Preparing for the Future of Work in Canada

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COVID-19 has led to a labour market shock in Canada and is likely to generate a profound reflection on production and consumption habits. COVID‑19 is also likely to accelerate automation as firms look to new technologies to pandemic proof their operations. While automation offers the opportunity to boost productivity, it can also create losers as vulnerable workers who lose jobs may not have the skills needed in a changing labour market. This OECD report examines the potential impacts of automation on people and places across Canada with a special focus on the Province of Ontario. It also sheds light on policies and programmes that can help regions and cities to prepare for the future of work.



Job polarisation and changing skills needs at the local level in Canada

Job markets are becoming increasingly polarised across the OECD as the employment share of middle-skill jobs has decreased, replaced by increases in the shares of either low or high-skill jobs. Communities in Canada are experiencing different job polarisation transitions, but the majority of regions are clearly shifting towards high-skill jobs. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, labour and skills shortages had been identified as significant labour market challenges in Canada. The ongoing crisis risks exacerbating these gaps, as workers across industries will have to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and firms will have to learn how to match workers to new roles and activities. The pandemic is also making worker access to training and skills development and the use of skills in the workplace more important than ever. This chapter analyses how the demand and supply of skills is changing at the local level across Canada, with a special focus on the Province of Ontario.



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