Automation replacing jobs is inevitable, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But, instead of trying to ignore advancements, governments should help educate and train citizens to help them find sustainable careers.
"We know that the job market is changing, and instead of resisting in vain, we're focused on funding research and innovation, like in AI and quantum computing, that'll help lead the change here in Canada," Trudeau wrote on Quora. "And while we do that, we're preparing Canadians to find good jobs through investments in education and training.
Quora is a question-and-answer site founded by former Facebook Chief Technology Officer Adam D'Angelo and ex-Facebook engineer and manager Charlie Cheever. Trudeau was responding to a question on the site asking, "What should governments do to prepare for the technological automation of human jobs?"
Canada's budget this year includes more grants and interest-free loans for students, in addition to investing in 13,000 "work-integrated placements" for students, Trudeau said. It is also proposing an "Innovation and Skills Plan," which is focused on growing its middle-class economy, Trudeau explained. Citizens who are part of the Employment Insurance program will be able to keep their status if they are pursuing self-funded training. The current proposal provides 132.4 million Canadian dollars ($98.7 million) over four years for the program beginning in 2018, and CA$37.9 million per year each year after.
"For unemployed workers receiving EI, this will mean that they can return to school to get the training they need to find a new job — without fear of losing the EI benefits they need to support themselves and their families," he wrote. "This will provide greater security to Canadian families at a time when they need help most."