Parkland Fall Conference 2021
This conference took place November 19-21, 2021
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Changing Work, for Good, After COVID

Saturday Session • Nov 20, 10:45–noon

Changing Work, for Good, After COVID

with Jim Stanford

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an unprecedented economic catastrophe: entire sections of the economy were deliberately shut down to protect health, and unemployment soared to Depression-like levels. Recovering from this catastrophe will require years of economic and social rebuilding, that must inevitably be led by government: with its unmatched financial resources, planning capacity, and regulatory and social authority. It will take years to recreate decent work for Canadians who saw their livelihoods evaporate. As we rebuild the quantity of work, however, we must also improve the quality of work: its safety, fairness, and sustainability.

Long-standing fault lines in Canada’s labour market were brutally exposed by the pandemic. Repairing those structural failings is essential for reconstructing the national economy on a sustained basis. Reforming work is not just a moral imperative: something we desire, because we would like a fairer and more inclusive labour market. It is also an economic necessity: put simply, Canada’s economy will not be able to function successfully after the pandemic, without focused and powerful efforts to fix these long-standing problems in the world of work. This presentation will identify 10 concrete ways that work must change for good after the pandemic.

Jim Stanford is one of Canada’s best-known economists and Director of the Centre for Future Work. He served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union (formerly the Canadian Auto Workers). Stanford is the author of several books, including Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism (second edition published by Pluto Books in 2015), which has been published in six languages. Read more