Queen's International Institute on Social Policy

Queen's International Institute on Social Policy
Queen's International Institute on Social Policy

2018 Queen's International Institute - The Future of Work: What do we do? [Image] 

August 15 - 17, 2018

Ban Righ Hall, Queen's University
10 Bader Lane, Kingston, ON


Expand to view a list of the presentations from the 2018 Queen's International Institute on Social Policy

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

​​​Session 7



Are Canadians ready for the work of the future? Is Canadian social policy? New technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and nanotechnology are rapidly altering the skills composition of jobs, prospects for different occupations and the very nature of work itself.  The contours of the future of work are beginning to emerge.  The federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth estimates that by 2030 technological change will displace nearly a quarter of the tasks currently performed by Canadian workers, and that over 10% of workers will lose their jobs (Learning Nation, December 2017).

Expand for more...

Knowledge workers and professionals will not be immune from the transformative impact of these technologies.  But the occupations most at risk are likely those involving routine activities — jobs usually held by relatively low-skilled and low-paid workers. For many, the place and nature of work will also likely change, with the prospect of less job security, lower wages, and less predictable work. On the other hand, some occupations and industries are likely to grow – especially those that engage higher-order cognitive skills, interpersonal skills and comfort with technology. Across the board, one thing is certain -- change will be ubiquitous, putting a premium on all individuals’ adaptability, resilience and ability to reskill across the life course.

QIISP 2018 does not attempt to predict the precise future of the labour market; the direction of change is clear. Rather QIISP asks whether our social policies are nimble enough for an uncertain future, whether incremental change will suffice or whether radical rethinking is in order. QIISP will ask what Canadians need to do to get ready for the future of work.

In recent decades, social policy thinking has placed a lot of faith in learning systems – from early childhood development through postsecondary education and adult retraining. How do we prepare young people for a new world of work? How can we facilitate learning, reskilling and adaptability for working adults?  Do our current approaches need to be rethought?  The Advisory Council doubles down on this strategy, calling for a major investment in adult skills development.

How do we help those at risk of being left behind? The data on efforts to retrain older workers displaced in recent decades are not reassuring. We face the prospect that there will be casualties who cannot be easily retrained for the work of the future. Rapid technological change may also increase the ranks of precarious workers, raising questions about policies relating to the regulation of employment standards and business practices, minimum wages and benefits, and income support.

Finally, will the impact of technological change on jobs, wages, and the workplace deepen social faultlines? Which groups are likely to be most at risk and which ones more likely to thrive?  What are the implications for women and men, racialized and immigrant Canadians, people with disabilities, and different age groups?  Will new business practices and employment patterns – for example the ‘gig economy’ - reduce everyday social interaction and weaken the ties that bind us together? Will Canadian’s sense of social cohesion be challenged?

QIISP 2018 tackles these questions. The conference opens with the broad context, setting the Canadian pattern in an international context and examining what other countries are doing.  The next three sessions examine the key policy tools: a) education; b) the postsecondary sector and worker reskilling; and c) mechanisms for social protection including employment policies and income support. The fifth session examines the implications for different social groups -- men and women, immigrants and racialized minorities, people with disabilities, and older workers. The sixth session features a roundtable with leaders from business, labour, education, and the community sectors addressing the question: who needs to do what?  And the final sessions asks how politics will shape our collective response to these challenges?

Expand to view the agenda for this year's conference. 


Ban Righ Hall, 10 Bader Lane, Kingston, ON

5:30 PM   Keynote and Opening Reception 

Keynote Speaker:
Gabriela Ramos
, Chief of Staff and G20 Sherpa, OECD (France)

"The Future of Work: Preparing for a Digital Future"

Ban Righ Hall, 10 Bader Lane, Kingston, ON

7:15 - 8:30   Breakfast and Registration

8:30 - 8:45   Welcoming Remarks

8:45 - 10:30   Session 1  "The Future of Work: International Trends"

Moderator: Louise Levonian, Deputy Minister, Employment and Social Development Canada

Stijn Broecke, Senior Economist, OECD (France)
Susan Houseman, Vice-President and Director of Research, W.E. Upjohn Institute (USA)
Werner Eichhorst, Coordinator of Labor Market and Social Policy, IZA Institute of Labor Economics (Germany)

10:30 - 11:00   Break

11:00 - 12:30   Session 2  "Learning for the 2030s: What Do We Do?"

Moderator: David Lindsay, President and CEO, Council of Ontario Universities

Eliza Easton, Principal Policy Researcher, Creative Economy  and Data Analytics, Nesta (UK)
Harvey Weingarten, President and CEO, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (Canada)

12:30 - 1:30   Lunch

1:30 - 3:00   Session 3  ​"Up-skilling and Re-skilling: What Do We Do?"

Moderator: Erin McGinn, Assistant Deputy Minister, Workforce Policy and Innovation Division, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Ontario

Max Palamar, Director, Analytics and Evaluation, Blueprint ADE (Canada)
Sarah Doyle, Director of Policy + Research, Brookfield Institute
Ethan Pollack, Associate Director for Research and Policy, The Future of Work Initiative, The Aspen Institute (USA)

3:00 - 3:30   Break

3:30 - 5:00   Session 4  "Future of Work and Social Protection: What Do We Do?"

Moderator: Janet Menard, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, Ontario

Jacqueline O'Reilly, Professor of Comparative Human Resource Management, University of Sussex Business School (UK)
Valerio De Stefano, Institute for Labour Law/Faculty of Law, University of Leuven (Belgium)
Miles Corak, Professor and Senior Scholar, James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center of Socio-Economic Inequality, City University of New York (USA)

6:30 PM   Reception
Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, 390 King Street West, Kingston, ON

7:00 PM  Banquet

Keynote speaker:
Darrell West
, Vice-President, and Founding Director, Center for Technology and Innovation, Brookings Institution

"The Future of Work: Robots, AI and Automation"

Introduction: John Knubley, Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

** Bus transportation will be provided.

Ban Righ Hall, 10 Bader Lane, Kingston, ON

7:30 - 8:30   Breakfast

8:30 - 10:00   Session 5  "The Future of Work and Social Cohesion"

Moderator: Janice Sheehy, Commissioner of Human Services, Region of Peel

Kristyn Frank, Senior Research Analyst, Social Analysis and Modelling, Statistics Canada
Sarah Box, Counsellor, The Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, OECD (France)
Parisa Mahboubi, Senior Policy Analyst, CD Howe Institute (Canada)

10 - 10:30   Break

10:30 - 12:00   Session 6 "Armchair Discussion: Preparing Canadians for the Future of Work: Who Needs to Do What?"

Moderator: John Stackhouse, Senior Vice-President, Office of the CEO, Royal Bank of Canada

Vass Bednar, Senior Policy Associate, Airbnb; Chair, Expert Panel Youth Employment (Canada)
Catherine Chandler-Crichlow, President and Chief Human Capital Officer, 3C Workforce Solutions; Chair, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (Canada)
Zabeen Hirji, Global Advisor Future of work, Deloitte and former Chief Human Resources Officer, RBC (Canada)
Alan Shepard, President and Vice-Chancellor, Concordia University (Canada)

12:00 - 1:00   Lunch

1:00 - 2:30   Session 7  "The Future of Work: Public Attitudes and Political Risks"

Moderator:  Marta Morgan, Deputy Minister, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Aaron Smith, Associate Director, Internet and Technology, Pew Research Center (USA)
Mike Colledge, President, Ipsos Public Affairs Canada

2:30 - 2:45   Closing Remarks

2018 Sponsors:

2018 Sponsors; Canada: Region of Peel; City of Toronto [image]

Employment and Social Development Canada
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada