The full research report, Better, Faster, Stronger: Maximizing the benefits of automation for Ontario’s firms and people, launched Thursday morning on the Brookfield Institute website.

The Robot Talks workshop facilitators visited over 36 communities, hearing directly from over 300 stakeholders and participants over four months. These talks deepened their understanding of how automation is playing out in different parts of the province, how it is perceived, and what forms of support may be needed to help workers adjust. The engagement summary written by Leah Birnbaum and Jane Farrow summarizes many of the insights received, including the following key points:

There is broad mix of reactions to automation – some Ontarians are optimistic, some are anxious, and some are unsure. These reactions range significantly across sectors and geographies, showing the need for responses designed to fit the realities of specific regions, sectors and individuals.

Ontario workers want to be involved in the planning process. A collaborative approach to change management between employers and employees will maximize the effectiveness of technological change in the workplace.

Training plays a central role in supporting Ontario workers to adapt, but it needs to be tailored and responsive to both employer and worker needs. Training consortiums and other models that allow for collaboration among employers, post-secondary institutions or other training organizations, and in some cases unions, can foster the development of training programs that fill talent needs within a specific industry and region, and that enable workers to keep pace with changing skill demands.

Ontarians want more information on automation and its impacts. There appears to be broad interest in engaging in further conversations with government and across sectors about the implications of automation.