Identifying opportunities and challenges

Businesses are rapidly adopting new technologies that are increasing their productivity and market reach, allowing them to better meet customer preferences, and improving or leading to entirely new products and services. In some cases, these technologies are substituting for job tasks that have previously been carried out by people.

Our recent report, The Talented Mr. Robot, found that nearly 42 percent of Canadian jobs are likely to be affected in some way by automation over the next 10 to 20 years. While this doesn’t mean that these jobs will disappear, it’s likely that many will change – so too will the skills that workers require. The objective of this project is to provide a more robust, stakeholder-informed evidence base for policies, programs and services aimed at supporting Ontario’s workers and communities as they adjust, adapt and take advantage of new opportunities presented by automation.

By drawing on data as well as the insights and advice of a wide array of stakeholders, including industry and labour leaders, employers, workers, service providers, educators, and academic experts, we aim to further our collective understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead, and chart a path for action.

Our Process: Setting the course for 2017-2018

Below are the critical phases underwent to complete our final report.


Expert Advisory Panel

The Expert Advisory Panel advised on the project’s scope, methodology and provide guidance.

Citizen Engagement

A number of community consultations took place over the course of the project, to capture local insights and frontline expertise. All Ontarians were welcome to participate, as we sought out insights from workers, employers, service providers and other community leaders, through interviews, workshops and a survey. A total of 120 people were consulted, from 36 cities across Ontario.

In phase two, we led 12 public and stakeholder workshops across the province, complemented by a public survey of 122 others. Read our report on these consultations. 

Sector Research + Analysis

We continued to engage key stakeholders from two sectors in Ontario, as identified by the Expert Advisory Panel. Through this process, we interviewed a broad cross-section of individuals, including from large companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, organizations on the cutting edge of technology development and commercialization, industry associations, and labour organizations.

We also aimed to build upon existing research to help fill key gaps in our understanding of how technological change – and automation in particular – will impact Ontario’s workforce.

Final Report

The final report, entitled Better, Faster, Stronger: Maximizing the benefits of automation for Ontario’s firms and people, shares insights and experience from diverse sectors and communities to better understand the risks and rewards of automation for Ontario’s industries and workforce and the implications growing its uptake has for all sectors in the economy.

This report follows BII+E’s highly cited study The Talented Mr. Robot: The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce and integrates novel analysis and key stakeholder insights with feedback from consultations and surveys of more than 200 individuals representing labour, businesses, and developers of technology in both the public and private sectors. It is also guided by the perspectives of the Expert Advisory Panel with technology, academic, and industry expertise.