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President Dave Bulmer leads “The Future of the Workplace” panel for IPAC New Professionals event

Publish date: Wednesday, August 04, 2021 update

Screenshot of IPAC panel with Bulmer, Kang, Barata and Fior

President Dave Bulmer moderated a thought-provoking, instructive panel on July 22 for the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) Toronto Chapter’s second annual New Professionals conference as part of AMAPCEO’s sponsorship of the conference. The panel was titled “The Future of the Workplace,” and panelists included Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre; Brian Fior, Chief Talent Officer for the Ontario Public Service; and Kiran Kang, Associate at Goldblatt Partners.

Bulmer’s incisive questions gave panelists the opportunity to offer their insights on what the future holds for professionals who are at the start of their public service career, and on how COVID-19 could potentially shape the workplace for months and even years to come.

Kiran Kang pointed out that COVID-19 has demonstrated that greater flexibility in workplaces did not mean decreased productivity. She emphasized out the impact this could have going forward for all workers, but especially those who require accommodation.

Both Pedro Barata and Brian Fior echoed this point, with Barata suggesting that remote work could help expand the workforce to include more people from across the province and Fior noting that opportunities for accommodation will give the Ontario public service greater access to the diversity of the province and the talents of underrepresented groups. 

When Bulmer asked about the workplace of the future, Kang predicted that employees and employers would be looking for a way to build hybrid workplaces, and noted that the AMAPCEO collective agreements already have strong provisions for this.

“I think we’ll see a balance between flexibility on the one hand and work identity and community on the other,” Kang said. “We need to be aware of the human need for mentorship and community, especially for new and young workers.”

Community and interconnection were also themes of the panel, with Barata stating his belief that collaboration and integration, already a hallmark of the public service, will more important than ever in the future. “Engagement can’t be pro forma,” he said. “Public servants need to meet people where they are.”

Brian Fior echoed this point when Bulmer asked him about the value of the public service going forward, reiterating the importance for public service engagement and hearing a wide variety of voices. “The public service is what enables a democratic and equitable society,” he said. “That’s why it needs to bring diverse voices to the table to help find solutions to difficult problems.”


More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).