Impact of Tech on Ontario’s Workforce: A research project

We’re providing a more robust, stakeholder-informed evidence base for policies, programs and services for worker impacted by automation.
Impact of Tech on Ontario’s Workforce: A research project

Project Team

Creig Lamb
Senior Policy Analyst
Jessica Thornton
Sarah Doyle
Director of Policy + Research

Why we’re doing this project

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 highly cited 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 has been 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.


Our Process

Setting the course for 2017-2018
Impact of Technological Change - Process

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

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.

Expert Advisory Panel

Robert Carlyle
Senior Director, Strategic Workforce Management - RBC
Rebecca Finlay
Vice President, Engagement + Public Policy - Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
Ryan Gariepy
Co-Founder + CTO - Clearpath Robotics
Avi Goldfarb
Professor, Rotman School of Management - University of Toronto
David Green
Professor + Director, Vancouver School of Economics - University of British Columbia
Sunil Johal
IIE Work Stream Fellow
Krista Jones
Managing Director of Work + Learning - MaRS
Bob Magee
Chairman - The Woodbridge Group
Colin McKay
Head of Public Policy + Government Relations - Google Canada
Bakhtiar Moazzami
Professor/Researcher, Department of Economics - Lakehead University
Jayson Myers
Former President - Canadian Manufacturers + Exporters
Graham Taylor
Co-Founder, + Associate Professor - University of Guelph
Armine Yalnizyan
IIE Work Stream Fellow
Richard Zuroff
Director of Delivery and Customer Success - Element AI
Coralie D’Souza
Director of Operations + Employee Engagement
Erin Hesselink
Communications Assistant
Creig Lamb
Senior Policy Analyst
Jessica Thornton
Sarah Doyle
Director of Policy + Research


Deep Dive

9 Results


Mar 30, 2021

Using Statistic Canada's Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), we analyzed business trends throughout the pandemic, such as remote work, online sales, and employment and skills demands
How are Canadian businesses adapting to the Pandemic?

Aug 9, 2018

In conversation with Jay Myers, CEO of Next Generation Manufacturing Canada, the industry-led, not-for-profit organization established to lead Canada's Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster
Illustration of person in hot air balloon with someone hanging off it.

May 3, 2018

Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship releases comprehensive report assessing the impact of emerging automation technologies on labour
Ontario’s dual challenge: Maximizing the benefits of automation for business and people

May 3, 2018

We visited over 36 communities across Ontario, and asked over 300 Ontarians about their understanding of labour automation, their reactions, and the programs they think will help them adjust
Illustration of robot and human interacting with screen and communicating with each other.
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