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Turn and face the strange: Changes impacting the future of employment in Canada

Most contemporary conversations about the future of employment tend to focus on technological trends. However, in order to support forward-facing planning and avoid blind spots, it is critical to understand a range of trends, with various levels of maturity, and how they might interact over time. This report outlines 31 broad trends that could impact the future of Canada’s labour market over the next 10-15 years. These trends have the potential to influence future skills demand in either positive or negative ways – and sometimes both. This report is not a prediction of the future or a deep analysis of any one trend, but instead reveals a complex picture. It aims to spark exploratory and imaginative thinking, and push readers to ask themselves ‘what if?’ What if Canada sees a rise in wildfires, floods and mudslides? What if cases of mental health issues associated with technology use continue to multiply? What if artificial intelligence (AI) becomes capable of performing creative tasks? This report explores 31 broad trends such as these, while imagining the possible implications for Canada and its labour market in the year 2030 and beyond. The goal of this report is to challenge leaders from all sectors – including policymakers, educators and employers – to cast their net wide when considering multiple trends, from the weaker signals of change to those that are in the limelight. This also includes contemplating the potential for different trends to interact in ways that are not always so obvious.