Queen's International Institute on Social Policy

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

2017 QIISP "Inclusive Economy, Inclusive Society: Canadian Social Policy in an age of Disruption" [image]

August 16 - 18, 2017

Conference Agenda
[PDF 1.1MB]   


In recent years, Canada and other OECD countries have experienced multiple disruptions - shifting patterns of global commerce, demographic change, the digital revolution and new security risks.   Many Western countries have also experienced rising income inequality and social polarization, as economic growth has increasingly become decoupled from social outcomes. The consequences are being felt across many OECD countries – social fracturing, political upheaval and a crisis of policy and institutional legitimacy.

Expand for more...

Yet more disruption is on the horizon. Canada and other OECD countries are in the early stages of a new technological revolution driven by the application of artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, nanotechnology and other innovations. This next technological revolution, like its predecessors, has the potential to increase prosperity and quality of life. On the other hand, it could compound the numbers of people feeling economically excluded and trapped in precarious employment. Economic polarization can also trigger cultural polarization, driving deeper wedges between majorities and minorities. Recent political events in other countries suggest this can be an explosive combination. 

So far, Canada has avoided the powerful backlash reshaping politics and policy in many of its peer countries. But the factors that have contributed to upheaval elsewhere exist in Canada as well. It would be dangerous to reassure ourselves that Canada is somehow an exceptional place.

Looking ahead, preserving a confident, inclusive and prosperous Canada will require rethinking twentieth century policy orthodoxy that divorced growth from inclusion and took social cohesion and openness for granted. Inclusive growth is the new imperative, and to achieve inclusive growth, social and economic policies can no longer be conceived and developed in isolation.

QIISP 2017 will drill down into current discontents and future policy responses. It will explore the role of public policy in strengthening an open and inclusive economy and society. It will ask what role economic and social policy can play in advancing shared prosperity and ensuring the benefits of economic growth are widely shared. It will question whether current public policy constructs are adequate in the face of increasing inequality and escalating technological change.  And it will probe the nexus between economic insecurity and cultural backlash. 

The Queen’s Summer Institute will begin by exploring the contemporary socio-economic landscape in Canada and other OECD countries  - the disruptors and the divides that are reshaping the policy and political context. The conference will pay special attention to the impact of the next wave of technological change – on jobs, skills and the nature of work itself.

The main focus of the 2017 Institute will be on the policy implications of these economic and social changes. QIISP will look first at the skills and competences that Canadians will need for the work and workplaces of the future and how these skills will be acquired and refreshed over peoples’ lives. 

Second, the Institute will look at the differential impacts of these changes on different occupations, educational levels, and regions. It will probe how to bridge income gaps, support employment transitions and allow social benefits to be portable and equitable in this new world of work. 

Third, QIISP will look at the impacts of these disruptive changes for different groups of Canadians: for different generations, for men and women, and for people of different ethnic backgrounds.  For example, we know the changing world of work will require multiple transitions, ongoing learning and a new blending of work and living well into typical retirement years. Younger Canadians will be challenged to invest in their skills, secure income and juggle the demands of non-standard work with the demands of raising a family. Older Canadians are most at risk of losing their ‘standard’ jobs and experiencing a permanent decline in income.  The Queen’s Institute will also explore distinctive implications for women and for ethnic minorities.  

QIISP will also probe the cultural divides that have been exposed in many Western societies, and the intersection between economic insecurity and cultural insecurity. It will examine the role of social policies and programs in sustaining, or undermining, public support for immigration, diversity and inclusion. For example, is immigration policy being designed and managed in ways that reassure the public that the process is under control and being conducted in fair and effective ways? Is immigrant integration working and are newcomers able to contribute, and be seen to contribute, to the country economically and socially?   

The final session at QIISP 2017 will draw the threads together and reflect on the attitudes, values and political forces that will shape the future of Canadian public policy responses.  QIISP will look at what Canadians themselves think about the dramatic disruptions that are underway across the economy and society. Do they feel ready or apprehensive? Where do they look for solutions - government, the private sector, their communities, themselves?  What is the link between economic insecurities and cultural insecurities in shaping popular responses to change? How do Canadian attitudes compare to those in other OECD countries? Is Canada in danger of the backlash politics we see elsewhere? 



Expand to view a list of the presentations from the 2017 Queen's International Institute on Social Policy

Keynote Address

Session 1


Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Session 7


The School of Policy Studies at Queen's University gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors:

Employment and Social Development Canada
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Ministry of Community and Social Services, Ontario
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario
Ministry of Finance, Ontario
Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Ontario
Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration,, Ontario
City of Toronto
Region of Peel