Robot Talks

Understanding the impact of technological change on Ontario’s workers

Are you working in Ontario's industry?

We want to hear from you!

Are you experiencing changes to your work as a result of technology? Are you an employer making decisions about automation? A union representing workers who are being impacted? A service provider helping people retrain or navigate change?

We want to hear what you have to say about the effects of automation on how you work, live and do business.

3 Ways to Participate

  • Find a workshop near you.

    All Ontarians are welcome to participate and contribute their insights.
    Public workshops will take place in the following locations:

How is technology changing the way we live and work?

Robot Talks public workshops are part of our broader research on the impact of technological change on Ontario’s workforce.

  • Submit your thoughts online.

Why It Matters

New technologies are changing the way we work and do business. These changes can be felt across economic regions and sectors, with some feeling the effects more than others.

Automation has the potential to help companies stay competitive. For some Ontarians, it could augment or create jobs. For others, it could change or jeopardize jobs.

Our team is taking to the road and visiting communities across Ontario to learn:

  • Is advancing technology helping or hurting Ontario workers?
  • How is technology changing the way you live and work?
  • Who is most at risk of automation? Which industries can be replaced by technology?
  • Is automation creating holes in Canada’s workforce? What about creating opportunities?
  • How has your business changed as technology advances? How have you adapted?

All Ontarians are welcome to participate.

How It Works

Phase 1

November + December 2017

This included stakeholder interviews, pop-up engagement modules and written feedback.

Phase 1 Engagement Summary

Phase 2

January + February 2018

We sought comments on the Phase 1 Engagement Summary and further input through an online survey, public workshops, stakeholder roundtables and written comments.

Phase 3

March 2018

Our final summary synthesizes what we heard from Ontario workers through Phase 1 and Phase 2 public engagement activities.

Final Engagement Summary

This public engagement research project is supported by the Government of Ontario.


These public consultations are part of a broader project exploring the impacts of automation on Ontario’s economy and labour force, which is being sponsored by the Government of Ontario.

In November 2017, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship convened an expert advisory panel that put forward recommendations on how to prioritize research for this project, what sectors to focus on, and what questions to ask. Over the next four months, we will be talking to Ontarians, consulting industry, labour, and academic experts, and conducting new research. All project components will be synthesized and compiled into a public report, which will be released in March 2018.

We are aiming to capture local insights to ensure that our research is complemented by frontline expertise. These insights will feed into a final report, to be released in March 2018, which will frame and analyze the emerging opportunities and challenges that technological disruption presents for Ontario’s workers.

The objective is to provide a more robust, stakeholder-informed evidence base for policies and services aimed at supporting Ontario’s workers as they adjust to technological disruption and take advantage of the new opportunities it presents.

Every Ontarian is welcome to participate and contribute their insights to the public engagement component of this project. The BII+E team is visiting communities across the province to hear what Ontarians are seeing and experiencing at the frontlines of technological change, in an effort to shed light on:

  • General trends related to automation and local impacts on work
  • Local adaptations to technological change and disruption
  • Training / retraining and worker-employer connection programs that work (or don’t)
  • Lessons learned from past or present programs and supports
  • Strategies for supporting families and businesses navigating disruption
  • Local service gaps, needs, obstacles and opportunities
  • Labour shortages, as well as skill needs and transferability
All feedback provided by Ontarians through interviews, public workshops, town halls, and online surveys will be kept anonymous.
Workshops will include presentations and briefs about current trends and case studies. Participants will be invited to address the room as well as discuss strategies and priorities in smaller groups. Local partners will be on hand to offer their perspectives. Written feedback is welcome at meetings as well as throughout Phases One and Two.

Hot and cold beverages as well as light fare will be offered.

A schedule of public workshops and engagement activities is currently being organized. Stay tuned for more details.

Have a question?

Email, call 416-979-5000 Ext. 543494, or write to us at:
Ryerson University
c/o Brookfield Institute
350 Victoria St.
Toronto, ON M5B 2K3

This project is delivered in collaboration with the Department of Words and Deeds.

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