Chairs’ summary: G7 ministerial meeting on Preparing for jobs of the future

PDF version

Under Canada’s 2018 G7 Presidency, the G7 Ministers of Employment and Innovation convened in Montréal on March 27-28, 2018, under the overarching theme of Preparing for jobs of the future. Globalization and emerging technologies are compelling G7 members to understand how the changing economy is impacting industries and workers and how governments can support all of their citizens to adapt and thrive in the new world of work. Discussions emphasized the fundamental shifts in our economy and labour market that these changes represent.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment were a key underlying theme of this Ministerial meeting. As persistent gender inequalities in society remain, G7 Ministers stressed the importance of closing the gender gap by encouraging and supporting more women to study and pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics; boosting women’s participation in the labour market, particularly in leadership roles; and recognizing equality of rights and opportunities for women and men. G7 Ministers further highlighted the importance of integrating gender analysis into government programming and budgeting, and of setting metrics, tracking results and having the right tools to meet the goal of gender empowerment.

As innovations drive our capacity for global growth and prosperity, the nature of work and the requirements for skills are also changing. Our countries are poised to become more productive and competitive, in order to shape a better future for our citizens.

Employment and Innovation Ministers jointly exchanged approaches on preparing for jobs of the future. G7 countries have a key role to play in supporting all segments of their diverse workforce to adapt and transition to the new economy, while meeting industry’s demand for skilled workers. By fostering collaboration with the private sector, labour organizations and educational institutions, Ministers will lay the building blocks for growth that includes everyone.

Employment Discussion

Building on the G7 Labour and Employment Ministers’ pledge for enhanced cooperation on the issue of the future of work during the 2017 G7 Italian Presidency, Employment Ministers focused their discussions on furthering their understanding of opportunities and challenges of the new economy in G7 countries and the impacts of technological change on different sectors, regions and populations. Employment Ministers discussed the importance of investing in digital literacy, foundational and social skills; as well as adaptable social protection systems to support those in non-standard forms of work.

Employment Ministers agreed to foster a dialogue among governments, social partners, private sector, and educational institutions to identify proactive measures to support workers through adaptation and transition to the jobs of the future and to foster good quality work environments, including within the digital platform economy.

Employment Ministers recognized that benefits of growth generated from innovation are not shared equally. Removing barriers to labour force participation for underrepresented groups and increasing access to quality jobs, must remain a focus by putting in place policies where everyone has a chance to succeed. Other measures to increase labour force participation should be considered, such as apprenticeship and training opportunities and adult upskilling programs. Additionally, pay equity is key to this goal and in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Employment Ministers agreed to promote discussions on tools to address violence and harassment in the workplace, in order to create safe workspaces and work with stakeholders on gender equality to develop and promote policies that prevent violence and harassment, respond effectively, and support those affected. In addition, G7 Employment Ministers established a time-limited Employment Task Force to further our understanding of these issues and provide recommendations, including sharing best practices and possible policy approaches on issues such as how governments can adjust labour market programs, modernise labour standards and social protection systems. The Task Force will include participation from international organizations, labour organizations, business and subject-matter experts, including in the area of gender equality, and be supported by a digital Future of Work Forum, which was launched during the Ministerial meeting. Canada will host the first meeting of the Task Force in 2018 under its Presidency.

Canada announced the creation of up to 500 student work placements in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) over three years and will explore future opportunities for collaboration with other G7 countries on work-integrated learning strategies and programs.

A full description of the Employment Ministerial outcomes is under Annex A.

Innovation Discussion

Building on the outcomes of the 2017 Italian ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and Industry Ministers’ Meeting on the Next Production Revolution in Torino, Italy the G7 Innovation Ministers turned their attention to the impact of transformative technologies on the economy and society. They discussed what policymakers can do to improve firm competitiveness, stimulate innovation and remove barriers to labour force participation, including for women, so that all members of society can benefit from transformative technologies.

Innovation Ministers focused their discussions on recent advances in areas such as robotics, AI, big data analytics, blockchain and clean technologies, and their potential to significantly improve our standard of living. They reaffirmed their commitment to supporting innovation and the importance of partnering with the private sector to ensure its benefits are enjoyed by all, including women and underrepresented groups. Ministers further agreed on the importance of appropriate and sensible business policies and efficient regulatory environments.

Innovation Ministers expressed a vision of human-centric artificial intelligence, which presents enormous opportunities to positively impact all G7 countries’ efforts to stimulate inclusive and sustainable growth and remove barriers to labour force participation, including in key areas such as health, economics, security and governance (See Annex B). Ministers noted the importance of government policy in stimulating innovation (See Annex C) through investing in collaborative innovation ecosystems; improving access to capital and adoption of technology for SMEs; supporting significant investments in R&D; enabling firms to tap into global talent pools; streamlining government programs; developing online platforms to support entrepreneurship; using government procurement to foster Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) innovation; refocusing investment in science, research and technology; promoting cyber-resiliency in value chains (particularly among MSMEs); and, especially, labour force training and skills development.

To advance their shared understanding of how best to seize the opportunities presented by AI, G7 Innovation Ministers decided to convene a multi-stakeholder conference on AI, to be hosted by Canada in the fall of 2018. Canada will strike a time-limited working-group to advance the efforts and objectives of the AI statement and prepare for the conference. This conference will bring together stakeholders including government, academics, specialists, and private sector partners to discuss future economic, legal, social, and ethical issues relating to the development and deployment of AI and how to harness the potential of this transformative technology to break down barriers to labour force participation. Further, recognizing that opportunities presented by AI demand a multi-stakeholder approach, Innovation Ministers endorsed multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration on AI.

Employment and Innovation Ministers also recognized the importance of social dialogue, appreciated the input of key stakeholders to their discussions, and were grateful to the OECD and the ILO for their collaboration and support of our work. Finally, Ministers look forward to the French government assuming the 2019 G7 Presidency and to continue working together.

Annex A: 2018 G7 employment outcomes

To support our efforts to prepare for the jobs of the future, it is proposed that the G7 Employment Ministers implement an integrated strategy that:

1. Positioning the G7 for the future of work

G7 Employment Ministers established a time-limited G7 Employment Task Force to undertake targeted research, analyses, and make recommendations on priority issues for G7 countries related to the future of work

The Task Force will be composed of G7 government members, and as appropriate, will include participation from international organizations, labour organizations, business and subject-matter experts, including in the area of gender equality, who will be invited to contribute to advancing dialogue, developing a body of knowledge and formulating policy recommendations. The Task Force will report on its findings to the Presidency as appropriate, and could make use of the G7 Future of Work Forum to share information.

The Task Force’s deliverables would be to:

The Task Force would begin its work under the Canadian Presidency with a meeting in the fall 2018.

2. Launching a digital tool to support collaboration

Public launch of the G7 Future of Work Forum

Building on the outcome of the 2017 G7 Italian presidency, Employment Ministers publicly launched the G7 Future of Work Forum. The Forum is hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development with the input and support from the International Labour Organization (ILO). The Forum:

3. Promoting women’s economic empowerment

Promote domestic and international tools to address the issue of violence and harassment in the workplace

There is mounting international awareness of, and calls for action to address, violence and harassment in the world of work. Recent movements have highlighted the prevalence of harassment and violence in the workplace, especially against women and gender minorities. There is a critical need for policies to prevent violence and harassment, to respond effectively, and to support victims, survivors and employers; recognizing that the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encourages all of us to eliminate violence against women and girls.

The ILO is leading efforts internationally to address the issue, including through the development of an international standard addressing violence and harassment in the workplace. The OECD also issued a progress report on the implementation of the Gender Recommendation and the focus on policies to combat violence against women. G7 countries welcome these discussions and encourage governments to work with labour organizations, businesses, civil society, and experts on gender equality to develop and promote policies that prevent violence and harassment, respond effectively, and support those affected. To examine how different groups of people may experience violence and harassment, policies could take into consideration areas of discrimination, for example gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age and disability.

Engaging in this analysis and outreach will advance discussions on tools available to governments and the private sector to address violence and harassment in the workplace, and could contribute to best practices in the G7 Future of Work Forum. This dialogue and development of policy tools will be an important step towards realizing economic empowerment of women.

4. Sustaining the dialogue

To ensure that the dialogue on preparing for jobs of the future continues, Canada proposes to host a conference with domestic partners on the future of work

Canada’s focus on preparing for the jobs of the future will culminate in a conference with Canadian stakeholders (employers, educational institutions, unions, provinces and territories) to build on the outcomes of the G7 Employment Ministers’ discussions. This will allow continuing the dialogue at the domestic level to better position Canadians to be prepared for the opportunities and challenges that come with the future of work. The conference will engage the Gender Equality Advisory Council to enrich conversations on efforts to close the wage gap. In the spirit of our commitment to Open and Transparent Government, Canada will demonstrate leadership and encourage other G7 countries to continue to engage their domestic partners in similar discussions.

5. Demonstrating leadership

To prepare the next generation of workers

Over the next three years, the Government of Canada will invest $3M to support the creation of up to 500 new student work placements in the field of AI. This initiative will promote gender equity in emerging and increasingly important fields like AI by offering employers enhanced wage subsidies of up to 70% of wages (up to a maximum for $7,000) for student work placements created for women and other underrepresented groups. This initiative will build on existing partnerships with information technology organizations such as the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and/or the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), the leading organizations in AI across Canada.

Canada will explore future opportunities for collaboration with other G7 countries to share expertise and experience in developing and implementing work-integrated learning strategies and programs. Canada will explore possibilities to have a reciprocal exchange among G7 countries in the fields that are critical for preparing for jobs of the future.

Annex B: G7 Innovation Ministers’ Statement on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (“AI”) represents a set of complex and powerful technologies that will touch or transform every sector and every industry and will help society address some of our most challenging problems. Moreover, the productivity gains from AI technologies are expected to be substantial. Innovations in AI technologies have the potential to introduce new sources of economic growth especially in countries struggling with an aging population or economies highly dependent on traditional levers of production, including by helping overcome hurdles to full participation in the workforce and in our societies. Realizing the broad potential of AI technologies will require thoughtful investments in entrepreneurialism, education, and the labour market to promote relevant skills and knowledge to participate in jobs of the futureFootnote 1 and to adapt to changes in demand for skills.

At the G7 ICT and Industry Minister’s Meeting in Torino, Italy, under the G7 Italian Presidency in 2017, Ministers of G7 countries expressed a vision of human-centric AI for innovation and economic growth.

Preamble

We, the Innovation Ministers of the G7, met in Montreal, Quebec from March 27-28, 2018. In:

the Innovation Ministers of the G7 seek to build upon the common vision of human-centric AI, a vision which requires care in the development and deployment of this promising technology. With reference to the G7 ICT Ministerial in Japan in 2016 and the G7 ICT and Industry Ministerial in Italy in 2017, this year, G7 members shine a spotlight on the interconnected relationship between supporting economic growth from AI innovation; increasing trust in and adoption of AI; and promoting inclusivity in AI development and deployment.

Supporting economic growth from AI innovation is about using AI applications to help improve economic performance. AI is expected to generate trillions of dollars in the global economy annually by as early as 2030.Footnote 2 G7 countries recognize that market-led AI innovations will positively impact all of our countries in key areas such as health, the environment, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, security and governance. These gains will be realized through policies that foster entrepreneurship in AI technologies, that prepare people for social and labour market demand changes, including those who are at risk of being left out, as well as policies that build open and fair market environments, including the promotion and protection of free flow of information. This approach includes opposition to data localization requirements that are unjustifiable, taking into account legitimate public policy objectives, as well as generally applicable policies that require access to, or transfer of, source code of mass market software as a condition of market access, while recognizing the legitimate interest of Governments in assessing the security of these products. Such an approach creates a business environment that invites innovation while providing predictability in commercial relations, including in law.

Increasing trust in and adoption of AI are necessary ingredients for economic growth and the fuel for future innovations that can benefit society as a whole. G7 members recognize that trust and adoption can be encouraged through a robust multistakeholder approach involving: education initiatives and public awareness of the benefits of AI technologies; increasing the participation of women in the workforce; promoting safe and reliable AI applications in the marketplace; giving early considerations to impacts on citizens, including through respecting privacy as a fundamental value and respecting applicable frameworks for privacy and data protection; mechanisms to ensure the accountability of AI systems; enabling industry-led processes to promote safety and vigilance in design and implementation of AI systems; efforts to prevent the misuse of AI applications that could cause harm; initiatives, notably those led by industry, that promote guidance on human intervention in AI decision-making processes, among others.

Promoting inclusivity in AI development and deployment is critical to ensuring broad public support for AI adoption and ensuring all members of society can benefit from this technology. G7 members endorse efforts, notably those led by industry, towards multi-stakeholder engagement on AI technologies by bringing together industry, governments, academia and civil society, including social groups representing diverse, traditionally underrepresented populations such as women, LGBTQ, ethnic and religious groups, persons with disabilities, seniors and youth, and indigenous persons. These types of engagements can help to create more representative and useful AI systems that will be relevant and responsive to society as a whole, and fuel innovation from all parts of the citizenry.

To make advances in each of these related areas, G7 members will endeavor to:

Next Steps

Going forward, the Innovation Ministers of the G7 decided to:

Annex C: G7 Innovation Ministers’ statement on stimulating innovation

The G7 Ministers of Innovation met in Montreal, Quebec on March 27-28, 2018 to further our dialogue and cooperation on approaches to spur innovation and elevate the growth trajectory of our nations. This is our opportunity to deepen collaboration, learn from each other’s experiences, and exchange examples of innovation initiatives, case studies, and best practices. To this end, we have identified four interconnected and mutually reinforcing themes to stimulate innovation:

Skills and Talent: The Common Trait of Innovation

Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship requires an emphasis on skills development and training for the labour force of tomorrow. This requires a new mindset of continuous learning which starts in school but also includes continual up-skilling and re-skilling to ensure that our workforce is ready to fill present skills gaps and is able to grow into the jobs of tomorrow.

G7 members shared the following innovation initiatives, case studies, and best practices:

The above demonstrates that G7 countries recognize that education and workforce development must follow the changing needs of industry.

Technologies and Breakthroughs: The Inflection Point of Transformative Capabilities

Scientific discovery and technological breakthroughs are the primary sources for expanding the frontiers of human knowledge and for responding in innovative and practical ways to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. We need to highlight the importance of transformative technologies to elevate the competitiveness of established and emerging firms, industries, and clusters.

G7 members shared the following innovation initiatives, case studies, and best practices:

G7 countries understand that risk taking can lead to benefits that accrue to all and that assistance should be given to those willing to do the work to turn ideas into the next generation of transformative innovation.

Growing Innovative Companies: A Conduit to Better Jobs

Today’s companies are competing in a global marketplace even if they don’t realize it. They need tools, supports, and predictable business environments to enable them to invest and rapidly adopt new technologies to remain competitive and grow.

G7 members shared the following innovation initiatives, case studies, and best practices:

G7 countries recognize that SME growth drives prosperity and that the integration of transformative technologies is required across all businesses to maintain competitiveness.

Ease of Doing Business: To Foster Entrepreneurship

Effective policies for innovation rely on a sound business environment that encourages investment in technology and R&D and embolden innovative firms to experiment with new ideas, technologies, and business models without the fear of being stigmatized when experiments don’t succeed. It also requires streamlining many of the hurdles that entrepreneurs must navigate in order to free themselves to focus on their goals.

G7 members shared the following innovation initiatives, case studies, and best practices:

Streamlining interactions between businesses and governments to ease burdens is a goal we all share and are taking positive steps to ensure that launching and growing businesses is simplified.

Date Modified: