• COVID,  Future of Work,  Research,  Trade Unions

    The Future of Working from Home

    The historic expansion of remote and home work during the first stages of the COVID pandemic was both extraordinary and vitally important in helping families, and the economy, through the challenges of that crisis. Some two-thirds of employed Canadians worked totally or mostly from home at some point during the pandemic. Remote work was essential to preserving incomes, maintaining economic activity, and providing essential services at a time when face-to-face encounters were potentially deadly.

  • Commentary,  Future of Work,  Technology,  Time & Working Hours,  Uncategorized

    Ontario’s ‘Right-to-Disconnect’ is no Such Thing

    The Ford government in Ontario, portraying itself as being on “the side of workers,” recently passed legislation setting out certain requirements for some businesses in the province regarding expectations of workers’ availability outside of normal working hours. This legislation has been widely, but very inaccurately, reported as a “right to disconnect.” Some coverage has even fawned that Ontario is now the first jurisdiction in North America to protect this right. This claim is transparently false – and individuals who (wrongly) believe that such a right exists might take actions (such as refusing instructions from their employer) that could jeopardize their employment. The Ontario law simply requires that firms with over…

  • Employment & Unemployment,  Future of Work,  Research,  Technology

    Canadian Workers Need More Technology, Not Less

    There is little evidence that robots and other advanced technologies are displacing workers and causing technological unemployment in Canada. To the contrary, Canada’s adoption of new technology has surprisingly slowed down in recent years. That is the conclusion of a major new report on innovation and automation in Canada’s economy, from the Centre for Future Work. The report, titled Where are the Robots?, reviews nine empirical indicators of Canadian innovation, technology adoption, and robotization. They paint a worrisome picture that Canadian businesses have dramatically reduced their innovation effort since the turn of the century, and are lagging well behind other industrial countries in putting new technology to work in the…

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Future of Work

    Changing Work, for Good, After COVID

    As Canada enters the fifth wave of COVID contagion and restrictions, with new infections reaching the highest levels yet, we need to consider again how the pandemic must change our approach to valuing work, and protecting workers, on a permanent basis. In this keynote speech to the recent annual conference of the Parkland Institute in Alberta, Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford discusses the labour policy lessons learned during the first waves of the pandemic – and why it’s vital to make permanent changes to crucial aspects of our labour market (including sick pay, protections for workers in precarious jobs, and genuine improvements in workplace health and safety). The…

  • Commentary,  Future of Work,  Technology

    Busting Myths about Technology and the Future of Work

    We are constantly told that ‘technology’ is driving profound changes in work, workplaces and society. We might be concerned about the impacts of some of those changes, but since they are the result of ‘technology,’ and everyone since the Luddites knows you can’t stop technology, there is no point trying to resist or ameliorate those changes. But what is ‘technology’, anyway? We don’t live in the world of Terminator, where machines control society (not yet, anyway!). Technology is just a shorthand way of referring to the composite of human knowledge about how we work, what we produce, and the tools we use to produce it. Human beings, not some irresistible exogenous…

  • COVID,  Future of Work,  Gig Economy

    Centre for Future Work Submission to Ontario Future of Work Consultation

    All provinces in Canada are still grappling with the economic and employment effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession. Ontario’s labour market was among the worst-impacted in Canada by the pandemic. And these immediate challenges are layered on top of longer-run issues related to the future of work: including technology, demographic changes, new business models, and others. In this context, the Ontario government recently launched a hastily-organized public consultation on the Future of Work, overseen by a 7-person ‘Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee’. The consultation is unusual for several reasons, including the non-representative composition of the committee itself (there are no committee members representing union, worker, or equality-seeking organisations), the…

  • Commentary,  Future of Work,  PowerShare,  Trade Unions

    Our Times Feature Article on PowerShare Voice Report

    The Spring 2021 edition of the Canadian labour magazine Our Times features a cover article on workers’ voice: how Canadian workers can express their concerns, and win meaningful change, in their workplaces. The article is based on the recent Centre for Future Work report, Speaking Out, Being Heard, Making Change: The Theory and Practice of Workers’ Voice in Canada, by Jim Stanford and Daniel Poon. That report was published earlier this year as part of our PowerShare project. With the kind permission of Our Times, we are reposting the feature article here. Please see the 5-page article, which is a useful resource for union educationals, train-the-trainer sessions, and other uses:…

  • Commentary,  Future of Work,  PowerShare,  Trade Unions

    Media & Video Coverage of New Report on Workers’ Voice

    The Centre for Future Work recently released a major report on the theory and practice of “workers’ voice,” as part of its ongoing PowerShare project. The report is titled Speaking Up, Being Heard, Making Change: The Theory and Practice of Worker Voice in Canada Today, was co-authored by Jim Stanford and Daniel Poon. The full report is available here. The report was launched with a special 50-minute webinar featuring presentations by: Shannon Daub, B.C. Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Co-authors Jim Stanford and Daniel Poon Christine Maclin, Director of Human Rights for Unifor, speaking on that union’s new Racial Justice Advocate program Pamela Charron, with the Worker…

  • Future of Work,  PowerShare,  Research,  Trade Unions

    Strengthening Workers’ Voice in the Future of Work

    The Centre for Future Work has published a major new report on the economic and social benefits of workers’ voice. There is abundant evidence that jobs are better when workers can provide input, express opinions, and influence change in their workplaces. Providing workers with regular, safe channels of “voice” increases their personal motivation and job satisfaction. It benefits their employer, too, through reduced turnover, enhanced productivity, and better information flows. And it contributes to a range of positive economic and social outcomes: from stronger productivity growth, to less inequality, to improved health. Given the dramatic changes occurring in Canadian workplaces (including automation, digital employment platforms, climate change, and pandemics), the…

  • Commentary,  Employment & Unemployment,  Future of Work

    Video Presentation on Building Better Jobs After COVID

    Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford recently participated in the Cannexus21 conference, hosted by CERIC (a non-profit organization that promotes career counselling and career development in Canada). His topic was how to create better jobs, and a stronger labour market, after the COVID pandemic and its catastrophic impacts on workers – especially workers in low-wage, insecure jobs. The presentation updates material from our earlier paper, 10 Ways the COVID Pandemic Must Change Work for Good, published through our PowerShare project. Here is a link to his 30-minute presentation, followed by a few questions from the audience. https://youtu.be/hb_Sa51OSic We are grateful to CEIC and Cannexus for the opportunity to participate…