Building inclusion and equity into Canada’s innovation economy

Innovation can boost the economy and improve quality of life. Yet, the benefits are not accruing equally. This series invites experts to explore an innovative, inclusive and more equitable economy.

Project Team

Nisa Malli
Work Stream Manager, Innovative + Inclusive Economy
Sarah Doyle
Director of Policy + Research
Erin Warner
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Jessica Thomson
Marketing and Communications Specialist

Technological advances and innovation are key to improving economic growth and have generated incredible advances in quality of life. They have transformed entire sectors, from manufacturing to media, health to agriculture, and are contributing to improved productivity and access to services and supports. However, the benefits of this prosperity are not accruing equally and today’s economy remains one of stark contrasts and uneven playing fields. Bringing an equity and inclusion lens into innovation policy, and into how we set up the rules of the market more broadly, is both possible and necessary to build an economy that works for everyone in Canada and reaches its full potential.

In recent years, the goal of making the innovation economy more inclusive has gained traction, with federal and provincial commitments to “inclusive growth” and movements within and outside of the tech industry advocating for “tech for good”, the redistribution of tech-generated wealth through “tech taxes” and other vehicles, and embedding ethics into the design and operations of technology. However, these policy conversations still often occur in silos, without sufficient coordination between policy responses to support innovation, to make it more inclusive and equitable, and to address its negative impacts. The Brookfield Institute’s workstream on “An Innovative and Inclusive Economy” seeks to bring these conversations together, leading actionable research and policy analysis at the intersection of these goals.

To support this conversation, we are launching an article series under this theme, inviting leading experts from across the country and abroad to explore a range of topics, identifying areas where action is needed, and outlining potential solutions.

Our contributors write about the tech-hub cities at the frontlines of debates on housing affordability and inequality; the international labour force of crowd workers earning less than minimum wage for online content moderation and training algorithms; the challenges low-income individuals and households face in accessing the internet and online services; the “tech for good” movement and shifting norms around the neutrality of technology; and the discrimination experienced by workers seeking entry and advancement in STEM occupations. Together, this series begins to answer questions about the impacts of the innovation economy and identify approaches to making it more inclusive, more equitable, and of broader benefit to all Canadians.

To kick us off, check out our Letter from the Editor.

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Our Contributors

Our Funders

Nisa Malli
Work Stream Manager, Innovative + Inclusive Economy
Sarah Doyle
Director of Policy + Research
Erin Warner
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Jessica Thomson
Marketing and Communications Specialist

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Deep Dive

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Apr 30, 2020

If we want an inclusive and fair future (of work), it must also be an Indigenous one. A future that makes space for Indigenous knowledge and worldview, languages, and connection to lands and waters.
An Indigenous future and present of work

Mar 26, 2020

Canadians deserve innovation policy that promotes inclusion and equity alongside growth and channels money to our most important challenges
Canada’s investments in innovation need to be bolder

Sep 5, 2019

As government seeks to modernize its processes and policies, tech and automation must be applied meaningfully. Learn more from Bianca Wylie in our ongoing series on an equitable innovation economy.
Technology for public good in the public service

Jul 25, 2019

Silicon Valley was once seen as the harbinger of a new information economy that would help spread prosperity. Learn more via Dr. Chris Benner, as part of our series on a more inclusive economy.
Illustration by Sophie Berg of people riding in $ symbol hot air balloons over countryside.
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