Transcript: Future-proofing the Economy | Dec 03, 2019

A female guest sits in The Agenda studio. She's in her fifties, with shoulder-length wavy gray hair. She's wearing a black blazer and droplet earrings.

Steve Paikin says SHE USED TO BE A
FAMILIAR FACE ON THIS SET.
THEN, ECONOMIST ARMINE YALNIZYAN
WENT FROM ANALYZING GOVERNMENT
DATA TO HELPING MAKE IT, AS SHE
TOOK A ROLE WITH THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT IN OTTAWA.

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and spotted brown tie.

A caption on screen reads "Future-proofing the economy. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve continues SHE'S NOW THE ATKINSON
FOUNDATION'S FELLOW ON THE
FUTURE OF WORKERS, AND WE'RE
PLEASED THAT IT GIVES US A
CHANCE TO CATCH UP WITH
ARMINE YALNIZYAN.
WHO HAS NOT BEEN IN THIS STUDIO
IN A YEAR.
IN A YEAR!

Armine says A WHOLE
YEAR.

Steve says IT'S LONG OVERDUE TO
HAVE YOU BACK.
IT'S GREAT TO SEE YOU AGAIN.
WE'VE MISSED YOU.
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

The caption changes to "Armine Yalnizyan. Atkinson Foundation."
Then, it changes again to "It's been a while."

Armine says I'VE BEEN IN OTTAWA.
YOU KNEW THAT, RIGHT?
I'VE BEEN IN OTTAWA.
I WAS HUGELY THANKFUL FOR THE
OPPORTUNITY TO BE INVITED BY THE
DEPUTY MINISTER...

Steve says OF...

The caption changes to "Armine Yalnizyan, @ArmineYalnizyan."

Armine says OF EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL
DEVELOPMENT CANADA, WHICH NOW NO
LONGER EXISTS.
THERE'S BEEN A CABINET SHAKEUP
ON HOW THE DEPARTMENT IS
CONFIGURED.
THAT DEPARTMENT ASKED ME TO COME
AND HELP THEM ON TWO THINGS:
NUMBER ONE, WE HAVE A FEMINIST
GOVERNMENT THAT WAS GOING TO
DELIVER SOMETHING CALLED
GBA-PLUS.

Steve says WHICH STANDS FOR...

Armine says GENDER-BASED ANALYSIS, AND
THE PLUS STANDS FOR ALL THE
PLUSES BEYOND GENDER.

Steve says OKAY.

Armine says THEY KNEW THEY DIDN'T KNOW
HOW TO DO IT.
AND I WAS THERE TO HELP IN THIS
PROCESS, HELP THEM UNDERSTAND
WHY THEY WERE DOING IT IN THE
FIRST PLACE, AND WHAT WE AS
TAXPAYERS AND CITIZENS CAN GET
OUT OF HAVING THIS MADE PUBLIC
IN THE BUDGET, WHICH WAS THE
GOAL.
WHAT WE CAN GET OUT OF IT IS
SHOWING HOW OUR MONEY IS BEING
SPENT TO REDUCE INEQUALITY AND
SHOWING WHAT PROGRAMS WORK THE
MOST EFFECTIVELY TO DO THAT.

Steve says HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE?

Armine says I LOVED THAT.
THE BETTER PART OF IT WAS THE
SECOND PART I WAS ASKED TO COME
IN TO HELP WITH.
EVERY CYCLE, EVERY DEPARTMENT
DOES SOMETHING CALLED
MEDIUM-TERM PLANNING.
AND IT'S BASICALLY TO LOOK AT
HOW THE PROGRAMS THAT WE DO
FUND, WHICH IN THE CASE OF ESGC
ACCOUNT FOR 7 percent OF GDP.
IT'S A LOT OF MONEY.

Steve says THAT'S A LOT.

Armine says HOW THOSE PROGRAMS ARE FIT
FOR PURPOSE LOOKING AHEAD AT THE
CHALLENGES THAT ARE COMING.
AND I HAD BEEN WORKING ON THE
CHANGING NATURE OF WORK FOR A
LITTLE WHILE.
THEY ASKED ME TO COME IN AND
SAY, HAVE WE THOUGHT OF
EVERYTHING WE NEED TO THINK
ABOUT?
I WORKED WITH ALL SORTS OF STAFF
AND THE DEPUTY MINISTER ON WHAT
ARE THE THINGS COMING AT US IN
THE NEXT FOUR OR FIVE YEARS THAT
WE MIGHT NEED TO THINK, HOW DO
WE CHANGE OUR PROGRAMS, GIVEN
THAT IT'S 7 percent OF GDP?
AND THAT WAS JUST THE JOB OF A
LIFETIME.
I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY THAT
PROCESS.

Steve says VERY INTELLECTUALLY
STIMULATING AND ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Armine says NOT ONLY INTELLECTUALLY
STIMULATING.
THE PEOPLE THAT I WORKED WITH
WERE SOME OF THE NICEST PLUS
MOST COMPETENT PEOPLE I MET.
THEY KNEW THEIR STUFF AND THEY
WERE ABSOLUTELY DEDICATED PUBLIC
SERVANTS.
AND EVERYBODY IS TRYING TO WORK
AROUND... YOU KNOW, LOOK AROUND
THE CORNER AT WHAT'S COMING AT
US.
ARE WE READY FOR IT?
ARE WE GOING TO GET CAUGHT NOT
BEING PREPARED FOR THE THINGS
THAT ARE AS PLAIN AS THE NOSE ON
YOUR FACE.

Steve says CIVIL SERVANTS ARE
THE EASIEST TO CRITICIZE AND
MAKE FUN OF.
BUT WHEN YOU GOT IN THERE AND
WORKED WITH THEM, DID IT CHANGE
YOUR IMPRESSION OF THEM?

Armine says LIKE I SAID, I NEVER MET A
MORE CONSISTENTLY NICE AND
COMPETENT GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT
BURNT THE MIDNIGHT OIL.
THEY WERE THERE ALL OF THE TIME.
THIS WAS NOT... THIS IS NOT A
JOB FOR THE FAINT OF HEART,
THESE JOBS.
BECAUSE SO MUCH MONEY IS ON THE
LINE.
AND MAKING SURE YOU'RE GIVING
THE BEST ADVICE TO THE
POLITICIANS, WHICH IS THE JOB OF
A PUBLIC SERVANT, IS... HERE'S
THE CHALLENGE YOU'RE FACING,
HERE ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES,
HERE'S DIFFERENT WAYS OF SOLVING
IT.
YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE THE
DECISION, BUT WE HAVE TO ADVICE
YOU ON A FULL SUITE OF OPTIONS.
IT'S A FORMIDABLE TASK.

Steve says WHO IS THE MINISTER?

Armine says CURRENTLY WE DON'T HAVE THE
SAME MINISTER.

Steve says NO, BUT WHO WAS IT.

Armine says AT THE TIME IT WAS JEAN-YVES
DUCLOS WHO WAS AN ANGEL FOR THE
POSITION.
HE WAS SUPERB.
THERE WERE THREE OTHER MINISTERS
IN THAT PORTFOLIO BUT HE WAS
KIND OF THE BIG DADDY OF THE
WHOLE THING AND WAS SUPERB
BECAUSE HE UNDERSTOOD THE ROLE
OF EVALUATION AND DATA AND
TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THROUGH
EVIDENCE WHAT IS WORKING AND
WHAT ISN'T WORKING, AND THAT IS
SO CRITICAL AS WE HEAD INTO THIS
NEXT PERIOD WHERE ECONOMIES ARE
SLOWING AND THAT MEANS PUBLIC
REVENUE GROWTH IS SLOWING.
SO YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE YOUR
DOLLARS ARE DOING THE JOB
THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING.

Steve says DID YOU EVER GET
FACE TIME WITH HIM?

Armine says YES.
THAT WAS PART OF IT.
AND WITH THE PRIME MINISTER AND
WITH OTHER MINISTERS.
PART OF THE JOB OF BRIEFING THE
DEPUTY MINISTER IS PREPARING
MATERIALS AND BEING INVITED IN
FOR STOCK TAKES.
IT WAS A FASCINATING YEAR AND A
BIT.

Steve says DID YOU SOLVE THE
ECONOMY?

Armine says YES.
WHICH IS OF COURSE WHY I COULD
MOVE BACK TO TORONTO, RIGHT?

[LAUGHTER]

Steve says BUT SERIOUSLY, LIKE
WHAT KIND OF... CAN YOU GIVE ME
ONE EXAMPLE OF SOME PIECE OF
SPECIFIC ADVICE THAT YOU GAVE TO
THE GOVERNMENT THAT THEY COULD
MOVE ON AND IT WOULD CHANGE
PEOPLE'S LIVES?

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Armine says WELL, IN A KIND OF BACKHANDED
WAY, HERE'S AN INTERESTING
THING.
WHENEVER WE TALK ABOUT THE
FUTURE OF WORK, WE TALK ABOUT
DRIVERLESS CARS.
OH, ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING
TO BE DRUMMED OUT OF BUSINESS
BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE
DRIVERLESS CARS.
BUT LOOKING AT THE WAY THE
TECHNOLOGY IS ADVANCING, LOOKING
AT THE WAY BUSINESSES ARE
ADAPTING AND PUTTING IT INTO
PLACE, LOOKING AT ALL THE THINGS
THAT ARE GOING WRONG WITH IT, IT
IS VERY CLEAR THAT WITHIN THE
NEXT 10 YEARS, WE ARE NOT GOING
TO SEE AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES BEING
THE SOURCE OF MOST OF THE WAY WE
HAUL STUFF ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
WHY?
BECAUSE, NUMBER ONE, WE JUST
FINISHED SPENDING... IN THE
UNITED STATES AND CANADA... A
WHOLE BUNCH OF MONEY ON
REPLACING FLEETS.
SO NOBODY IS GOING TO LET THAT
INVESTMENT JUST GO, MEH, AND
REPLACE IT IMMEDIATELY.
THESE VEHICLES ARE VERY
EXPENSIVELY.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, ANY AUTONOMOUS
VEHICLE REQUIRES ACCESS TO THE
INTERNET WHEREVER THEY GO.
WE DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO THE
INTERNET EVERYWHERE IN CANADA.
ARE WE GOING TO, THROUGH A
TAXPAYER SYSTEM, FINANCE
SOMETHING SO TRUCK DRIVERS AND
HAULERS CAN HAVE IT?
I DON'T THINK SO.
YOU NEED DEDICATED LANES
BECAUSE, OOPS, HAZARDS.
THEY NEED CLEAR MARKING SO THE
SENSORS CAN PICK UP WHERE THE
TRUCKS ARE.
IN CANADA, WE HAVE A LOT OF
SNOW.
SO ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A WHOLE
DEDICATED GROUP OF PEOPLE
CLEARING THE SNOW OFF OF ONE
LANE FOR AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES?
THE ANSWER IS NO.
SO THIS IS NOT A MEDIUM-TERM
ISSUE.
BUT WHAT... NEAR-TERM ISSUE.
BUT WHAT WE'RE SEEING IS ALL
SORTS OF DEMAND FOR IMMIGRANTS
AND TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKERS
BECAUSE WE HAVE A SHORTAGE OF
DRIVERS BECAUSE EVERYBODY THINKS
THE AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES ARE
GOING TO COME IN.
SO WE'VE GOT THIS REALLY
WEIRD... WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY
TO PROVIDE SKILLS TRAINING AND
ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD-PAYING JOBS
FOR PEOPLE, AND ESPECIALLY
PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT, LIKE,
HUGELY EDUCATED.
THESE ARE GOOD JOBS.
AND WE CAN'T FIND CANADIANS TO
DO THEM BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL
CONVINCED THAT THE ROBOTS ARE
GOING TO EAT THE JOBS.
SO THAT WAS A REALLY INTERESTING
LITTLE VIGNETTE IN THIS STORY
ABOUT THE CHANGING NATURE OF WORK.

Steve says WHAT IMPRESSION DID
YOU COME TO AS TO HOW QUICKLY OR
SLOWLY GOVERNMENTS ARE ABLE TO
RESPOND TO THE INFORMATION YOU
GIVE THEM?

Armine says OH, THEY'RE WAY AHEAD OF THE
CURVE ON A LOT OF THINGS, IN THE
PUBLIC SERVICE.
THIS IS DISTINCT FROM GOVERNMENT.
THE PUBLIC SERVICE'S JOB IS TO
LOOK AROUND THE CORNER.
AND SO SOME OF THE BEST THINKING
I'VE EVER COME ACROSS WAS
AMONGST MY COLLEAGUES IN THE
PUBLIC SERVICE.
HOW QUICKLY DOES THAT FILTER UP
TO POLITICAL ADVICE IS A WHOLE
OTHER QUESTION, AND THAT IS
BECAUSE OF WHAT IS COMING BACK
DOWN FROM THE POLITICAL SYSTEM.
THE URGENCIES THAT NEED TO BE
DEALT WITH, THE FIRES THAT NEED
TO BE PUT OUT, HOW FAR AHEAD CAN
I THINK ABOUT THIS THING WHEN
I'VE GOT A FIRE IN MY BACK YARD?
SO TIMING IS EVERYTHING, IN
VAUDEVILLE AS WELL AS IN
POLITICS.
BUT IT'S ALSO EVERYTHING IN
TERMS OF ADVICE, POLICY ADVICE,
AND I FOUND TWO THINGS THAT WERE
REALLY STRIKING.
SOMETIMES FILES SIT ON TABLES
FOR YEARS AND DO NOT MOVE AND
ONE OF THOSE FILES WOULD BE THE
AGING POPULATION.
LIKE, THIS HAS BEEN A SLOW TRAIN
MOVING DOWN THE TRACKS AND WE
STILL DON'T REALLY HAVE AN
EXCELLENT ANSWER TO HOW ARE WE
GOING TO MEET THE INEVITABLE
LABOUR SHORTAGES THAT ARE COMING
AT US THROUGH IMMIGRATION OR
THROUGH SKILLS UPGRADING, AND
THAT'S A CONVERSATION WE SHOULD
TOUCH ON LATER ON.
BUT THE OTHER PART IS SOMETIMES
THINGS MOVE LIKE THIS, RIGHT?
THERE'S SOME KIND OF POLITICAL
URGENCY.
THERE'S SOME WEIRD KIND OF WAVE
MOTION WHERE YOU GET A SUPER
WAVE, EVERYTHING COLLIDES, AND
SUDDENLY THAT THING HAS JUST
HAPPENED.
SO I SAW BOTH IN THE TIME I WAS
THERE.
YOU CAN NEVER PREDICT WHAT IS
GOING TO MOVE AT RAPID FIRE...
BUT I'LL TELL YOU SOMETHING.
THOSE PUBLIC SERVANTS ARE THERE
TO MOVE THE WHATEVER IT IS, MAKE
THAT HAPPEN TO HAPPEN WITHIN
HOURS, AND IT WILL HAPPEN.

Steve says HOW INFURIATING IS
IT FOR YOU TO WATCH HOW THAT ALL
WORKS INASMUCH AS WHAT MIGHT BE
REALLY IMPORTANT WILL ALMOST
ALWAYS TAKE A BACK SEAT TO WHAT
IS POLITICALLY URGENT.
IS THAT INFURIATING?

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Armine says YOU KNOW, HAVING BEEN THERE,
IT INCREASED MY FUSE BEFORE I
BLOW UP AT THESE THINGS, RIGHT?
I FELT LIKE IT CREATED A LONGER
FUSE IN ME.
BECAUSE YOU RECOGNIZE THAT THIS
IS JUST REALITY, RIGHT?
THERE ARE SOME... SOME PEOPLE
ARE ABLE TO MAKE ENOUGH NOISE TO
PUT A DIFFERENT ISSUE AT THE
FRONT AND ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU'RE
LOOKING AT VERY LONG-TERM
ISSUES, IT'S REALLY HARD TO GET
ATTENTION.
IT'S SO HARD TO GET ATTENTION
FOR THINGS LIKE, YOU KNOW,
FIXING THE PLUMBING.
I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE AN OLD
HOUSE, BUT I HAVE AN OLD HOUSE,
AND FIXING THE PLUMBING IS THE
LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO
BECAUSE IT COSTS THOUSANDS OF
DOLLARS AND YOU NEVER SEE
ANYTHING FOR THE MONEY, RIGHT?
SO IT'S VERY EASY TO DEFER
FIXING THE PLUMBING.
I DID THAT RECENTLY AND, YOU
KNOW, I'M GLAD I DID IT, BUT I
REALLY CAN'T SAY I ENJOY IT.
BUT IT NEEDED TO BE DONE...

Steve says IT'S NECESSARY.

Armine says THE PLUMBING IN THE CASE OF
ESDC, 7 percent OF GDP THAT'S THROWN
OUT THERE, THE PLUMBING IN THAT
CASE IS A SYSTEM OF AUTOMATED
MACHINERY THAT GOES BACK 50
YEARS.
IT'S LEGACY MACHINERY.
AND IT HAS BEEN MacGYVERED TO
THE NINTH DEGREE.

Steve says WHAT KIND OF MACHINERY?

Armine says WE'RE TALKING ABOUT COMPUTER
SYSTEMS THAT HAVE BEEN AROUND
FOREVER AND PATCHED AND PATCHED
AND PATCHED.
IT NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED.
WE SAW WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE
PHOENIXIZEIZATION OF SALARIES.

Steve says STILL NOT FIXED.

Armine says THERE'S A KIND OF LOATHING OF
MODERNIZING BECAUSE YOU DON'T
KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, BUT
KNOWING THAT IF YOU LEAVE IT FOR
TOO LONG, IT COULD FAIL JUST
BECAUSE OF THE AGE OF THE LEGACY
INSTRUMENTATION THAT YOU'RE
WORKING WITH.
SO IT'S JUST ONE OF THOSE UNSEXY
THINGS THAT PEOPLE JUST WANT TO
PUT TO THE SIDE ALL THE TIME
THAT CAN COME BACK AND HAUNT
YOU.

Steve says HAVING NOW SPENT THE
YEAR, THOUGH, IN OTTAWA DOING
THAT WORK FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE
AND FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT,
DO YOU... DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU
LEFT SOME FOOTPRINTS?

Armine says YEAH, AND, YOU KNOW, THE
BIGGEST THING FOR ME I THINK WAS
THIS SENSE OF LEAVING PEOPLE
WITH TWO IDEAS.
THE FIRST IDEA IS SLOWING
GROWTH, WHICH IS HAPPENING
THROUGHOUT THE GLOBAL NORTH
BECAUSE OF POPULATION AGING,
BECAUSE OF GEOPOLITICAL
FRICTIONS, BECAUSE OF CLIMATE
EVENTS THAT SLOW DOWN
PRODUCTION.
SLOWING GROWTH IS THE NEW
NORMAL.
I CALL IT SLOTHE.
IT'S NOT A RECESSION BUT IT'S
MUCH SLOWER BACKGROUND GROWTH
THAN WE HAVE BEEN ACCUSTOMED TO
AND THE CLOSER YOU GET TO ZERO,
THE MORE IS FEELS LIKE A
ZERO-SUM GAME.
ALL THE POLITICS OF WHO IS
GETTING WHAT GETS WAY MORE
INFLAMED.
MORE POPULISM ON BOTH THE RIGHT
AND THE LEFT, MORE DEMANDS FOR
TAX CUTS BECAUSE I'M NOT GETTING
AHEAD, MORE DEMANDS FOR SERVICES
BECAUSE I'M NOT GETTING AHEAD.
ALL THESE TENSIONS THAT RISE,
AND WE ARE NOT READY FOR IT,
EITHER POLITICALLY OR IN TERMS
OF HOW WE'RE GOING TO DEAL WITH
THE INEVITABLE LABOUR SHORTAGES.
SO THE TAKE-AWAY THAT I HOPE TO
LEAVE WITH PEOPLE IS WE NEED TO
MAXIMIZE... IT'S LIKE AN
INCREDIBLE UNPRECEDENTED
OPPORTUNITY TO ACTUALLY PUT
FLESH ON THE BONES OF INCLUSIVE
GROWTH.
SO YOU COULD ACTUALLY LIFT THE
ECONOMY BY LIFTING THE PEOPLE AT
THE BOTTOM UP.
YOU CAN ACTUALLY MAXIMIZE THE
POTENTIAL OF GROUPS THAT HAVE
BEEN SYSTEMATICALLY UNINVESTED
IN, INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS, THE
DISABLED, WOMEN, RECENT
IMMIGRANTS, VISIBLE MINORITY
POPULATIONS... ALL THE PEOPLE
THAT NO MATTER WHAT METRIC YOU
LOOK AT, THERE'S A GAP BETWEEN
THEM AND OTHERS.
SO IF YOU START CLOSING THOSE
GAPS, YOU'RE ACTUALLY LIFTING
THE ECONOMY FROM THE BOTTOM UP.
THAT IS WHAT INCLUSIVE GROWTH
IS.
AND YOU DON'T DO THAT AND YOU
ARE LITERALLY LEAVING MONEY ON
THE TABLE.

Steve says DO YOU THINK THE
GOVERNMENT SIGNED ON TO THAT PHILOSOPHY?

Armine says I THINK THEY STARTED TO SEE
THE VALUE IN IT.
I THINK THAT'S A SLOW-BURN
MESSAGE, BUT I THINK WORKING
WITH PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE
SYSTEM AS WELL AS PEOPLE AT THE
TOP... BECAUSE, FRANKLY, WHEN
YOU'VE GOT SOMETHING CALLED A
FEMINIST GOVERNMENT THAT SAYS,
BASED ON A McKINSEY REPORT, WE
COULD HAVE 160 BILLION dollars MORE IN
THE ECONOMY IF WOMEN WERE
TREATED THE SAME AS MEN, WHICH
IS A BIT OF A FAIRY TALE, BUT
LET'S JUST SAY, WE'RE LEAVING
MONEY ON THE TABLE BY NOT
PURSUING EQUALITY.
BUT IT'S NOT JUST FOR WOMEN.
IT'S FOR EVERYBODY.
AND WE COULD ACTUALLY SPEND LESS
MONEY ON SOCIAL SERVICES AND ON
HEALTH CARE AND ALL OF THOSE
THINGS AND SEE MORE REVENUE
COMING IN BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE
DOING BETTER, IF WE INVEST IN
THEM.
BUT WE DO HAVE TO INVEST IN THEM
IN THE FRONT END, RIGHT?
IT WILL PAY FOR ITSELF.
BUT WE ACTUALLY HAVE TO GO
THERE.
AND THAT'S GOING TO BE THE
CHALLENGE, TO UNDERSTAND HOW WE
MAXIMIZE ADVANTAGE, HOW WE
MAXIMIZE POTENTIAL, AND HOW WE
MAXIMIZE OUR OWN POWER IN AN ERA
WHERE WE'RE GOING TO NEED ALL
HANDS ON DECK.
WE'RE GOING TO NEED EVERYBODY
PERFORMING TO THEIR BEST
ABILITY.

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Steve says OKAY.
CAN I BRING YOU TO PRESENT DAY NOW?
YOU'RE AN ATKINSON FELLOW, RIGHT?
SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?

Armine says FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK.
[LAUGHTER]
SO THE ATKINSON HAS BEEN REALLY
HEAVILY INVOLVED IN HELPING
PEOPLE SEE THE ROLE OF WORKERS
AND DECENT WORK IN SHAPING THE
FUTURE.
AND THIS IS AN OLD STORY FOR
THEM BECAUSE JOSEPH ATKINSON,
THE PUBLISHER OF THE TORONTO
STAR WHO IS THE NAME BEHIND THE
ATKINSON FOUNDATION, WAS ALL
ABOUT THAT.
SO WE'VE JUST BEEN GOING
THROUGH... THEY GAVE ME THE
AWARD BEFORE I WENT AND WORKED
FOR THE FEDS, KINDLY PUT
EVERYTHING ON PAUSE.
AND WE'VE BEEN TALKING OVER THE
COURSE OF THE YEAR, AND I
KEPT... THERE'S SO MUCH NOISE
ABOUT THE FUTURE OF WORK OUT
THERE.
EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THE
FUTURE OF WORK.
AND I KEPT NOTICING HOW, WELL,
THEY AND I KEPT NOTICING HOW
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WORK AND HOW
JOBS ARE CHANGING, HOW TASKS ARE
CHANGING, WHAT'S DISAPPEARING...
WHERE ARE THE WORKERS IN THESE
STORIES?
THERE'S NO PEOPLE IN THESE
STORIES.
IT'S LIKE OCCUPATIONS, JOBS,
TASKS... BUT NOT HOW WE SHAPE
OUR WORK, HOW WE SHAPE THE TERMS
OF SERVICE THAT WHEN WE CLICK "I
ACCEPT" SHAPES THE NATURE OF HOW
MUCH MONEY THAT UBER DRIVER IS
GOING TO GET, HOW MUCH THAT
DELIVEROO DRIVER IS GOING TO GET
OR HOW MUCH THAT MECHANICAL
WORKER IS GOING TO GET.
WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE
PEOPLE DOING THE WORK.
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE
TECHNOLOGY AS IF IT IS DIVORCED
FROM HUMANS.
SO PUTTING WORKERS AT THE CENTRE
OF AN AGENDA THAT SAYS DECENT
WORK CAN LIFT US ALL UP IS MY
MISSION AND IT'S THEIR MISSION
AND I'M VERY HAPPY TO HAVE FOUND
A HOME THAT PER MITTS ME TO PUT
AT THE CENTRE THE FUTURE OF WORK
ON THE FUTURE FOR WORKERS.

Steve says YOU KNOW, WE'RE 100
YEARS REMOVED FROM THE WINNIPEG
GENERAL STRIKE.
WE KNOW 100 YEARS AGO, THAT WAS
A PRETTY IMPORTANT TIME IN THE
HISTORY OF THE LABOUR MOVEMENT.
SO IT'S KIND OF A WEIRD QUESTION
TO ASK: IS THIS A PARTICULARLY
IMPORTANT TIME IN THE HISTORY OF
LABOUR, TO BE FIGURING THIS
STUFF OUT, BUT IS IT?
I AM KIND OF CURIOUS ABOUT THAT.

Armine says WELL, OKAY.
YOU KNOW, I THINK IT WAS MARK
TWAIN THAT WAS THAT SUPPOSEDLY
SAID HISTORY DOESN'T REPEAT
ITSELF BUT IT RHYMES.

Steve says IT RHYMES, YES.

Armine says I'M NOT SURE HE ACTUALLY SAID
THAT...

Steve says GOOD QUOTE.

Armine says IT IS A GREAT QUOTE.
AND WE'RE DOING A LOT OF RHYMING
THESE DAYS.
SO THE LABOUR SHARE OF THE
ECONOMY IN ALL SORTS OF
COUNTRIES IS AT A LOW, AND IT
HAS BEEN FALLING FOR SOME TIME.
AND CORPORATIONS... THERE IS A
HANDFUL OF CORPORATIONS THAT ARE
APPROACHING MONOPOLY STATUS,
RIGHT?
MORE AND MORE CORPORATE
CONCENTRATION.
SO LESS POWER FOR WORKERS.
MORE POWER FOR CORPORATIONS.
AND THE CORPORATIONS THEMSELVES,
IT SEEMS TO BE HARDER TO GOVERN
THEM BECAUSE THEY'RE
GLOBE-STRADDLING AND OFTEN THOSE
CORPORATIONS ARE BIGGER THAN THE
ECONOMIES IN WHICH THEY OPERATE.
SO IT BECOMES REALLY DIFFICULT
TO NEGOTIATE WITH THEM.
SO INSTEAD OF IT BEING AT A
NATIONAL LEVEL, AT AN
INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, WE ARE
RHYMING WITH WHAT HAPPENED 100
YEARS AGO WHEN WORKERS HAD BEEN
PROTESTING ALREADY FOR 50 YEARS,
FOR PUTTING LIMITS ON THE HOURS
OF WORK, FOR ENDING CHILD
LABOUR, FOR HAVING MATERNITY
PROTECTIONS, FOR HAVING MINIMUM
WAGES, FOR HAVING ALL SORTS OF
MINIMUM STANDARDS OF DECENCY IN
THE WORKPLACE, AND IN 1919,
WHICH WE ARE ACTUALLY MARKING AT
THE END OF NOVEMBER THE 100TH
ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST TIME 44
NATIONS CAME TOGETHER.
44 NATIONS OF GOVERNMENTS,
BUSINESSES, AND LABOUR... THIS
IS THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT THE
ILO.
IT'S THE ONLY INSTITUTION IN THE
U.N. THAT RELIES ON TRIPARTITE
AGREEMENT.
THERE IS NO MOVE FORWARD WITHOUT
ALL AGREEING.
AND 44 NATIONS IN 1919 CAME
TOGETHER AND SAID, THIS IS WHAT
WE'RE STRIVING FOR AND WE'RE
GOING TO DO IT.
BIG IDEAS.
BIG VISION.
FLASH FORWARD 100 YEARS, OR THE
WINNIPEG GENERAL STRIKE... BY
THE WAY, THE WINNIPEG GENERAL
STRIKE WAS STARTED BY THE HELLO
GIRLS.
THEY'RE THE LADIES THAT WORKED
AT THE TELEPHONE SWITCH BOARDS.
AND THEY CALLED TO THEIR FELLOW
WOMEN AND BY NOON THERE WAS
30,000 PEOPLE ON THE STREET AND
MORE CAME AFTERWARDS.
WHAT DID THEY WANT?
THEY WANTED THE LABOUR LAWS THAT
WE HAD ENFORCED.
THEY WANTED MAXIMUM HOURS OF
WORK.
THEY WANTED MINIMUM WAGES.
THEY WANTED BASIC SOCIAL
PROTECTIONS.
AND THEY WANTED THE RIGHT TO
COLLECTIVELY BARGAIN.
SO THESE ARE OLD STORIES.
WE'RE SEEING ALL OF THEM AGAIN
NOW WITH THE GIG ECONOMY.
WE'RE SEEING THEM ALL AGAIN WITH
TECHNOLOGICAL SO-CALLED ADVANCES
THAT ARE CREATING WORKING
CONDITIONS THAT LOOK LIKE THE
PAST, NOT THE FUTURE.
AND SO WE'RE SEEING ALSO WORKERS
COMING TOGETHER ACROSS NATIONAL
BOUNDARIES UNDERSTANDING OUR
PLIGHT IS THE SAME AND WE ARE
FIGHTING HUGE CORPORATIONS AND
WE'VE GOT TO REBALANCE
BARGAINING POWER.
WHEN THE OECD, THE ORGANIZATION
FOR COOPERATION AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT OR THE WORLD BANK OR
THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND,
SAYING WITH ONE CHORUS OF VOICES
SAYING WHAT WE NEED IS MORE
INCLUSIVE GROWTH.
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY'RE
TALKING ABOUT.
WE NEED TO REBALANCE POWER
BECAUSE IT'S BECOME TOO
IMBALANCED.
TOO MUCH STUFF IS MARKETTIZED
AND TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE LOSING
POWER AND BEING ABLE TO HAVE
AGENCY OVER HOW THE FUTURE IS
UNFOLDING.
FOR MY PART, WITH THE ATKINSON,
MY GOAL IN PUTTING WORKERS AT
THE CENTRE OF THE FUTURE OF WORK
IS REMINDING US OF OUR POWER,
REMINDING US OF OUR POSSIBILITY
TO HAVE AGENCY IN SHAPING THAT
FUTURE, AND I CAN'T BE MORE
EXCITED BECAUSE I THINK THIS IS
THE MOMENT.
YOU'RE SEEING SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
ERUPT EVERYWHERE, RIGHT?
YOU'RE SEEING THE FIGHT FOR 15,
Hashtag METOO, THE CLIMATE STRIKE, YOU
KNOW, IDLE NO MORE, BLACK LIVES
MATTER, ALL THESE SOCIAL
MOVEMENTS THAT DIDN'T EXIST
YEARS AGO AND YOU'RE SEEING
PEOPLE IN THE STREETS IN CHILE
AND LEBANON AND HONG KONG... ALL
OVER THE WORLD... PEOPLE ARE
JUST ERUPTING SAYING NO TO THE
STATUS QUO.
SO HOW ARE WE GOING TO SHAPE IT?
IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO EXPOSING
WHAT'S GOING ON AND OPPOSE IT.
WE HAVE TO PROPOSE NEW THINGS.
THAT'S WHAT I'M HOPING TO USE
THE FELLOWSHIP TO DO, WHAT CAN
WE PROPOSE TO SITUATE OURSELVES
IN A LANDSCAPE AND SAY, THERE'S
MANY PATHS HERE.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO CHOOSE TO
DO?
LET'S DO IT TOGETHER?

The caption changes to "Producer: Meredith Martin, @MeredithMartin."

Steve says AS YOU FIGURE THAT
OUT, I HOPE YOU WILL COME BACK
AND VISIT US AGAIN AND TELL US
ALL ABOUT IT.

Armine says I REALLY HOPE I GET TO DO
THAT.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE
OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK WITH YOU.

Steve says IT WAS A DELIGHT.
THAT'S ARMINE YALNIZYAN WHO HAS
BEEN AWAY FROM THESE PARTS FOR
TOO LONG BUT WE'RE HAPPY TO HAVE
HER BACK NOW.
UNTIL NEXT TIME.

Armine says THANK YOU.

Watch: Future-proofing the Economy