automation environment.

Policy Horizons Canada. (2018, June). The Next Generation of Emerging Global Challenges.

Surveillance is becoming ubiquitous, which could lead to major societal and economic changes, as practical anonymity may no longer exist in future. To prepare for this change, research and public dialogue is required to address privacy issues and to create opportunities for an open and democratic information society. The report describes the key factors expected to lead to greater surveillance, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and smart cities. Advancement in such technologies will intensify surveillance and thereby pose greater risks to the privacy of individuals and businesses. It is possible to have a surveillance society in which individuals have practical anonymity, but this requires negotiation on the context and definition of privacy in the modern age. New agreements, concepts, and tools may be required to protect privacy boundaries. As institutional surveillance increases, it is likely that citizens will also increase counter-surveillance to monitor the activities and devices that breach privacy

Policy Horizons Canada. (2018, June). Working in the Digital Economy.

The advancement of information technology has enabled the production network of the service industry to become global in scope. Platforms such as Freelancer and Amazon allow anyone, anywhere in the world to find a virtual worker. These platforms divide traditional jobs into discrete tasks, effectively shifting the labour market away from full-time work towards part-time contract work. While automation and robotics will reduce labour shortages in manual occupations, many people could lose their jobs as a result. Indeed, a 2016 survey by Randstad suggests that 85% of those companies surveyed will move to hiring more contract, temporary, and freelance workers.

A number of labour market policies will require updating in response to these technological changes. Because social insurance programs only protect people with full-time jobs, such policy instruments should be revised in order to deal effectively with workers in non-traditional roles. Similarly, minimum wage laws, labour standards, and tax rules are also not well suited to the changing labour market. Without smart and effective policy changes, digitization will lead to less stable employment and growing income insecurity for many.

Lamb, C., Munro, D. and Vu, V. (2018, May). Better, Faster, Stronger: Maximizing the benefits of automation for Ontario’s firms and people. Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E)

This report investigates the risks and benefits of automation for employers and companies in Ontario’s manufacturing, and finance and insurance sectors. The report points out that Ontario’s economy is facing a “dual challenge”: (1) to increase productivity through automation and (2) to create more jobs. Ontario firms, however, have been hesitant to incorporate automation over concern for disruption to jobs and workers. This is due, at least in part, to reports that have focused on the association between automation and job loss, but automation also creates new employment opportunities and job tasks. Therefore, taking steps to encourage firms to implement new technological advances, while equipping workers with the skills needed to adapt to the changing world of work is essential to realizing the dual challenge. These steps include investing in technology research and development, creating a culture of lifelong education, promoting flexible training programs, and facilitating collaboration between businesses and post-secondary schools.

Kühn, S., Milasi, S., & Yoon, S. (2018, March 6). “Population Ageing and Future Labour Market Challenges”, World Employment and Social Outlook, Chapter 4. International Labour Organization. January.

This chapter identifies three consequences of a rapidly ageing population on the global labour market: (a) declining labour force growth rates, (b) changing patterns of savings and consumption, and (c) growing pressure on public social expenditures. Since older workers encounter unique problems and barriers to employment, addressing these issues is integral to the creation of favourable market outcomes. Older workers, for example, are less likely to receive on-the-job training, which limits job flexibility and employment options. They are also more prone to work-related physical injury and mental stress, contributing to premature exit from the labour force. These issues might be resolved through targeted efforts to offer continuing education, to improve working conditions, and to encourage a better work-life balance.

Balliester, T., and Elsheikhi, A. (2018, March). Future of Work: A Literature Review. International Labour Organisation. Working Paper no. 29.

This report conducts a systematic review of 254 studies on the future of work. 33% of the studies were from intergovernmental organizations or government agencies, 19% from think tanks, 32% academics, 8% from both private institutions and media. Of the 254 studies, 48% focused on developed countries, 13.6% on only developing countries and 38.4% focused on both developed and developing countries. In addition to the impact of technology (such as artificial intelligence and robotics) on the labour market, the review highlights broader economic factors that influence labour outcomes for the future of work and include socio-economic, geopolitical and demographic drivers.

The report finds both developed and developing countries are at risk of job losses due to automation. Many studies suggest that there is expected to be job gains in engineering, computer and mathematics driven largely by the IT, healthcare and the renewable energy sectors. However, other research finds that the impact of technological advancement in AI, genetics and robotics will have only a marginal beneficial effects on the labour market.

Emerging business models indicate that there is likely to be an increase in temporary and flexible employment, reduction in wages, greater prevalence of job insecurity and a reduction in social safety net protections. Although there is a rise in non-standard employment, this also creates an opportunity for marginalized workers to enter the labour force.

The future of work literature only loosely addresses wage growth, but highlights that increasing inequality can be attributed to superstar firms and globalization. Wage distribution for developed countries, job polarization, decreases in unionisation, income inequality, online platforms and de-globalization could have negative effects on wage distribution.

Mertins-Kirkwood, H. (2018, January 25). Making decarbonization work for workers: Policies for a just transition to a zero-carbon economy in Canada. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. January 25

The report argues that there are two sets of policies involved in transiting to a zero-carbon economy: (1) reactive ones which can minimize the negative effects of decarbonization on workers; and, (2) proactive ones which can maximize the positive effects. The zero-carbon economy needs a mix of both policies to ensure an equitable and productive employment outcome for all workers. The study also highlights that workers in the fossil-fuel production and energy-intensive heavy industry sectors are most at risk of these negative effects. However, one of the biggest beneficiaries of a clean economy is the construction sector.

Regarding provincial findings, the report shows that Alberta has the highest number of jobs in the fossil fuel industry at 138,000 jobs and Saskatchewan has the second largest share accounting for nearly a fifth of the province’s GDP. Nationally, the fossil fuel industry accounts for just 8% of GDP and 1% of employment.

Accenture. (2018). Inclusive Future of Work: A Call to Action

This report provides an overview of the type of workers that are most vulnerable to technological disruption and discusses different workforce interventions to help these individuals navigate their career transitions. The report notes of the 1,200 employers surveyed 60% think that less than 25% of their workforce is ready to leverage these new technologies. A framework of four workplace interventions to support workers in their career transition is developed from a combination of worker and staff interviews, cross-country workforce surveys and workshops. The four interventions are defined as envision, expand, experience and empower. Each of these focuses on working with employees to discover translatable skills, relevant training and handson experience to develop work history and credentials for their next career endeavour. These intervention efforts are even more important for younger and entry-level workers as they face additional challenges to career transitioning such as a limited financial safety net, lower job security, lower proficiency in high-demand skills and unequal access to training.

Brown, J., Gosling, T., Sethi, B., Sheppard, B., Stubbings, C., Sviokla, J., … Zarubina, D. (2018): Workforce of the future: The competing forces shaping 2030. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). London, United Kingdom.

This publication presents four different scenarios in an attempt to better understand how the labour market and corporate landscape could change by 2030. These scenarios are informed by the results of a survey of 10,000 people from China, India, Germany, the UK, and the US. The scenarios are imagined as responses to the political conflict between individualism and collectivism3 and the economic struggle between business fragmentation and corporate consolidation4 (see figure).

The four scenarios are described as follows:

  • Innovation rules (individualism and fragmentation): In this scenario, only the firms that can implement or commercialize innovations the fastest can compete in the globalized market. Products and services evolve at breakneck speed, and regulators frequently fail to keep up with innovation. Large firms that cannot adapt break up into smaller units. In this scenario, digital platforms match employers with potential job candidates, and contract and freelance work is the norm.
  • Corporate is king (individualism and consolidation): Consolidation is the name of the game in this setting. The pressure on workers to perform is omnipresent. Many workers are willing to use augmenting technologies, medications, and implants to increase their productivity and reap the benefits of a corporate job. Inequality increases as those without corporate jobs fall further and further behind.
  • Companies care (collectivism and consolidation): In this scenario, only the companies that fulfill their social responsibilities can compete. Responsible business practices, such as minimizing environmental damage and providing humane work conditions, become integral to companies’ branding strategies. Workers are increasingly loyal to socially responsible firms, with many working for the same company their entire lives.
  • Humans come first (collectivism and fragmentation): Here, workers are fully mobile across firms and markets, and use new technologies to connect with employers. Startups have access to global markets, capital, and talent thanks to new information technologies. Unions are replaced by guilds as workers organize based on members’ education, experience, and fields of interest instead of the industry or the organization they work for.

All of these scenarios anticipate that individuals will shoulder the brunt of the weight of adapting to changing skill demands—and that as a result, the search for the best employees will intensify. Contractual work is poised to become more common, but to varying degrees across the scenarios.

3Individualism is defined here as a political ideology “focus[ed] on individual wants,” whereas collectivism is defined as a political ideology where “[t]he common good prevails over personal preference[s].”
4Business fragmentation is defined as the economic process through which “large businesses lose their dominance as customers seek relevance and organizations find scale a burden,” whereas corporate consolidation or integration is defined as the economic process through which firms “get bigger and more influential” and conglomerates dominate markets.

Ernst & Young. (2018). Will you wait for the future to happen, or take a hand in shaping it? The future of work.

This Australian report focuses on expected labour market shifts associated with technological advances and advocates a five-component approach: organizational design, leaders, technology, jobs, and people.

A technology-driven organizational design can create significant opportunities. Redesigning organizations in this way involves eliminating traditional boundaries of hierarchy and role descriptions to foster collaboration among workers, which allows leaders to receive input from all employees and be responsive even during periods of rapid change. For their part, leaders will need to be effective at managing virtual, diverse, and geographically distributed teams. Further, leaders should develop a data-informed view of the organization’s outlook to support effective planning and reduce anxiety arising from uncertainty.

Technology and jobs will interact and change together in the coming years. It will therefore be important to conduct labour market impact assessments on how new technologies will change worker roles over multi-year horizons. Such assessments can support short- and long-term planning, particularly in identifying skills requirements and training investments. Finally, organizations are advised to build employee awareness of future outlooks so that expectations stay ahead of any changes.

International Labour Organization. (2018). World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs.

The long-term goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement is for the global mean temperature to be kept less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. This ILO report estimates the net effects of this long term goal on the number of jobs. Globally, adoption of sustainable practices toward a green economy will lead to 6 million job losses and the creation of 24 million jobs – a large net positive effect. This report includes five separate papers on the green economy, each using different datasets. The report discusses how the damage associated with climate change will destabilize working conditions. So that adoption of some health measures and social protection policies will help workers adapt to the changing environment.

OLS regressions and input–output models are used in this report. The report looks at the relationship between GDP and GHG emissions growth over 1995–2014 or latest year available by using data for various regions. They also estimate the relationship between total GHG emissions, materials and resource extraction and land use over 2000–14 or latest year available. Then they investigate decoupling of production and consumption-based emissions in the countries and changes in labour market outcomes for coupled and decoupled countries over 1995–2014 and estimate working hours lost to heat stress under a specific scenario over 1995– 2030.

The report also calculates the percentage difference in employment between the sustainable energy scenarios in different sectors and regions and present public employment programme components by region. They simulate the effects of social protection policies for a green economy for developed and developing countries. The GDP growth rate for non-green versus green scenarios are also simulated for selected countries.

RBC. (2018). Humans Wanted: How Canadian youth can thrive in the age of disruption.

300 occupations are grouped according to their essential skills and then evaluated to assess potential for worker mobility. Skill acquirement, skill upgrade, job switching, and ease of career change are analyzed with respect to changing demand for skilled labour in the Canadian economy. Specific skills investigated include literacy, critical thinking, system analysis, and technology design. It is suggested that certain skills demonstrate high transferability between jobs, implying that one need only focus on a small subset of skills to facilitate job mobility. For example, results indicate that a worker in the “facilitator” group has only to upgrade 4 out of 35 foundational skills to move from a career as a dental assistant to one as a graphic designer.

The report also generates labour market forecasts to identify occupational skill-groups for which demand is expected to increase, as well as those with high susceptibility to automation. Demand for workers with management skills who display strong critical thinking (referred to as “solvers”) and for workers with strong analytic abilities (“providers”) is expected to increase the most. The weakest demand growth, as well as highest susceptibility to automation, is expected for workers who serve or support others (“facilitators”).

Wyonch, R (2018, January). Risk and Readiness: The Impact of Automation on Provincial Labour Markets. CD Howe Institute. Commentary no. 499.

This report analyses employment growth across Canada for the years 1987 through 2030. Readiness to respond to technological changes and sensitivity to polarization are also assessed at the provincial level. Results indicate that technological advancements will impact the workforce of Canada’s provinces asymmetrically. Each province is expected to experience its own unique set of challenges due to differences in industry and labour market structure. Employment trends from past 30 years suggest the process of automation is gradual, granting the labour markets ample time to adjust. Furthermore, it is unlikely that even jobs which are most susceptible to automation will be completely replaced in the next few years.

Highly skilled workers in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta face the least risk of job-loss due to automation. These labour markets are also the least likely to experience disruptions and job polarization. Low-skilled workers in Newfoundland and Labrador face the highest risk of job loss due to automation, with the labour markets of Newfoundland and Saskatchewan the most susceptible to disruptions.

Advisory Council on Economic Growth. (2017, December 1). Learning Nation: Equipping Canada’s Workforce with Skills for the Future. Government of Canada.

The report assesses 18 sectors and calculates the percentage of work activities that could be automated by 2030 and the percentage that can be automated at present in each sector. Using data from ESDC, they list the 10 fastest growing1 and 10 fastest declining occupations2 for the period 2015-2024. Further, by 2030 automation and technology-related changes in existing occupations will account for more than 10% of Canadian job losses. Canada’s labour training schemes are not sufficiently robust to withstand the expected disruptions of technological change.

It is further argued that annual expenditure on training and post-secondary education for working Canadians will need to increase by approximately $15 billion to ensure Canadians benefit from new opportunities created by technological advancements. The report calls for a new federally-governed Canada Lifelong Learning Fund (CLLF) to help reduce the financial barriers to continuing training for adults and transforming the government’s employment centres into hubs of hands-on career guidance not only for the unemployed but also for working adults and employers.

ESDC (2017, December). Canadian Occupational Projection System 2017 Projections: Industrial Summaries 2017-2026.

This report presents a comprehensive analysis of the historical and future trends for all 42 industries defined in the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS). It includes analysis of challenges and opportunities, such as the impacts of new technologies, and a 10-year outlook for real GDP, employment and productivity.

The report covers occupational outcomes over the past ten years (2007-2016) and discusses the COPS projections for the next 10 years (2017-2026). Canada’s employment growth rate declined sharply over 2007-2016, largely induced by rapid adoption of technology and lower demand for commodities following the economic downturn between 2006 and 2009. Although the employment growth rates of most industries are still declining, the rate of decline is slowing compared to the 2007-16 rates. It can also be observed that industries requiring low-wage workers such as food and accommodation services will face difficulties in attracting workers as they will have to compete with other higher-wage industries.

Further, there is a declining growth rate of labour supply which is causing a tightening in the labour market (demand greater than supply) in low-wage sectors. This will likely create challenges for these industries when competing with other employers to attract workers. As a result, these sectors will face additional pressure to increase their productivity level by implementing, for example, new labour-saving technologies.

McKinsey Global Institute. (2017, December). Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation.

This report highlights the impact of automation on the labour market with respect to the disruption to and creation of jobs by 2030. It is framed around three questions: Will there be enough work in the future to maintain full employment? Which occupations will grow? And, how will skills and wages be affected?

Overall, it is found that automation will boost economic growth and productivity but will significantly alter the distribution of jobs and the demand for skills. Due to the increase in productivity, it is expected that full employment levels may be maintained, provided that people are able to successfully and quickly change careers (within one year). As the share of job tasks become automated, the distribution of occupations and related skills will change. In advanced economies, the demand for physical labour will decrease, while employment for professionals, care providers, and managers/executives is predicted to increase. All workers are advised to focus on building skills that are hard to automate, such as social, emotional, and high-cognitive skills.

The effects of automation on wages will depend on the success of disrupted workers in changing careers. If re-employment is slow, greater than one year for example, frictional unemployment will place downward pressure on wages. For advanced economies, such as the United States, job polarization could be exacerbated, whereas for emerging economies, middle class wages may rise and reduce polarization.

Nesta. (2017, September 27). The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030.

The authors employ a novel mixed-model prediction approach that leverages expert information with machine learning models to focus on the unexplored effects of automation on job creation. They also gather data on major labour market trends to contextualize the interaction of automation with other relevant future of work trends such as globalization, population aging, urbanization and the rise of the green economy. Using a combination of detailed occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*Net) and workshop respondent data for both the US and the UK, the paper maps out how jobs are likely to change, and the resulting implications for skills demand.

The authors discuss the likely dynamics of technological change in different labour markets. They find that education, health care and public sector occupations are likely to grow, while low skilled jobs in fields like construction and agriculture are less likely to suffer poor labour market outcomes. However, because they show heterogenous occupational growth patterns, the authors find that the negative outcomes for lower skilled workers are likely to be less severe than has been previously assumed. The authors conclude that technological change points to opportunities for boosting growth with the caveat that current education and training systems must respond appropriately to these new challenges.

United Nations. (2017, July 31). Frontier Issues: The Impact of the Technological revolution on Labour Markets and Income Distribution. Department of Economic & Social Affairs. 31 July.

The report explores how recent technological evolutions will change the nature of work, and influence income distribution. Recent evidence suggests that despite rapid technological advances in the last few decades, labour productivity growth in developed countries has been experiencing a downward trend. In addition, sectoral changes in most economies and employment shifts from manufacturing to service sector have contributed to an increasing prevalence of precarious employment conditions, which is associated with reduced worker benefits, welfare protection, and union membership.

Technological progress has also had wide-ranging distributional effects by producing both winners and losers. New technologies often affect how jobs are performed by substituting workers as opposed to eliminating occupations entirely. Recent empirical studies suggest that technological advances have primarily affected jobs that involve routine tasks (i.e. tasks that are based on well-understood procedures) and have contributed to their long-term decline. However, this job-destruction effect has been counterbalanced by a job creation effect. Technological advancements tend to increase demand for more skilled workers by creating new products and by increasing consumer demand for existing products as productivity gains reduce sale prices. Some recent empirical evidence suggests that over the last 150 years technological advancement has created more jobs that it has destroyed.

The combination of routine-biased technical change and offshoring has also led to job polarization across developed countries by shifting from middle-wage jobs to both high-wage and low-wage jobs. In most cases, this job polarization has been accompanied by rising wage inequality with majority of developed countries experiencing higher levels of wage inequality (measured by the 90:10 ratio) than 40 years ago.

The future of technological progress is expected to introduce substantial changes to the nature of work, causing both job creation and destruction. However, the impact of new technologies is not pre-determined and can be shaped by policies at the national and international level.

Institute for the Future. (2017, July 12). The Next Era of Human–Machine Partnerships.

For this report, 20 experts were surveyed to better understand how the relationship between humans and machines will change by 2030. The overwhelming response was that the expectations for work and how businesses operate will be reset. Participants expect that 85% of the jobs that today’s learners will be doing in 2030 do not exist yet. Online platforms are expected to transform the nature of the workplace and how organizations hire new talent. The rapid pace at which skills become outdated and the introduction of new technologies (e.g., augmented reality) will decrease the value of prior knowledge and acquired skills, while increasing the value of aptitudes such as the capacity to learn on the job and digital literacy. The report makes recommendations to workers on how to succeed through the technological transformation that will occur in the next decade, including developing personal brands and adopting a more entrepreneurial mindset. They recommend that organizations should focus on cyber-security and incentivize workers to think creatively and find innovative solutions to problems.

Arntz, M., Gregory, T. & Zierahn, U. (2017, July). “Revisiting the risk of automation.” Economic Letters. 159. July: 157-160.

Arntz et al. (2017) argue that current methods to calculate the share of automatable jobs yield results that overestimate the true figure because they do not account for the heterogeneity of tasks within occupations nor the adaptability of jobs in the digital transformation. They suggest an alternative task-based approach using data from the Survey of Adult Skills. Correcting for heterogeneity across workplaces in the US labour market, the authors find that the risk of automatability drops from 38% to 9%. Furthermore, they determine that occupations that are predominantly based on the exchange of information or those that are hands-on, will be impacted most.

Fields, A., Uppal, S., & LaRochelle-Cote, S. (2017, June 14). The impact of aging on labour market participation rates. Statistics Canada. 14 June.

The study uses the Labour Force Survey to assess the extent to which an aging population has contributed to gradual decline in labour force participation rates in recent years in Canada. The authors use the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition technique to analyze the joint impact of several compositional effects on the participation rate.

The main hypothesis is that an older workforce may lead to “extended periods of slow growth” as an older population requires more government support and leads to a shrinking tax base, fewer work hours, health problems and labour shortages. The findings show that fewer people are entering the labour force than exiting. The ratio of youths aged 15 to 24 to the 55-64 age group is 0.9 in 2016 which is below replacement. As illustrated by projections, this trend will continue over the next two decades.

The study specifically finds that the labour force participation rate among the age group 55 and over has increased from 1996 to 2016 (36% of the labour force belongs to the age group 55 and over in 2016). The factors leading to this increase are also explored in the study. The employment share of the age group 55 and over is expected to increase to 40% by 2026. Conversely, proportion of core-age workers (ages 25-54) is expected to decline to 46% by 2026.

Lamb, C., and Lo, M. (2017, June 8). Automation Across the Nation: Understanding the potential impacts of technological trends across Canada. Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E)

Lamb and Lo examine the number of individuals employed in each industry in every Canadian Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) and Census Agglomeration (CA) to identify the proportion of work activities most susceptible to automation. They find that job markets in smaller cities and towns that specialize in manufacturing or resource extraction, such as southern Ontario and Quebec, are more likely to be disrupted as a result of automation than smaller cities and towns that specialise in health care assistance, political and educational services, or than larger cities with “diversified economies and a highly skilled labour market.”

OECD. (2017, June). Employment Implications of Green Growth: Linking jobs, growth, and green policies. Report for the G7 Environment Ministers. June.

This report uses the OECD data to analyze the impact of green policies (policies that improve environmental quality) by identifying and quantifying concerns surrounding employment losses arising from an economy’s transition to green growth for OECD countries. It argues that well implemented green policies that generate employment in several “green” sectors, will lead to job destruction in environmentally polluting “brown” sectors, whose activities would be replaced by green sectors. The study shows that the transition to green policies will lead workers to shift between sectors. It finds that low-skilled workers will face larger employment shifts to new sectors relative to the shifts made by mid- and high-skilled workers. Thus, it is important to have well-functioning markets to enable smooth transitions across sectors.

Furthermore, the report highlights that government revenues could be efficiently used to mitigate these negative effects through methods such as lowering taxes on wages, and funding education and training programs to generate “positive overall employment outcomes.” Well functioning labour markets are also integral in ensuring the smooth transition and integration of displaced workers.

Culbertson, D. (2017, April 27). Canadian Millennials Less Interested in Jobs at Threat from Automation Blog.

This article investigates the difference of occupational preferences among Baby Boomers (ages 53-71), Generation X (ages 37-52), and Millennials (ages 20-36 in 2017) in Canada. It finds that Millennials have the least interest in routine manual occupations and the most interest in higher skilled and non-routine occupations that are least susceptible to automation. On the contrary,
the older generations show greater interests in routine-based jobs that will face a higher risk of being replaced by automation. To arrive at these conclusions the author uses data from September 2016 to March 2017 of job seekers’ use of postings. Job seeker interest is measured as a share of the volume of clicks on job postings for a particular occupation. The analysis is based on four occupational classifications: non-routine cognitive, routine cognitive, non-routine manual, and routine manual occupations.

Lamb, C., and Doyle, S. (2017, March 28). Future-proof: Preparing young Canadians for the future of work. Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E).

This report examines ways to help Canada’s teenagers prepare for their future career development amidst the growth of automation. Most entry level jobs, which are likely to be replaced by automation, are staffed by younger workers. By equipping them with a wide range of technical and soft skills, such as digital literacy, entrepreneurship and social intelligence, young workers will be better suited to find work in the higher-skilled occupations not replaceable by automation. The report also suggests that employers provide relevant training programs to complement post-secondary education. Some general recommendations offered include the provision of timely labour market information, career planning services, and mentorship programs for youth entering into the labour force.

Kim, Y., Kim, K., & Lee, S. (2017, March). “The rise of technological unemployment and its implications on the future macroeconomic landscape”. Futures. March, 87: 1-9.

This article uses two- and three-state Markov chain models to predict the proportion of jobs that are susceptible to computerization. Expanding on the model used by Frey and Osborne (2003), Kim et al. (2017) incorporate the passage of time to account for the assumption that susceptibility is not fixed; jobs that are non-susceptible today may later become susceptible in the future, and vice versa. Simulations of various future employment situations indicate that the probability of switching between states (susceptible versus non-susceptible) is heavily influenced by external controls, such as government intervention. This suggests that public policy initiatives may be key to managing the effect of computerisation on future employment. Furthermore, it is shown that the rate of computerisation is equal to the difference between the proportion of susceptible jobs that stay susceptible and the non-susceptible jobs that switch. Therefore, policy initiatives should specifically target the latter ratio.

Oschinski, M., and Wyonch R. (2017, March). Future Shock? The Impact of Automation on Canada's Labour Market. C.D. Howe Institute. Commentary no. 472.

This report evaluates the impact of technological change on the Canadian labour market over the past 30 years and assesses the implications for the future. The report highlights that Canadian industries where more than three-quarters of the job are at high risk of automation account for only 1.7% of employment. Based on historical evidence, the report argues that high rates of unemployment stemming from technological progress is unlikely. Furthermore, empirical evidence suggests that the increased use of robots will not directly cause unemployment, because countries with relatively higher robot densities than Canada would have experienced greater job losses.

King, Lewis, and Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh. (2017, February). “Worktime Reduction as a Solution to Climate Change: Five Scenarios Compared for the UK.” Ecological Economics. 132: 124–34.

An annual reduction of 20% in working hours could translate to a 16% decline in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Using UK data, Lewis et al. (2017) consider 5 scenarios to reduce working hours: (i) a 3-day weekend; (ii) free Wednesdays; (iii) shorter workdays; (iv) more holiday entitlement; and, (v) labour force reduction. They separately evaluate the impact of reduced work hours on business and employee activities. It further balances changes in workers’ CO2 consumption due to ‘income effects’ (e.g., less money to purchase things) and ‘time effects’ (e.g., more leisure time). The former typically lessens GHG emissions, whereas the latter will increase them.

The paper finds a three-day weekend, free Wednesday and workforce minimization are the most effective policies to reduce carbon emissions. Shorter workdays and more holiday entitlement are found to be the least effective. The most effective policy, a three-day weekend, is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by a total 14.21 tons of CO2-equivalents, or 2.2% of 2016 total emissions. A shorter working day, which was the least effective, will reduce emissions by only 0.2%. The authors note there would be aggregate long-term effects of these policies that have uncertain consequences on carbon emissions but highlight the importance of these types of analyses for estimating the impact of various policy options.

Horton (2017, January 26): The effects of algorithmic labor market recommendations: Evidence from a field experiment. Journal of Labor Economics, 35(2): 345-385

This article investigates the impact of recruitment costs on job creation using data from the freelancing platform oDesk (now Upwork). The platform’s algorithm recommends candidates to employers who post new job openings. A random set of employers who posted job openings on the platform for the first time were selected to receive up to six recommended candidates (the treatment group). The employer could then decide to invite these candidates to apply to the opening, as well as search for additional candidates to invite. The control group consisted of other employers new to the platform, who had to search for candidates on their own.

The experiment found that the share of new employers inviting candidates to apply increased by 40% when candidates were recommended. Further, the probability that the test group employers would hire someone through the platform for a technical position rose by 20%, but there was no significant impact on recruitment for nontechnical positions. According to the author, this is due to the much larger number of freelancers who apply to nontechnical job positions without being invited by the employer. This suggests that the use of algorithms to match employers and workers would have an impact only in occupations with a small pool of available workers. In these cases, the lower search costs associated with algorithmically assisted recruitment may positively impact job creation.

Cutean, A. (2017). Autonomous Vehicles and the Future of Work in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC).

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are set to be the next major technological breakthrough of the 21st century. The AV industry in Canada will create 34,700 new jobs between 2017 and 2021. However, Canada lags behind major automobile manufacturing countries such as the US, Japan, and Germany. The extent to which Canada can harness the positive impacts on employment in high-tech sectors from autonomous vehicles (e.g., automotive engineering, ICT in general) will depend crucially on the role Canada plays in the development of this new technology.

Furthermore, the adoption of autonomous vehicle technology will generate new opportunities for inclusivity and economic participation for underrepresented groups — such as individuals with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and people living in rural or remote areas — as long-distance travel becomes more manageable. AV adoption will also require a comprehensive retrofitting of our road infrastructure and changes to our traffic laws. Such changes will boost demand for civil engineers, urban and land use planners, consultants, and policy analysts.

On the other side of the ledger, most driving jobs will be phased out as the technology improves. How fast this will happen depends on how efficiently various driving occupations can be automated. Although drivers make up only 0.5% of the Canadian labour force, they have, on average, the lowest level of education among workers affected by AV technology. Supporting these workers through a difficult period of transition should therefore be a social and economic priority. In addition to drivers, mechanics and other workers will need re-training, either to adapt to the changing skill demand of their occupation or to transition into other fields.

Deloitte. (2017). The Intelligence Revolution: Future-proofing Canada’s workforce.

The study reports that the intelligence Revolution will be driven by three factors: (1) exponential change in machine learning, (2) free data storage and (3) increasing computational power. These changes will lead to job losses but the effect may be more limited than is often feared. The report concludes that “the amount of work will increase but the capabilities needed to perform it will change.” The report posits eight archetypes defined by their “future-proofed” skills. Within each archetype category fall multiple occupations – some of which are at high-risk and others low-risk of being lost to automation. The typology is summarized in the table below.

Archetype Future-proofed capabilities High risk of automation Low risk of automation Potential job growth
Protector Social awareness and judgment. Medical laboratory assistant, security guards and pharmacists Police officer, family doctor and speech/language pathologist. Geronto-kinesiologist, telenurse and end-of-life therapist.
Innovator Competitive edge, judgment and execution. none Aerospace engineer, AI designer, University professor and Game developer. Startup specialist, Continuous improvement agent and Mechatronics
Influencer Influence, inspirational leadership and competitive edge. Administrative service managers. Leader in financial technology, coach and politician. Online community manager and incubator relationship manager.
Integrator Collaboration, judgment and creativity Executive assistant, Real estate agent
and Railway traffic controller
Journalist, Executive chef, Retail buyer and Teacher. Networking specialist, Company culture ambassador and Simplicity expert
Scorekeeper Judgement, competitive edge and social awareness. Paralegal, Auto Insurance brokers and Accountants. Lawyer, Actuaries and Employment. Curriculum standards manager, Big Data scientist and Cybersecurity analyst.
Performer Creativity, Execution and Social Awareness. Sports referee Musician, Film producer, Professional athlete and Broadcaster. Enhanced reality game/film producer, Vlogger (multi-media blogger) and Personal brand strategist.
Builder Judgment and execution. Line cook, Carpenter, Transport, Truck driver and Drycleaner Car mechanic, Financial analyst and Oil field worker. Urban farmer, AI developer, Auto-transport analyst and Robotics programmer.
Curator Customer insight, Creativity and
Social awareness
Hotel front desk clerk, Travel guide and Customer service cashier. Hairstylist/barber, Advertising manager, Outdoor sports and recreational guide Customer service psychologist and Customer experience strategist.


McKinsey Global Institute. (2017, January). A Future that Works: Automation, Employment, and Productivity.

This report analyses the impact of automation on work activities and global productivity. It is shown that automation can boost annual global productivity growth by anywhere from 0.8 to 1.4%. In addition, it is found that approximately 50% of work activities have the potential to be automated by adapting current technology. Nevertheless, this does not equate directly to job loss as less than 5% of occupations are found to be fully automatable; it does, however, imply a restructuring. Furthermore, it is estimated that those workers who are disrupted will find other employment. To contextualise the effects, the paper compares the situation to the shift away from agriculture in the United States in the 19th and early 20th century: Although some jobs were lost, other jobs were created.

Five factors influencing the pace and form of automation are identified. The first is technical feasibility. It takes time to research, identify, and decide how to incorporate new technology. Second, creating and implementing technical solutions requires capital investment and can be costly. Labour costs from training and losses due to temporary skill mismatches are a third factor that will influence the pace and form of automation. Finally, the economic benefits, and both social and regulatory acceptance must be considered. The public may be opposed to automation if they expect large job-losses, for example, and workplace safety and liability issues must be also address.

Prism Economics & Analysis. (2017, January). The Future of the Manufacturing Labour Force in Canada. Canadian Manufacturing & Exporters (CM) & Canadian Skills Training & Employment Coalition (CSTEC). January

The report provides an analysis of the labour needs of the manufacturing industry in Canada for the next 5 and 10 years, and a baseline projection of the labour requirements of Canadian manufacturing by occupation. The first objective is to generate LMI that is regional, current, and focused on the skills needs of the manufacturing sector. The second is to provide supply and demand forecasts that are rigorous and calibrated to take account of locally generated data. Finally, the results should be used to engage regional employers in a discussion about steps that might be taken to address any skills shortages identified by the LMI.

Of the 15 regions covered, 14 expect a recruitment gap totaling 129,000 workers. This is further complicated by the age of workers, as the average age of workers in the manufacturing sector is higher than the rest of the workforce. This poses additional burden with regard to replacement demand as these workers are expected to retire within the next decade. It is also observed that manufacturing faces substantial competition for workers with other industries. Montreal and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are expected to need the greatest number of manufacturing workers by 2025, with a demand of 71,000 and 63,000 workers respectively.

DeCanio, Stephen J. (2016, August 11). “Robots and humans—complements or substitutes? Journal of Macroeconomics. 49: 280-291.

In this paper, DeCanio estimates the elasticity of substitution between robotic and human labour using a multi-factor production function. The goal is to determine under what conditions increased use of robots increases or decreases wages. Given the rapid technological changes occurring in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially those involving cognition, there is mounting uncertainty how such changes may affect employment and wages. Although historic trends support Schumpeter’s (1950) “creative destruction” thesis (technical change leads to job loss in the short-term but to increases in productivity and employment in the longer-term), the historic positive correlation between employment, wages, and technical growth may not continue into the future. Therefore, DeCanio uses a theoretical approach to determine whether this trend is expected to continue.

DeCanio shows that under a simple two-factor production function (i.e., Cobb-Douglas) wages and increases in the capital stock will always be positively correlated. Extending the model to three factors (i.e., labour, robots, and regular capital), however, opens the possibility for wages to either increase or decrease relative to changes in capital. As there are empirical challenges to estimating elasticities of substitution, the author employs a numerical simplification approach (the “Houthakker method”), enabling him to circumvent the need for impractical or unlikely assumptions about the measurement of capital and to avoid issues associated with aggregation. Using data from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics to estimate the change in wages with respect to robotic labour, DeCanio finds that wages will fall as more robots are used in production if the elasticity of substitution between human and robotic labour is in the range of 1.7 to 2.1 or more. To contextualize these values, he notes that the elasticities between college graduates and non-college workers, was 1.6 from 1963 to 1987, and 2.9 between 1963 and 2008.

Arntz, M., Gregory T. & Zierahn, U. (2016, June 16). “The Risk of Automation for Jobs in OECD Countries”, OECD Social, Employment, and Migration Working Papers, no. 189.

This report applies a task-based approach to estimate the automatability of jobs in 21 OECD countries. Previous attempts to assess the risk of automatability equated risk with occupational loss; however, this need not be the case. Even high-risk jobs, for example, have some tasks that cannot be automated. To account for this, this paper instead focuses on assessing the automatability of tasks within an occupation. Accordingly, only 9% of jobs on average are determined to be highly automatable, which is significantly less than the 47% that has been estimated via the occupation-based approach (e.g., Frey and Osborne, 2013). The report concludes that automation and digitalisation will not result in large job losses for two main reasons. First, the introduction of technology in the workplace is a slow process; there are legal, social, and economic obligations that must first be met. Second, technology can create new job opportunities as well.

Lamb, C. (2016, June 15). The Talented Mr. Robot. The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce. Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E).

This report concludes that Canadian jobs involving routine tasks are highly susceptible to automation, but that these jobs may not be eliminated only restructured. It estimates that 42% of the Canadian labour force is at high-risk of being affected by automation within the next 10 to 20 years. In addition, 42% of job tasks currently performed by Canadian workers are already automatable with existing technology. Although this does not imply these jobs will be lost per se, it does mean workers will need to acquire new skills to adapt to the changing job requirements. Low-education, low-skilled workers are at most risk of becoming unemployment. On the other hand, 36% of Canada’s labour force is employed in high-skilled occupations with low risk of being affected by automation. These occupations are expected to produce 712,000 jobs over the next 2 decades, which provides opportunities for those willing and able to change careers.

AON Hewitt and Business Council of Canada. (2016, March). Developing Canada’s future workforce: a survey of large private-sector employers. March.

Ninety of the top private employers in Canada were asked to complete an online survey. Participants include only key HR personnel such as chief HR officers, HR vice presidents, directors of HR and HR managers. Respondents came from across Canada and from different industries that collectively have more than 800,000 employees. The survey focused on key areas such as critical skills, skills shortages, and partnerships between private organizations and post-secondary institutions. The main finding is that firms are recruiting candidates with soft skills because these non-cognitive skills are crucial to identify future leaders. The surveyed firms report that although post-secondary graduates are sufficiently equipped to enter the labour market, expectations are changing fast for graduates. The report argues that more collaboration is required between the private sector and post-secondary institutions. Most respondents believe that their firms are well-equipped to manage the effects of an ageing population.

Alexander, C. (2016, February 2). Job One is Jobs: Workers Need Better Policy Support and Stronger Skills. C.D. Howe Institute. 2 February.

The report suggests that between 2000 and 2015 Canada experienced a noticeable increase in precarious employment. Moreover, long-term has unemployment increased from 6.9% in 2008 to 13.4% in 2014. It argues that these twin problems can be eased by reducing inefficiencies in the labour market through 4 policy measures: (1) better support for displaced workers; (2) an increase in detailed and accessible labour market data; (3) upskilling of workers; and, (4) removal of barriers to labour market entry for newly landed immigrants though increased investments in language-training programmes. Specifically, EI should be reformed. The report proposes uniform, Canada-wide rules of EI access and that any region-specific adjustments should be implemented by provincial governments.

Citi and Oxford Martin School. (2016, January 26). “Technology at Work v2.0: The Future Is Not What It Used to Be”, Citi GPS: Global Perspectives and Solutions, January.

This report compiles several analyses on job automation and its repercussion. It highlights work from the World Bank that applies the Frey and Osborne methodology for estimating occupations’ likelihood of being lost to computerization across the globe. The study shows that a substantial share of the global workforce is at high risk of automation. For example, the world’s two most populous countries, China and India, face, respectively, an estimated 77% and 69 % of jobs being lost to automation. The OECD average, on the other hand, is 57%. The high rate of job loss due to automation in emerging and developing countries is somewhat surprising given these economies’ relatively lower labour costs. However, the report notes that the degree of automation in manufacturing industries are converging rapidly across the world, which is puts an even greater number of jobs at risk of being lost. A further risk to emerging and developing economies is that technological advancements (e.g., automated manufacturing processes) could alter global production networks and allowing firms to bring production closer to consumer markets. Such ‘on-shoring’ of production might be welcomed in many Western countries, but it will not come with the high employment levels associated with manufacturing in the past. The authors conclude that, while the potential impact of automation should affect developing countries later than emerging or advanced economies, it is likely to be more disruptive in less advanced economies and could even slow down income convergence. To be better prepare for this future disruption, emerging economies should to invest in up-skilling workers and work to boost domestic demand.

Randstad. (2016). Workforce 2025: the future of the world of work

This report analyses data from 1,295 surveys of workers and 504 surveys of employers to assess the current and projected state of the Canadian workforce. It finds that approximately 85% of employers expect the workforce to become more agile by 2025.6 30% of the current workforce is comprised on non-traditional workers,7 and that figure is expected to grow in the coming years. It is estimated that the IT sector currently employs the largest number of nontraditional workers at 19.3%, followed by engineering at 11.1%, administrative support services at 10.5%, sales and business development at 9.6%, finance and accounting at 9.2%, and human resources at 8.1%. Employers estimate that by 2025, 35% of workers will be “contingent, contract, or consultant”, 32% will be virtual or remote workers, and 25% will be part time consultants. Having a flexible staffing model will lead to reductions in cost for and improved performance by the corporation.

6 Workforce agility is defined as the ability of employees and organizations to remain steadfast and maintain productivity in the face of change.
7 Non-traditional worker refers to contingent, consultant, contractual, part-time, freelance and/or virtual workers.

Tech Toronto. (2016). How Technology Is Changing Toronto Employment.

This report investigates the impact of technological development on the Toronto economy and provides political recommendations to help the technology ecosystem grow and prosper. The tech ecosystem is measured using three types of employment: all tech jobs in the tech industry, all non-tech jobs in tech industries and all tech jobs in non-tech industries. Some policy recommendations include fast-tracking work visas for immigrant “tech talents,” improving housing, and allocating more government funds to start-ups.

Tech Toronto. How Technology is Changing Toronto Employment (Comment la technologie modifie l’emploi à Toronto), 2016.

Ce rapport examine les répercussions du développement technologique sur l’économie de Toronto et fournit des recommandations politiques pour aider l’écosystème technologique à croître et à prospérer. L’écosystème technologique est mesuré à l’aide de trois types d’emplois : tous les emplois technologiques dans l’industrie technologique, tous les emplois non technologiques dans les industries technologiques et tous les emplois technologiques dans les industries non technologiques. Certaines recommandations politiques comprennent l’accélération de l’obtention de visas de travail pour les immigrants « techniciens talentueux », l’amélioration du logement et l’allocation de fonds publics plus importants aux entreprises en démarrage.

Engineers Canada. (2015, June). Engineering Labour Market in Canada: Projections to 2025. June.

The study provides supply and demand projections for 14 engineering occupations. It highlights a large and growing need to replace retiring engineers as they exit the workforce. This is particularly relevant for civil, mechanical, electrical and electronic engineers as well as computer engineers. In most of the occupations, international in-migration is expected to be high over the next five years. The report provides projections for supply and demand of 14 engineering occupations (by 4-digit NOC code) based on a workforce requirements approach. The study first tracks engineering graduates in each of the 14 fields for each province from 2000 to 2013 and then looks at two aggregate employment projections for each engineering occupation in each province over the 2015-19 and 2020-22 periods.

A labour market tightness ranking is generated for each occupation to give an overview of the relative risk across occupations for obtaining their estimated supply requirements. Rank 1 corresponds to excess supply and 2 represents normal market situation whereby employers can fulfill their employment needs through normal methods whereas rank 3 corresponds to excess demand during which employers need to make special efforts to attract normal workers.

The results suggest that most provinces will experience normal labour market tightness for the engineering occupations assessed in the future (i.e., rank 2 for civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical and electronic engineers, chemical engineers, industrial and manufacturing engineers, metallurgical and materials engineers, mining engineers, geological engineers, petroleum engineers, aerospace engineers, computer engineering, other engineers, engineering managers, and software engineers). Only a small number of provinces are expected to experience excess demand in certain years over the medium term.

McDaniel, S., Wong, L., & Watt, B. (2015, June). An Aging Workforce and the Future Labour Market in Canada. Canadian Public Policy. 41(2). June.

The paper explores peer-reviewed research for the period 2000-2013 to determine the effect of Canada’s ageing workforce on the labour market. The looming retirement of Canada’s “baby boomers” raises concerns of a potential shortage of replacement labour. The paper argues that such concern may be unwarranted, as the age composition of the labour force is also shifting. Questions also arise as to the usefulness of relying on temporary foreign workers (TFW) as a potential solution; however, policies pertaining to immigration are very recent and their implications are not yet fully understood. Changes made to TFW policy in 2014, for example, require more research to understand how this may affect future labour market conditions. The lack of good data on skills and labour further prevents a complete understanding of current and future labour demand. The paper identifies the need for improved information on current and future provincial and pan-Canadian labour markets in order to better understand skill-needs.

Green, D. A., and Sand, B. (2013, November). Has the Canadian Labour Market Polarized? November.

The paper uses Canadian Census and Labour Force Survey (LFS) data over the 1971-2012 period to investigate the impact of technological change on labour market polarization5 in Canada. Since the discussion of polarization has been built mostly around US employment patterns, this study uses US Census data as a benchmark for the Canadian patterns. They analysed the nature of changes in employment by defining jobs in a comparable way across Census years. Then they rank occupations based on the average weekly wage of full-time workers.

The study proposes that the standard technological change model of job polarization for the US does not fit with the Canadian data. They show that job polarization exists in Canada but only in specific jurisdictions and it can mostly be attributed to the resource boom, not to technological change. The report highlights that although job polarization did occur in the 1980s and 1990s, and high- and low-paying occupations had higher employment growth relative to the middlepaying ones, the unbalanced employment growth has subsided since 2000. There is also evidence of increasing inequality as wages decreased for low-paying occupations relative to middle-paying occupations and for middle-paying occupations relative to high-paying occupations.

Frey, C. B., and Osborne, M. A. (2013, September 17). The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation? 17 September.

The paper adopts a novel methodology to estimate the probability of the computerization for 702 occupations. The authors evaluate the potential impact of computerization on the labour market focusing on the number of jobs at risk, an occupations’ likelihood of computerisation, and the relationship between wages and level of education. The study shows that recent developments in machine learning can put a significant proportion of occupations at risk of computerization in the next 10-20 years (about 47% of total US employment). The authors expect a technology plateau, as a slower pace of substituting computers for human labour which is caused by some engineering bottlenecks to computerization. They also provide some evidence that there is a strong negative relationship between the educational attainment and occupations’ likelihood of computerization.

Bélanger, A., & Bastien, N. (2013, September 11). “The Future Composition of the Canadian Labor Force: A Microsimulation Projection”. Population and Development Review. 39(3).

Using micro simulation projection model, the labour force is projected up to 2031 based on five scenarios assessing labour shortage concerns, ethno-cultural and educational composition of the labour force and participation rates. The demographic mechanisms which will affect the size and composition of the labour are assessed in detail along with the impact on labour force growth and participation rates based on varying levels of immigration.

Three alternative assumptions are made regarding future participation rates:

  1. Extrapolation of trends observed between 1999-2008;
  2. Age and education-specific activity remains constant at 2010 levels (“constant participation rate”); and,
  3. No differentials in labour force participation rates between immigrants and ethno-cultural groups.

Based on these three assumptions, five scenarios are generated. The first three scenarios adopt the first assumption and allow the overall population growth rate to vary (high, low, and medium growth). The fourth and fifth scenarios use the medium population growth assumption, and apply the second and third assumptions listed above, respectively.

Immigration is found to be the main growth driver of the working-age population over the projected period. Other demographic drivers had impact on labour force size but little impact on labour force participation rates. The projected labour force will be older, with higher number of foreign born and visible minority workers, and expansion of Canadian-born workers. In terms of education, the share of degree-holders in the labour force will double between 2006 and 2031, from 22% to 44%.

Kustec, S. (2012, June). The role of migrant labour supply in the Canadian labour market. Citizenship and Immigration Canada. June.

This paper examines the implications of a slowing population growth and an ageing workforce for Canada’s labour market. In the next decade, the annual labour force growth rate is estimated to decrease from 1.6% to 0.8%, while the proportion of workers over 55 years of age is expected to increase. Future projections of labour demand suggest a total of 4.4 million job vacancies due to retirements, deaths, and emigrations alone, compared to the 700,000 vacancies from expansion growth. One tool for meeting this predicted demand is through the use of immigrant workers. Currently, landed and non-landed immigrants, such as temporary foreign workers, comprise 22.9% of the total Canadian labour force. Although this figure is expected to increase in the next decade, the gains from Canadian-born workers still outweigh the gains from immigrant labour and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.

Hirshorn, R. (2011, April). Impacts of Structural Changes in the Canadian Economy. Industry Canada. Working Paper 2011-04.

This report examines structural changes in the Canadian labour market since mid-1970s, its relationship to changes in productivity, and the impact on jobs and labour compensation. Structural changes in the Canadian labour market can be clearly identified by looking at changes in labour shares in manufacturing and service industries. More specifically, over the 1976-79 to 2001-05 period labour use has significantly declined in the manufacturing industries, while it has increased in service industries. Given rapid productivity growth in the manufacturing sector, these labour shifts out of manufacturing raise concerns regarding labour compensation and improvement in standard of living.

Taking a closer look at changes in labour productivity using “shift-share” analysis suggests that most of the increase in labour productivity during the analyzed time period can be attributed to productivity growth within individual industries. Structural changes had a small but significant negative impact on productivity growth that was due to differences not in productivity levels but in productivity growth rates between industries that were gaining and losing labour share. The weak performance of the service sector was the primary drag on productivity growth, reducing “within industry” productivity growth and being the main factor behind the negative contribution of structural change to productivity growth. This has potentially serious implications for the Canadian economy which seems to have a dominant sector with a weak capacity for innovation and productivity growth.

Service sector jobs which have increased in importance differ in some significant respects from traditional manufacturing jobs. Service industries have a higher incidence of part-time and temporary workers and make greater use of flexible work arrangements. The proportion of workers with at least a university degree is, on average, higher in services than in manufacturing.

In terms of labour compensation, the relatively weaker productivity growth in the service sector has also contributed to slower growth of real wages in this sector. However, similar to productivity results discussed above, structural changes do not seem have a significant negative impact on real wage growth rate, which confirms results found by other studies.

Hull, J. (2009). Aboriginal Youth, Education, and Labour Market Outcomes. Aborigina Policy Research Consortium International (APRCi).

This report explores the potential of aboriginal populations in Canada in meeting future labour force challenges especially with respect to concerns surrounding population ageing as a policy alternative to immigration and retention of older workers. The aboriginal labour force is projected to grow much more rapidly than the general Canadian labour force with the former groups’ 15-64 years age group increasing by 48% as opposed to the latter’s increasing only by 18%.

By 2026, younger aboriginal population will be 37% larger than in 2001, whereas general Canadian younger population will be 6% larger. Around 125,000 aboriginal children are turning 15 every five years with more than 600,000 reaching working age in the 2001-2026 period. Although the proportion of aboriginal people in the national labour market is projected to be 5% in 2026, they hold significant shares in certain provincial labour markets namely Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northern Canada.

Looking at the projected labour force growth, the Atlantic region and Saskatchewan would see the largest growth in the aboriginal share of the labour force. In fact, Saskatchewan would experience a decline in its labour force in the absence of the aboriginal population. There is a strong positive relationship between educational attainment and labour force participation of aboriginals which could have strong impacts on closing the employment gap between aboriginals and general Canadians.

Massé, P., Roy, R., and Gingras, Y. (1998, November). The Changing Skill Structure of Employment in Canada. Human Resources Development Canada. R-99-7E. November.

This paper examines the evolution of the demand for skilled labour due to technological change and changing trends in Canada’s labour market. Overall change in employment is decomposed into a skill substitution effect, a productivity lag effect, and an output effect. The skill substitution effect is that technological innovation leads to demand for higher-skilled workers; Productivity lag effects suggests that differing growth rates across industries determine the distribution of indemand skills; and, the output effect refers to the changing demand in skills due to demand for Canadian-produced goods and services. They find that the skill substitution effect dominates the other two effects in driving the structural changes in skills demanded in Canada. Likewise, the substitution effect appears to be gaining in importance over time.

Relatedly, the report demonstrates that knowledge and management occupations have significantly increased leading to increased demand for cognitive and communication skills, which in turn has led to an increase in the demand for higher education and literacy.

Despite the increase in demand for skilled labour, there was no significant evidence of skill shortages in the Canadian economy. The increase in demand for skilled labour has been met by an equal increase in supply of highly skilled workers. Furthermore, there is no significant evidence of job deterioration for low skilled workers.

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