Robots in the Workplace: What the Future of Automation Means for Canadian Jobs

Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship releases most comprehensive report to date assessing how automation will impact future employment in Canada

TORONTO, June 15, 2016 /CNW/ - Automation is transforming traditional occupations, changing the day-to-day tasks of Canadians, and potentially creating new jobs, states new research from the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) at Ryerson University. The report, released today, entitled The Talented Mr. Robot: The Impact of Automation on Canada's Workforce analyzes automation and how it will directly affect the Canadian labour market over the next 10 to 20 years.

The report indicates that nearly 42 per cent of the Canadian labour force is at a high risk of being affected by automation – the replacement of workers by technology and computerization – in the future. For years, automation has been restricted to routine, manual tasks. The more recent rise of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics means that automation is now entering the realm of cognitive, non-routine tasks and occupations, such as driving and conducting job interviews.

"Our findings show that a significant percentage of Canadian jobs are at a high risk of being replaced by automation over the next 10 to 20 years," said Sean Mullin, Executive Director of BII+E.  "However, we don't believe that all of these jobs will be lost.  Many will be restructured and new jobs will be created as the nature of occupations change due to the impact of technology and computerization."

Jobs that are considered to be at a low risk of automation are linked to high skill levels and higher earnings, such as management and jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which are expected to create many new jobs for Canadians in the coming years.

Report Key Findings:

  • Nearly 42 per cent of the employed Canadian labour force is at a high risk of automation over the next 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 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 at of jobs at high risk of automation over the next 10 to 20 years.

"We hope these findings can help contribute to an important debate about how Canada should prepare for the effects of automation and computerization on our labour force," added Mullin. "The new Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship will be focused on topics like automation as we work towards our vision of making Canada the best place in the world to be an innovator or an entrepreneur."

Also included as part of the report, is an interactive and downloadable tableau visualization for jobs likely to be automated. It portrays every occupation studied as part of the report, segmented by income, current percentage of the Canadian labour force, and probability of automation.

The findings contained within The Talented Mr. Robot: The Impact of Automation on Canada's Workforce are based on methodologies pioneered by Oxford Professors Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne and from management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, and applied to Canadian data for the first time.

The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) is a new independent and nonpartisan institute, housed within Ryerson University, that is dedicated to making Canada the best country in the world to be an innovator or an entrepreneur. BII+E supports this mission in three ways: insightful research and analysis; testing, piloting and prototyping projects; which informs BII+E's leadership and advocacy on behalf of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country. For more information, visit http://brookfieldinstitute.ca.

Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse, and inclusive, the university is home to more than 41,500 students, including 2,400 master's and PhD students, 3,200 faculty and staff, and nearly 170,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past five years. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca.

SOURCE Ryerson University

Image with caption: "Infographic details highlights of The Talented Mr. Robot: The Impact of Automation on Canada's Workforce, a new report by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (CNW Group/Ryerson University)". Image available at: https://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160615_C5066_PHOTO_EN_713451.jpg

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Coralie D'Souza, Director of Communications, Community Relations + Events, Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, Ryerson University, coralie.dsouza@ryerson.ca, Office: 647-390-3178

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