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.
Setting the course for 2017-2018
Below are the critical phases we’ll be executing to complete our final report.
Expert Advisory Panel
The Expert Advisory Panel will advise on the project’s scope, methodology and provide guidance.
Currently RBC’s Director of Strategic Workforce Management, managing a team that enhances RBC’s human capital management routines, workforce analytics, people scorecards, and HR reporting to better enable talent and workforce decisions, issue and opportunity identification and assessment, and action planning. Spent seven years as a consultant with Aon Hewitt, leading multiple HR strategy, analysis and workforce planning engagements in banking, insurance, retail, manufacturing, power, oil and gas, mining and health care. Left to join RBC as the Global Leader for Workforce Planning and Strategies, previously having managed the Aon Intelligence Unit and the Canadian survey and benchmarking business. Previously, Robert was president and co-founder of Carreg Solutions Inc, which was acquired by Aon Hewitt in late 2005. During this time he directed more than 100 projects for multi-national financial services clients. This work focused on integrated strategic and project planning and development of management information capabilities to support successful project implementation.
Rebecca is responsible for building and extending the global impact of CIFAR’s research through high-quality engagements with innovative leaders in business, health, policy and international development. She heads up CIFAR’s strategy to grow and secure funding from governments in Canada and abroad and leads a team of knowledge mobilization experts who specialize in knowledge exchange, policy, government relations and innovation. Prior to joining CIFAR, Rebecca was Senior Advisor, Communications with the Toronto Region Research Alliance and previously, Group Director, Public Affairs and Cancer Control for the Canadian Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute of Canada. Before moving to the non-profit sector, she built strategic partnerships as First Vice President, Financial Institution and Partnership Marketing for Bank One International and Vice President, Member Business Management with MasterCard International. Rebecca is an active volunteer, having held positions on non-profit and hospital boards. She completed an M.Phil. in Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge and holds an Honours BA from McGill University.
Ryan Gariepy focused on the development of intelligent systems from the very beginning of his engineering studies. The explosion of interest in this field in both industry and popular culture has solidified his belief that the ubiquitous presence of autonomous robotics is not far away. He believes that the benefits of robotics should be accessible to anyone, and is personally driving this vision as the CTO of Clearpath. Ryan drives the development of Clearpath’s autonomous control software modules while guiding the continued expansion of Clearpath’s research platform lines and custom industrial automation solutions. He completed both a B.A.Sc. degree in Mechatronics Engineering and a M.A.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He has presented on multiple occasions at the RoboBusiness Leadership Summit and the Unmanned Systems Canada conference, and in 2013 spoke on behalf of the Canadian High Commission at the Global Intelligent Systems conference in London, England. Most recently, Clearpath joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots where Ryan is spokesperson for the company. He is also a cofounder of the Robot Operating System developers’ conference and is on the Board of Directors for the Open Source Robotics Foundation.
Avi Goldfarb is the Ellison Professor of Marketing at Rotman. Much of his research focuses on understanding the impact of information technology on marketing, on universities, and on the economy. His research has also explored the value of brands and the role of experience in managerial decision-making. Avi has published over 50 articles in a variety of outlets in economics, marketing, statistics, computing, and law.
David Green is a professor and director in the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC. He received his BA from Queen’s University and his PhD from Stanford. His areas of research interest include income inequality, immigration, the impact of technical change on the labour market, and policies affecting labour market outcomes. He is a former editor of the Canadian Journal of Economics, an International Research Associate with the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London, and a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Sunil Johal is Policy Director at the Mowat Centre, School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto. He leads the Centre’s research activities, manages the research team and teaches a variety of executive education courses. He has a broad range of public policy expertise across economic, social, intergovernmental and regulatory fields. Previously, he was a Director with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation where he led the government’s efforts to modernize its regulatory environment and forge a more productive relationship with the business community. He has also held senior management and policy roles with the Cabinet Office, Ministries of Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs and federal Treasury Board Secretariat. He joined the federal civil service through the Recruitment of Policy Leaders initiative in 2003.
Sunil has been a lecturer with Ryerson University’s Department of Politics and Public Administration since 2009 and holds degrees from the London School of Economics, Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Western Ontario. He is frequently invited to speak about technology and policy issues at conferences and in a variety of media outlets, including the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC Radio and Television, CTV News, the Guardian, Maclean’s and the Ottawa Citizen.
Krista is the creator, managing director, and driving force behind the MaRS Discovery District’s globally leading Work & Learning sector. Krista works with entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, investors and technologists who are applying innovative and cutting-edge technologies to create solutions that are advancing the competitiveness of global enterprises small and large and the workforce that fuels them.
Informed by her deep engagement with over 1,000 technologists, entrepreneurs and innovators over the last 10 years, Krista is relied on as thought leader in the “Future of Work” by organizations from all around the world.
Krista has been a passionate innovator and builder of technology-based businesses (large public companies and startups) for over 25 years. She is an engineer, entrepreneur, mentor and an expert at solving ambiguous problems. She has a unique combination of strategic, technical, operational and marketing expertise. She is known for her comprehensive knowledge of existing and emerging technologies, business models and innovation practices.
Robert B. Magee is a graduate of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute and the University of Waterloo, and holds a Bachelors Degree of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering. Bob joined Monsanto Canada Ltd. in 1978 in Woodbridge, Ont., as a Process Engineer and transferred to Woodbridge Foam Corporation through an acquisition.
Bob started as the company’s first co-op student. After several years each in process, production management and technology management, he was appointed Vice-President of the Moulded Foam Division in 1988. In 1999, he was appointed to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer and in 2008 became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In 2014, Bob stepped down as CEO and remains Chairman as he steps toward retirement.
The Woodbridge Group is a Canadian-owned, multinational manufacturing company with 62 facilities in 17 countries. He served as Chair of the Human Resources Development Working Group for the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council, and is also a member of McMaster University’s Dean’s Advisory Board, the University of Waterloo’s Advisory Board, and the WB Family Foundation Board. He was a founding Director of the Yves Landry Foundation and is also a Director of Exco Technologies Limited, as well as The Woodbridge Group. Bob resides in Caledon, Ont., with his wife Cheryl. He has three children and two grandchildren.
Colin is the Head of Google’s Public Policy and Government Relations team in Canada. Colin is a member of the board at MediaSmarts, a not-for-profit organization that provides youth with critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens, and is a member of the Government of Canada Advisory Panel on Open Government, as well as sitting on the boards of Canada 2020, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, the Canadian-American Business Council and the Missing Children’s Society of Canada.
Before joining Google, he worked at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, where his team researched the impact of the digital economy on personal privacy and then built online tools to help Canadians understand their privacy rights. Prior to that, he worked on science and technology, patent, copyright, innovation, and transportation communications and policy for the Government of Canada. He has a B.A and M.A from the University of Toronto in International Relations.
Dr. Bakhtiar Moazzami has written many expert opinions and has given expert testimony in Ontario courts. He has access to most recent and detailed micro-data and census data on individuals (Francophones, immigrants, visible minorities, Aboriginal, and non-Aboriginal) living and working in northwestern Ontario, northeastern Ontario as well as those in Ontario and Canada. Use of detailed data specific to individuals residing in northern communities is one of the important factors distinguishing Dr. Moazzami’s reports from others.
Jayson Myers is an award-winning business economist, specializing in industrial and technological change, and has been widely recognized as one of the most influential policy advocates in Canada. He is an advisor to both private and public sector leaders, and has counselled Canadian prime ministers and premiers, as well as senior corporate executives and policymakers around the world.
With more than 25 years’ experience building alliances among businesses, academic institutions, as well as community, labour, and advocacy organizations, Myers has been instrumental in shaping the public policy environment in Canada. Between 2007 and 2016, he served as President & CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Canada’s largest industry and trade association. He was also the founding Chair of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, Vice Chair of Canada’s National Roundtable on Skills, and Vice Chair of the Ontario and Great Lakes Manufacturing Councils.
Myers currently Chairs the Global Gateways Federation, and is an advisor to legal and consulting firms in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. As Principal of Jayson Myers Public Affairs Inc., he helps organizations identify and manage opportunities arising from the changes that are reshaping industry and international business.
Kindred.ai + Assistant Professor, University of Guelph
Graham Taylor seeks to discover new algorithms and architectures for deep learning: the automatic construction of hierarchical algorithms from highdimensional, unstructured data. He is especially interested in time series, having applied his work to better understand human and animal behaviour, environmental data (climate or agricultural), audio (music or speech) and financial time series. His work also intersects high performance computing, investigating better ways to leverage hardware accelerators to cope with the challenges of large-scale machine learning. Taylor is active in promoting entrepreneurial activities in Artificial Intelligence. He is the academic director of NextAI, non-profit initiative to establish Canada as the AI hub for research, venture creation and technology commercialization.
Armine Yalnizyan is a leading progressive voice in Canada’s economic scene. Based in Toronto, she is a weekly business columnist for CBC Radio’s #1 local morning show, Metro Morning. She also appears weekly on the Big Picture panel, a popular feature of CBC-TV’s On the Money (formerly the Lang and O’Leary Exchange), Canada’s premier business-news program. She publishes with the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the National Post and Maclean’s Magazine. Armine was a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ National Office, helping define the Inequality Project from 2006 to 2016, and has been involved with the CCPA since 1993. Armine obtained her MA in Industrial Relations from University of Toronto and has a bilingual BA in economics from Glendon College, York University and the Université de Bordeaux, France. She proudly received the Atkinson Foundation’s inaugural Award for Economic Justice. She is President of the Canadian Association for Business Economics and has served on the boards of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research’s Institute of Population and Public Health and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
Richard Zuroff is a Senior Manager in the Industry Solution Group at Element AI. Element AI is a provider of enterprise AI solutions, powered by the world’s largest independent applied AI research lab. The Industry Solutions team works with clients to discover and define the highest impact applications for AI for their business.
At Element AI, Richard advises senior leaders and works with their organizations to develop an AI strategy and roadmap. Previously, Richard spent five years with McKinsey & Company, where he focused on serving Financial Services clients on technology topics, such as developing a national-level plan for upgrading Canada’s payments infrastructure. He holds an M.B.A., two Law degrees, and a Bachelor’s in Cognitive Science from McGill University.
A number of community consultations will take place over the course of the project, to capture local insights and frontline expertise. All Ontarians are welcome to participate. We are seeking insights from workers, employers, service providers and other community leaders, through interviews, workshops and a survey. Updates on these consultations will be shared here.
We will also hold a Twitter chat in January 2018 to unpack key insights and drive more discussion and engagement.
Sector Research + Analysis
We will engage key stakeholders from two sectors in Ontario, as identified by the Expert Advisory Panel. We are aiming to interview 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 are building on existing research to help fill key gaps in our understanding of how technological change – and automation in particular – will impact Ontario’s workforce.
This project will result in a final report in March 2018 that will describe what automation means for Ontario’s labour market and provide advice on possible avenues that governments, employers, education and training providers, community organizations and others could consider to better help Ontario’s workers adjust to a changing economy.