As Canada kicked off environment week on June 2, new research from Deloitte Canada reports 64 per cent of Canadian businesses have no target for reaching net-zero emissions and 52 per cent say reducing their carbon footprint is far down their priority list. At the same time 80 per cent of Canadian leaders believe the country’s current and future prosperity hinges on effectively addressing global disruptions.

The new report launching today explores how four major global disruptions are impacting Canada’s ability to thrive: the race to net-zero, AI revolution, talent transformation, and geopolitical uncertainty.

The report, Global disruptions in 4D: Exploring intersecting forces impacting Canada’s future, looks not only at the disruptions, but at their intersections, and the opportunities and challenges they pose for Canada.

For instance, capitalizing on the immense opportunity of AI requires first equipping workers with the skills to use it effectively. The report’s survey findings show 48 per cent of Canadian business leaders feel their employees are not prepared or barely prepared to use AI, while only five per cent say their workers are “very prepared.”

Similarly, in an environment of geopolitical uncertainty, the race for AI sovereignty and leadership is heating up. Canada is vying to lead globally in the AI economy, but risks falling behind when it comes to influencing global standards and using AI to improve Canada’s productivity.

“The imperative to act is massive,” says 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’ ability to operate was impacted by supply chain disruptions.

Equally, reaching Canada’s net-zero goals will require equipping our 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.

The report examines each disruption in-depth and reveals the transition to net-zero will affect provinces, job sectors, and communities disproportionately, and that across Canada, the approach to and prioritization of reaching net-zero targets, is patchwork at best. The workforce is not unequipped to work in the net-zero economy with severe underrepresentation of women, Indigenous Peoples, racialized people, and immigrants in the environmental and clean technology sector.

The report concludes that a national workforce strategy will require training the next generation, upskilling forces, and attracting talent from abroad.

To read the complete report, visit: https://www2.deloitte.com/ca/en/pages/future-of-canada-center/topics/global-disruptions.html

Featured image credit: Getty Images

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