Workers Need More Technology, Not Less

Photo Credit: The Centre for Future Work

Dr. Jim Stanford and the Centre for Future Work have launched a major new report, Where are the Robots? The Surprising Deceleration of Technology in Canadian Workplaces.

At a time where millions of Canadian workers are experiencing job insecurity and stagnation in wages, it is no wonder that many view the advancement of automation and technology in the workplace as a threat to their livelihoods.

However, as Dr. Stanford writes in Where are the Robots?, there is little evidence to suggest that robots and other advanced technologies are displacing workers and causing technological unemployment in Canada. When compared with other industrial countries, investment in automation by Canadian businesses has slowed down so dramatically in the past two decades that the supposed impact of robots and automation on jobs have simply not materialized.

He finds that technology itself is neither inherently useful nor destructive – it depends entirely on the context in which new technologies are developed and implemented, and who has a say in decision-making processes. By digging deeper into Canada’s labour market, Dr. Stanford asserts that the shift in the economic and institutional balance of power in our economy – not an acceleration of technology – is to blame for the job insecurity and low wages that so many workers experience.

Reviewing nine indicators of Canadian innovation, technology adoption, and robotization, the report  offers an in-depth look and proposes policy recommendations to improve innovation and technology adoption in Canada. They include:

  • reforming fiscal incentives;
  • expanding publicly-funded research and development; 
  • nurturing industries that use more robots and machinery; and 
  • giving workers more say in how technological change is implemented in workplaces. 

 Read the full report here.