The risk of job loss due to automation in the work place could be around the corner in Saskatchewan according to one policy research company.
A report from C.D. Howe Institute puts the province among the highest at risk for job loss as automation becomes more common. A key factor is Saskatchewan’s dependence on natural resources, like potash, and workers falling behind on technology.
Report author Rosalie Wyonch said she looked at the long-term viability.
“Really the goal of my research is to point out to governments the sort of priorities that they should work on,” she said. “So that as this transition happens we actually don’t see a disruption.”
One of the factors considered in the report, Risk and Readiness: The Impact of Automation on Provincial Labour Markets, is automation that is already happening.
This includes self-checkouts at retail stores and accounting programs that could replace lower level clerks.
“In the event that these jobs are automated, are there other jobs that are slightly less likely to be automated at similar skill levels that those people can move into?” Wyonch researched for the report.
“If there’s not, then there is the potential that they could be unemployed for some time.”
Because the report is looking at the long-term picture, Wyonch believes there is time to act.
New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador are at the same level of risk as Saskatchewan, while the report shows Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta workers are the least likely to lose their jobs to technology.