media release

Van Jones and Anne-Marie Slaughter come to Vancouver to talk about the future of work

SFU Public Square 2018 Community Summit tackles the shifting workplace with Brave New Work: How can we thrive in the changing world of work?

February 01, 2018

On February 28, Simon Fraser University’s Public Square will bring renowned thought-leaders Van Jones and Anne-Marie Slaughter to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre as the flagship event of the 2018 Community Summit: Brave New Work.

Presented in partnership with Vancity, The New World of Work: Thriving or Surviving? features Jones and Slaughter—moderated by CBC’s award-winning journalist Laura Lynch. Jones and Slaughter will discuss the current and future landscape of work and how green jobs, emergent industries, education and public policy can offer solutions to some of the challenges ahead.

“Technological advances and globalization are disrupting how work is being organized and valued,” says Janet Webber, executive director of SFU Public Square. “The new world of work is already here, and we are trying to understand this new and constantly shifting landscape.”

“We hear daily from our members about the changing nature of work,” says Vanessa Geary, Labour Portfolio Manager at Vancity. “For some it’s a challenge to overcome, while others are taking advantage of new opportunities. This community summit offers a chance to come together and develop strategies that meet their needs.”

The Summit will run from Feb. 26 to Mar. 7 hosting 14 events over 10 days. Public and private events will address topics such as emerging trends and opportunities in Canada, what blockchain means for securities in the workplace, and solutions for independent workers.

“The future is still ours to define,” Webber says. “This year’s community summit provides us with the opportunity to consider what collective and individual actions we can take to ensure that we can all thrive.”

Tickets to The New World of Work: Thriving or Surviving? and other Community Summit events are available through SFU Public Square’s website.



Van Jones is the President and Founder of Dream Corps, an organization that brings people together to solve America’s toughest problems. He is the host of The Messy Truth with Van Jones, a CNN political contributor, a best-selling author, and former green jobs special advisor to the Obama Administration.

Anne-Marie Slaughter is the President and CEO of New America, a think ​and action ​tank dedicated to renewing America in the Digital Age. Slaughter is a Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton, was formerly the Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department, and her 2012 article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” quickly became one of the most-read articles in The Atlantic’s history.



Numerous reports and studies have forecast ominous statistics regarding the current and future state of careers and employment:

  • According to Statistics Canada, less than half of Canadians aged 25-54 have permanent full-time jobs
  • From Deloitte’s Intelligence Revolution report, “more than 90 percent of jobs created in 2015 and 2016 were temporary positions—and paid, on average, over 30 percent less than permanent positions.”
  • In Deloitte’s Rewriting the rules for the digital age report, while a career may span 60 years, the half-life of a learned skill is only five years.
  • An Intuit Canada study projects that full– and part-time freelancers, independent contractors and on-demand workers are expected to make up 45 per cent of the work force by 2020.



Community Summit

  • Each year, SFU Public Square convenes a Community Summit focused on an issue of public concern offering a series of thematic programs creating space for citizens, the university, and community partners to jointly research, discuss, and identify solutions.
  • Brave New Work is the 6th annual Community Summit, this year exploring current and future trends affecting the workplace including automation, globalization, the gig economy and labour policy.
  • This year’s Summit features 14 events over 10 days.
  • Since 2012, SFU Public Square Community Summits have featured 49 events with over 20,000 attendees.
  • Former Community Summit topics have addressed: social isolation and belonging in urban centres; the economic future of British Columbia; innovation in the economy, environment, health and education; city building; and Canada’s foreign policy and cultural role in the world.
  • Keynote lecturers at past Community Summits include Google’s Director of Engineering, Ray Kurzweil; urban theorist, Richard Florida; former US Secretary of Labour, Robert Reich; and, former co-director of Planning for the City of Vancouver, Larry Beasley.


SFU Public Square

  • Launched in February 2012.
  • Part of SFU’s Strategic Vision to become the leading engaged university defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement.
  • Mandate to spark, nurture and restore community connections and be the go-to convener of serious and productive conversations about issues of public concern.
  • Involved in over 35 public events per year.
  • Keynote lecturers at past SFU Public Square events include Edward Snowden, Naomi Klein, and Wab Kinew.
  • Current programs include SFU City Conversations, SFU President’s Faculty Lecture Series, Metro Conversations and the SFU Vancouver Speaker Series.
  • Supports and facilitates convening needs of government, businesses and community organizations on a fee-for-service basis with past clients include the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and Public Health Association of BC.




The Future of Work in Canada: Emerging Trends and Opportunities – Feb 26

Presented in partnership with Deloitte, presentations and panels will feature representatives from Deloitte, Vancity, the Brookfield Institute, and Futurpreneur offering perspectives and analysis building upon their research and reports. Presenters and panelists will address the trends and opportunities facing the future of work and set the stage for the Community Summit.


Work in the 21st Century: Innovations in Research – Feb 26

A showcase of current SFU research and projects that will impact the new world of work, co-hosted by SFU Vancouver, SFU Innovates, SFU Beedie School of Business and the Vancity Office of Community Engagement.


ReFrame Work – Feb 27-28

ReFrameWork is a national gathering of select thought leaders and innovators on the topic of the future of work hosted by RADIUS SFU and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Over two days the event will explore how Canada can lead in forming new systems for good work, and understand where the richest opportunities are to engage Canadians in building these new models.


Basic Income: Progressive Hopes and Neoliberal Realities – Feb 27

Presented in partnership with SFU’s Institute for the Humanities, this panel discussion will analyze the benefits and drawbacks of Universal Basic Income with perspectives on the Ontario government’s pilot project and whether British Columbia should follow.


The New World of Work: Thriving or Surviving? – Feb 28

Presented in partnership with Vancity, CBC correspondent Laura Lynch will moderate a conversation with Van Jones and Anne-Marie Slaughter, two leading commentators on the American economy, discussing the role that citizens, governments and civil society can play in shaping the future of work.


City Conversations: Making Visible the Invisible: The Intersectionality of Invisible Labour – Mar 1

An open dialogue with experts on the experiences of gender in the 21st century workplace with a focus on intersectionality, co-presented by the SFU Women’s Centre.


Skillshare – Mar 1

In partnership with the Urban Worker Project, Skillshare will connect over 150 independent workers for a day long gathering of mutual learning, skill sharing, expert advice, and community building.


Climate of Work: How Does Climate Change Affect the Future of Work? – Mar 1

A partnership with Embark, three emerging professionals will reflect on how climate change is currently impacting their respective fields and how it is shaping their future.


Symposium on Representations of Labour in Art – Mar 3-4

Local artists and community members are invited to discuss the future of creative work and aesthetic expressions of labour in arts and culture. Presented in partnership with SFU’s Institute for the Humanities.


Worker Writers School and the Poetics of Labour – Mar 3-4

SFU’s Labour Studies Program co-presents an invite-only two-day creative writing workshop on stories and experiences of workers culminating in a free public reading hosted in part by the Vancouver Public Library.


Beyond Bitcoin: Blockchain and the Future of Work – Mar 6

A panel discussion on how blockchain technology and how cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, allow for the decentralized exchange of value and information and could bring a new layer of security and transparency to a number of industries. The event is co-presented by the SFU Beedie School of Business Graduate Business Student Association.


Work and Purpose Later in Life – Mar 6

A SFU Philosopher’s Café co-presented with the SFU Liberal Arts & 55+ Program discussing how the changing world of work affects older adults.


Building Your Resilience: Learn Key Strategies for Enhancing your Success Now and in the Future – Mar 7

This interactive event for SFU students, co-presented by SFU Health Promotion, will share key strategies for enhancing resilience and well-being that will support student success future careers.





As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 150,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.




Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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