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Yesterday’s Gone: Exploring the future of Canada’s labour market in a post-covid world.

In this report, we explore a broad range of trends with the potential to impact Canada’s labour market over the coming decade—many of which have been accelerated, disrupted, or created by COVID-19

Illustration by: Salini Perera

Illustration by: Salini Perera

Executive Summary

Canada’s economy is adapting to a host of recent changes, from a rapid shift to remote work, to altered global power dynamics, and uneven responses to the climate emergency. The extent of these changes and the level of uncertainty about the future has been amplified by COVID-19. In this environment, it is critical to understand the breadth of potential changes ahead so we can better prepare workers for the future of Canada’s labour market. 

This research, part of our Employment in 2030 initiative, builds on our previous work. Turn and Face the Strange. a report we released in March 2019,  identified 31 broad trends impacting the future of employment. Many of these trends are revisited in Yesterday’s Gone.In some cases, they’ve accelerated. Others have shifted direction or waned in importance in light of COVID-19.

This report is not meant to be a comprehensive overview, a prediction of the future, or a deep analysis of any one trend. It’s meant to spark exploratory thinking about the potential for different trends to interact, and to impact different populations and demographic groups unequally in ways that are not always obvious. We are encouraging our readers to ask: What if? What if the space economy becomes a key area of growth in Canada? What if Indigenous Land Back movements gain significant traction? What if the workaholic culture becomes a thing of the past?

Yesterday’s Gone is the first report of the Employment in 2030: Action Labs project. It will help to inform prototyping of potential adaptations to existing service offerings, or new interventions, aimed at helping workers gain the skills and abilities they need to be resilient in the next decade. Collaboration with six partner organizations and other participants will take place from January – May 2021. 

Read this report to help you:

  • Imagine and explore a broad range of trends with the potential to impact the future of employment in Canada over the coming decade
  • Understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and disrupted pre-existing trends, or generated new trajectories
  • Understand how these trends may interact with one another to impact Canada’s labour market
  • Explore possible future scenarios for work in Canada

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