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New body needed to study changes in world of work: Senator Bellemare

Senator Diane Bellemare supports a motion to create a Senate Standing Committee on Human Resources to study the transforming employment and labour sectors.

Dramatic changes to the world of work, including snowballing robot technology, are transforming the employment and labour sectors and having a profound impact on Canadians—especially young people, says Senator Diane Bellemare. That is why the Senator is supporting Independent Senator Pierrette Ringuette’s motion calling for the creation of a Senate committee solely devoted to such issues.

Bellemare said it is imperative that the Upper Chamber create a Senate Standing Committee on Human Resources to study issues that include the economic disruption caused by technology; minority participation in the labour market (including that of Indigenous Canadians); youth underemployment and the demographic shift created by the aging baby boom generation.

“These are all pressing matters,” Bellemare said in an address to the Senate recently.

Think of our young people. It is hard to imagine that they are currently not participating in the country’s economic growth the way other demographic groups are.

Bellemare made the statement in support of an initiative put forward by Ringuette, who said, “What could be more important for our institution than to recognize the human wealth of this country?”

Issues such as the precariousness of work among the young, especially young indigenous people, are increasingly the subject of societal debate, as is the issue of Artificial Intelligence. Bellemare quoted a study that noted 47 per cent of professions in the services sector could be performed by robots within the next 20 years. Canadian society needs to develop tools, such as lifelong learning strategies, to adapt to such profound change.

In addition to looking at youth employment and Artificial Intelligence, a Human Resources committee would also give senators an opportunity to focus more directly on the concerns of their province or region, she said.

“It would allow for the development of specific expertise based on our diverse realities, rather than on national statistical averages,” she said.

Senators would also be mandated to look at issues that include issues of decent work, minimum wage and the working poor.

New body needed to study changes in world of work: Senator Bellemare

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