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The Talented Mr. Robot: The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce

Looking at how automation is transforming traditional occupations, changing the day-to-day tasks of Canadians, and potentially creating new jobs
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The Talented Mr. Robot: The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce
Creig Lamb
Senior Policy Analyst

About this Report

Automation is transforming traditional occupations, changing the day-to-day tasks of Canadians, and potentially creating new jobs. Overall we found that nearly 42 percent of the Canadian labour force is at a high risk of being affected by automation in the next decade or two. We also discovered that major job restructuring will likely occur as a result of new technology. Using a different methodology, we found that 42 percent of the tasks that Canadians are currently paid to do can be automated using existing technology.

But the data does not paint an entirely negative picture. Using the Canadian Occupation Projection System (COPS), we found that the occupations with the lowest risk of being affected by automation, which are correlated with higher earnings and education, are projected to produce nearly 712,000 net new jobs between 2014 and 2024.

To identify the probability of automation for individual occupations in Canada, please use, manipulate and download our data below.

As with any type of forecasting exercise, there is always going to be uncertainties associated with the predictions. However, we do hope that this study provides a tool to help guide future decision making.

Read this report to help you:
  • Understand the effects that automation can have on the Canadian labour force,
  • Identify Canadian occupations that are at a high risk of being affected by automation,
  • Identify income, education and demographic characteristics of Canadian occupations based on their risk of being affected by automation, and
  • Identify how automation is expected to impact the specific tasks that the Canadian

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Key findings from the report:

  • Nearly 42 per cent of the employed Canadian labour force is at a high risk of automation over the 10 to 20 years.
  • The vast majority of high-risk occupations are in office support and general administration, sales and services, transportation and distribution, lower skilled technical occupations in health, natural and applied sciences, as well as manufacturing and construction labourers and assemblers.
  • Approximately 36 per cent of Canada’s employed labour force is at a low risk of automation. Using the Canadian Occupation Projection System (COPS), occupations with the lowest risk of being affected by automation are projected to produce nearly 712,000 net new jobs between 2014 and 2024.
  • Ontario has the lowest proportion of jobs at high risk of automation, and PEI the highest with over 45 per cent of jobs at high risk of automation over the next 10 to 20 years.

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March 23, 2018

On March 23, 2018, we brought together senior government leaders and industry experts for a day of stimulating speakers and in-depth discussions on AI and its potential impacts on public policy
AI + Public Policy: Understanding the Shift

Apr 13, 2017

Accelerating trends in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics point to significant economic disruption in the years ahead
Surfing the fourth industrial revolution

Mar 28, 2017

Technology has been changing the composition of the labour force for centuries. Yet, time and time again, it helps create more jobs than it eliminates
Preparing the workforce for technological change

Jun 13, 2016

When examining the impact of automation on the labour force, there are essentially two schools of thought
The Rise of Robots: Why the future of jobs in Canada isn’t all doom and gloom
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