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Canada’s success hinges on navigating net zero and AI

By Adam Freill   

Construction Leadership Skills Development

Deloitte Canada report suggests 80 per cent of Canadian leaders believe the country's prosperity hinges on effectively addressing global disruptions.

Global disruption in 4D: Exploring intersecting forces impacting Canada’s Future. (CNW Group/Deloitte Canada)

The race to net-zero, AI revolution, talent transformation and geopolitical uncertainty will be factors in Canada’s ability to thrive, says Deloitte’s Future of Canada Centre (FCC). The FCC’s latest report, Global disruption in 4D: Exploring intersecting forces impacting Canada’s future, looks not only at these four major disruptions, but at their intersections, and the opportunities and challenges they pose for Canada.

The study suggests that capitalizing on the immense opportunity of AI first requires equipping workers with the skills to use it effectively. According to the study’s research, 48 per cent of Canadian business leaders feel their employees are not prepared or are barely prepared to use AI, while only five per cent say their workers are “very prepared.”

The race for AI sovereignty and leadership is heating up, says the FCC, and while Canada is vying to lead globally in the AI economy, it risks falling behind when it comes to influencing global standards and using AI to improve the country’s productivity.

“The imperative to act is massive,” stated Jas Jaaj, managing partner of AI and data at Deloitte Canada. “There is not a country out there that isn’t doubling down on AI strategy, making significant investments, and moving down the path of execution. We have a golden opportunity to educate, invest, and close the productivity gap we have been grappling with for years.”


The report also looks at the intersection between the race to net-zero and geopolitical uncertainty, as well as further challenges facing Canada’s workforce in the context of the net-zero transition.

For example, making progress on net-zero emissions goals means also being aware of the potential for geopolitical conflict to rupture the supply chains that bring in the goods critical to the energy transition. The report cites that 64 per cent of businesses have had their abilities to operate impacted by supply chain disruptions.

Equally, reaching Canada’s net-zero goals will require equipping the workforce with the skills they need, while ensuring everyone is able to benefit from the opportunities of a net-zero future. Among Canadian business leaders, 62 per cent face a persistent and long-term shortage of skills amongst existing employees.

“We have a calling to serve Canadians and a duty to drive positive change for Canada,” said Anthony Viel, CEO of Deloitte Canada and Chile. “To build a better future, we must embrace these disruptions collectively, steer our organisations and enable our leaders to anticipate trends and stay ahead of the competition. This calls for systems-level thinking, collaboration, innovative approaches, and most of all action.”

The report provides actionable recommendations to businesses and governments to address the disruptions and their impacts on Canada. Among them include the need to stem localized brain drain of Canada’s considerable AI talent, to adopt Canadian inspired and built AI technology, and to implement a comprehensive net-zero workforce strategy.

While raising some alarms, the research also indicated that Canada is well-placed to lead and thrive amid these disruptions, with one of the most highly educated workforces of the G7 nations and having the tools to secure a critical spot on the global supply chain for both AI and net-zero resources.

“We have everything we need to navigate these intersections, from a diverse talent pool to abundant natural resources to a world-leading AI ecosystem,” explained Viel. “Now, our leaders need the courage and foresight to use these strengths to advance our country in the right direction—and to not only withstand but also flourish in an era of perpetual change.”

To read more about the intersecting global disruptions impacting Canada and how businesses and governments can address them, download the full report here.




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