A robot barista makes coffee at a Tokyo café on February 2, 2018. As technology advances, many jobs will be lost and others will be created. (Koji Sasahara/ AP Photo)

Canada lags in preparing for automation, says analyst


New technologies may lead to millions of job losses in Canada and governments here are not as prepared for change as they are in other countries, says a public policy analyst. Canada has already lost many jobs to automation in the manufacturing sector. For example, the auto sector in the province of Ontario produces as many vehicles as it did 15 years ago with 30 per cent fewer workers.

“There will be more churn in the job market, more people bouncing between different jobs,” says Sunil Johal.


On the cusp of dramatic change

“In many other sectors we are just at the cusp of seeing what will happen when we think about new technologies like artificial intelligence and how they could dramatically reshape sectors across the board,” says Sunil Johal, policy director at the independent think tank, the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto.

Among the sectors that could be affected, he lists law, medicine, financial services. Less likely to be affected are services that involve human contact like nursing or social work, or services that are not routine such as architecture, plumbing or electrical. Science, technology, engineering and math skills will likely serve employees well, although Johal acknowledges it is difficult to predict what employment will look like in the future.

New technology means that there is the same number of vehicles made in Ontario as 15 years ago but with 30 per cent fewer employees. (Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

As much as 45 per cent of jobs will be lost

There are several studies which predict job losses ranging from five per cent to 45 per cent. “I think the reality we need to become accustomed to is that no matter what happens is that there will be more churn in the job market, more people bouncing between different jobs. In all likelihood we’re going to see many jobs destroyed or eliminated and many new jobs created,” says Johal.

Social support needed, says analyst

“The question is, how do we manage those transitions for people so that they can maintain a foothold in meaningful employment for as much of their career as possible.”

Johal says governments need to provide social support in the form of such things as pensions, reasonable housing and child care to people who lose their jobs and it must retrain them.

Already, about one third of workers in Ontario province do precarious work, says Sunil Johal.

Workers already ‘falling through the cracks’

“Generally speaking, the Canadian governments, both federally and provincially, spend far less on what we call active labour market policies or skills retraining than most other advanced economise. And the private sector in Canada doesn’t fare much better. The private sector is spending far less than they used to 25, 30 years ago in terms of retraining their own workers…

“The danger of falling behind in this is we have workers and individuals who fall through the cracks,” says Johal. “We’re already seeing that in Canada today…If you look at the figures in a province like Ontario, roughly a third of workers are engaged in what we call precarious forms of employment.”

That is they do not have permanent, full-time jobs and may work on a freelance basis for low wages. Johal says that is bad for people and bad for economic growth, and can lead to negative outcomes like growing populism and Brexit.

Categories: Internet, Science and Technology, Society
Tags: , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.