Canada’s Indigenous workers are disportionately at risk of losing their jobs to automation, a new report from Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute has found.
The report, put together with researchers at the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), found that 33.8 per cent of Indigenous workers are part of industries that are at high risk of losing paid jobs to automation.
The study rounded up the top five industries prone to losing human jobs to automated machines — accommodation and food services; retail trade; construction; transportation and warehousing; and management, administration and other services. It found that those industries employed about 131,000 Indigenous peoples. Across more industries, the study concluded that 250,000 jobs held by Indigenous workers are at a high risk for automation — that accounts for one third of all Indigenous workers in Canada.
On June 29, Statistics Canada published a report on increasing automation during the COVID-19 pandemic. It found that after many companies were forced to shut down offices and move workplaces into people’s homes, the need to minimize physical contact motivated many employers to increasingly rely on technology rather than people.
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While Statistics Canada said the effects of increasing automation aren’t completely clear as of now, it found that office jobs are bound to face a higher degree of automation than other sectors.
This is a big change from before the pandemic, when the risk of automation was mostly associated with workers in the trades or service jobs, Statistics Canada said in the report.
“Professional occupations,” like those in the law or government services, face almost no risk of automation.
The CCAB, which is behind the study on Indigenous workers, found that while many studies had been put together on the increasing threat of automation in Canada workplaces,...