40% of the Canadian workforce is at risk of being replaced by technology in the next two decades*


Mission Statement

The Future of Work

The nature of work and the dynamics of the labour market are changing at such a dramatic rate that many experts believe we may be in the midst of a new industrial revolution.

In this current revolution - often called Industry 4.0 - digitization, artificial intelligence, big data, automation, and the rise of disruptive communication technologies are dramatically changing the workplace landscape.

A McKinsey study in 2017 predicts that 375 million workers globally (14% of the workforce) will likely need to transition to new occupational categories and learn new skills in the event of rapid automation adoption.


The Problem

While significant effort has been made to understand how these changes impact the productivity outputs of the economy, much less is known empirically about the way in which these changes affect workers and their families, or how governments and educational institutions need to adapt to prepare people to succeed in the new world of work.

Furthermore, researchers have not yet started talking to each other in a systemic way in order to comprehensively examine the phenomenon.


Our Solution

These factors call for action in the form of evidenced-based interventions that can support workers and their families in the future. We aim to give governments, industry and other organizations the tools they need to anticipate and prepare for the disruptions that will occur as technology changes labour demands, and as the types of skills that are needed to be successful shift. 



While some international institutions are exploring these issues, they are generally concerned with economic impacts or with the technology itself. We, however, are particularly interested in how global forces are transforming education and skills development over the life course, and what policy responses are appropriate. Our project explores these global changes with a particular lens on implications for the Canadian economy and society.



Our team of academics use state-of-the-art research methods. Our studies use quantitative research methods such as randomized control trials and quasi-experimental methods such as regression discontinuity, propensity matching, and instrumental variables. Qualitative methods such as ethnography, focus groups, interviews, case studies, and participant observation are also used to analyze the research questions of interest.



The key to our project is collaboration: our goal is to bring together high-quality researchers from a number of disciplines and industries to assemble the data needed to make informed policy recommendations.  

* Source: Brookfield Institute



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