Think tank reveals the biggest plausible threats to Canada’s future

In the past few years, the world experienced a myriad of political, economic, societal, and environmental uncertainties, and now a new report has outlined key threats that could have a major impact on Canada.

The findings were published by the Policy Horizons Canada (PHC) panel. They identify and assess 35 disruptions Canada may need to prepare for.

The PHC panel gathered and analyzed input from 500 stakeholders and experts to assess the plausible disruptions based on the likelihood of impact, time horizon, and interconnections.

The report notes that exploring possible disruptions can help Canada get ready for threatening scenarios that could happen.

“Even seemingly distant or improbable events and circumstances can suddenly become reality, while overlapping disruptions can lead to compounded societal impacts,” states Kristel Van der Elst, director general of the panel.

The findings indicate the top disruption likely to happen is people not being able to differentiate between what is true and what is not.


Policy Horizons Canada

The report’s authors highlight that powerful AI tools, a decline in trust in “traditional knowledge sources,” and algorithms that do not prioritize factual reporting all impact people’s ability to grasp the difference between truth and falsehoods.

“More people may live in separate realities shaped by their personalized media and information ecosystems,” states the panel.

“These realities could become hotbeds of disinformation, be characterized by incompatible and competing narratives, and form the basis of fault lines in society.”

The second threat is the loss of biodiversity and the collapse of ecosystems, which experts say could have “cascading impacts on all living things,” eliminating necessary elements for life like clean air, water, and food.

A threat to emergency room response is third on the list, with the report’s authors stating that emergency response may not be able to keep up with the health impacts of climate-induced disasters like fires, floods, and hurricanes.

This scenario would see the world in a “perpetual state of emergency, and unable to respond adequately and sustainably.”

Some of the other most likely disruptions include people not being able to live on their own, mental health crises, and billionaires running the world.

The PHC’s analysis also listed eight disruptions that policymakers need to consider “more thoroughly,” including the possibility of antibiotics no longer working, basic needs being unmet, immigrants choosing not to move to Canada, and a world war breaking out.


Policy Horizons Canada

PHC emphasized that understanding these disruptions can help leaders and policymakers cover all bases to “prepare for a wide range of possibilities.”

“Foresight and conversations about future disruptions can help Canada’s leaders identify challenges, harness possibilities, and create resilient, sustainable policy in the face of the unexpected,” concludes the report’s authors.

The full Disruptions on the Horizon report can be found here.