Digital and Data Roundtable Summary (Seniors/Future of Work): September 13, 2018—Quebec City, QC

Hosted by Janie Béïque
Area of Focus: Seniors/Future of Work

Highlights of Discussion

New technologies are transforming the work and academic spheres. Students need to learn how to continually learn, prepare for several career changes and invest in lifelong learning. Universities are increasingly offering programs in class and on-line beyond bachelor and post graduate programs --- Laval University’s micro, nano and certificate programs for students of all ages and career stages is 38% of its total programming. Students will increasingly do more on-line classes and use university physical infrastructure to do projects and group assignments which will reduce the need for large amphitheatre classrooms.

Digital tsunami: Survey employers and employees about their views on preparations for the digital transformation. Several thinking gaps have been identified with respect to this transformation. Skills training is crucial. We need a broad integration plan, joint initiatives and cooperation between the various sectors. We have to de-risk SMEs through technological support, integration levers and digital awareness.

Seniors want to simplify their lives. They have no desire to complicate things. The technology race leaves behind many people. The university of the third age is relevant. Not everything is technology-based, there is no need to create a social handicap. There is mental distress in working with seniors. The government has an important support role to play with seniors. Seniors must be afforded ongoing access to resources. Transition mechanisms are very important. In Canada, we have lived in a very safe environment. We must use cyber-safety regulations to protect not only our seniors, but also the broader population. The government must regulate big business.

Not-for-profit organizations are most effective when they operate in close proximity to their clientele but they recognize there are potential gains from pooling administrative resources and sharing best practices. Programs like Techsoup are helpful and Finland’s example of “learning caravans” which travel to communities and provide digital skills training was cited as a best practice. ESDC’s Future Skills Centre program was also highlighted as a good start.

Measuring results for not-for-profits must take in to consideration the higher needs and increased time required to adequately serve and guide older populations as they adapt and learn how to use digital services. Cyber security is critical and increased efforts are needed to protect all Canadians and in particular more vulnerable groups.

Key Opportunities / Considerations / Challenges

Digital Infrastructure
Canada’s digital infrastructure should be considered as a collective good, like roads and other physical infrastructure and we must protect this infrastructure from cyber attacks.
Digital Skills
Seniors need increased and individually-adapted support to develop their digital skills and stay engaged in a digital environment where increasingly services are offered on-line only and digital news platforms are replacing paper.
Scarce resources
Not-for-profits supporting seniors and other groups adapting to the digital economy must continually invest in their own digital skills and infrastructure to ensure adequate and tailored services. A platform to share best practices and success stories could improve and extend services.

Ideas / Outcomes

Partnerships between Private Sector and Not-for-Profits
Private sector resources beyond financial donations, such as IT systems expertise could be incentivized through tax credits to help not-for-profits adapt and improve their own digital skills and capacity.

Attendee List

  1. Centre d’action bénévole Bellechasse-Lévis-Lotbinière
  2. Laval University
  3. Association de la sécurité de l'information du Québec (ASIQ)
  4. Centre R.I.R.E. 2000
  5. Fonds de solidarité FTQ