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Digital Policy Salon: Forecasting Labour Market Futures

Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Forecasting Labour Market Futures
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #49 • View online
Welcome to the 49th issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing.
We are proud to feature our flagship labour market study Digital Talent Outlook 2025 in this week’s issue. This report provides a macroeconomic outlook for Canada’s digital economy, while focusing on the jobs that will be created in six key sub-sectors, such as clean technology. Our policy updates feature other labour market-related updates from KPMG and Statistics Canada, as well as opportunities to submit to Government of Canada consultations on jobs, media, and climate policy.
Our perspective piece highlights the growing field of “Green AI” research, which investigates ways to make AI more sustainable and equitable. In “what we’re reading,” we feature the winning essay from a competition for youth to express their experiences in a hyper-online world. Last, but not least, we have two special events for you: an upcoming virtual panel on remote work, worker reskilling, and worker’s rights in digital employment, and a smart cities engagement session for our readers in Saskatchewan. We look forward to joining you on Zoom or in our next issue.
- Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)

Policy Updates 🇨🇦
KPMG publishes new labour market poll
KPMG published the results of its Business Outlook Poll on Tuesday, finding that 79% of businesses say they need more workers with digital skills. Further, 68% are having a hard time hiring people with the skills they need. Cyber/information security and data analytics/analysis were ranked as the top skills. Regarding skills acquisition, 52% of surveyed businesses say they will consider recruiting outside of Canada, and 89% say they are investing in developing their workforce’s skillsets internally.
Statistics Canada releases multi-year plan for research, modeling, and data development
Statistics Canada released its multi-year plan for research in August and is inviting users to provide feedback. In addition to disaggregating data to enable diversity and inclusion research; expanding core socio-economic indicators; and exploring predictive analytics (e.g., AI, ML), the agency plans to:
  • Study the impact of digitization, telework, and robot adoption on labour and the economy
  • Estimate the frequency and benefits of two skills strategies: “fine tuning” and “reskilling”
  • Improve measurements of the gig economy in Canada
  • Expand measures of intangible capital to include the value of data and databases
  • Study the role of patents, sustainability initiatives, and clean tech in firm growth and dynamics
Canada, US court decisions highlight ongoing tensions in gig economy
A California county judge recently struck down ballot measure, Proposition 22 for being unconstitutional. Passed in November 2022, Proposition 22 exempted app-based ride-share and delivery companies from a California state law requiring them to classify their drivers as employees and provide benefits and job protections.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently certified a $400 million class action lawsuit which argues that “Uber couriers meet the definition of employees under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, and should be entitled to minimum wage, vacation pay and other protections.”
Various digital economy consultations closing in September, October
Seven public consultations currently underway at the federal government are directly related to the digital economy, and many are closing soon. While the Action Plan on Open Government consultation closed Tuesday, many others are closing in September and October: Copyright for AI and IoT, Building a Better EI Program, Revenue Sharing Between Digital Platforms and News Media, Addressing Harmful Content Online, Border Carbon Adjustments, and Supporting Regulatory Agility for Medical Device.
Our Perspective
Greening AI: Rebooting the environmental harms of machine learning
Special Events
Preparing for a Dynamic World of Work: The Future of Work is Now
Regina Smart Cities Community Event
What We're Reading
Reflection: Embracing My Undulating Image
Research Visualized
Payroll Employment in Canada, January 2000 – May 2021. Source: Statistics Canada
Payroll Employment in Canada, January 2000 – May 2021. Source: Statistics Canada
The figure above shows seasonally adjusted employment in Canada from 2000 onwards. The COVID period (Feb 2020 onwards) is marked in grey. The employment shocks brought about by the first, and to a lesser extent the second and third waves, are clearly visible. For comparison, note the relatively small size of the employment shock that occurred in 2008-10. The snapback in employment after the first wave and relatively fewer losses in the second and third wave point to fewer restrictions in the latter and to an increased ability for those who can work remotely to do so. However, there still remains a sizable employment gap compared to pre-pandemic levels. As of May 2021, employment was still 2.9% below the pre-pandemic level, on a seasonally adjusted basis. 
Our Research
Onwards and Upwards: Digital Talent Outlook 2025
Twitter Highlights
Calgary Economic Dev
Curious who is hiring in Calgary #tech? Meet the city’s leading innovation companies; join us on September 23 for the Live Tech Love Life Career Fair. Registration now open ➤ #livetechlovelife #yyctech #yycjobs #neweconomy
A new report from @cvca found that VC investment in Canada this year has already eclipsed all previous years.
Talk to Us 💬
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