Open data – where is Canada going?

Since 2008, Canada’s federal government has done much to respond to calls for Open Data components in its ‘Digital Government’ framework. Canada’s federal digital governance regime is widely studied by journalists, data scientists, and government evaluators around the world; and has provoked debates on data standards, quality, and utilization. The 3rd International Open Data Conference […]

Time for Action on Drones?: Regulators may soon need to devote attention to unmanned flight

The rise of drones; small, unmanned air vehicles capable of being controlled remotely from great distances, is permeating the public consciousness, and the time may be coming for clarifying regulatory action to set out citizens’ rights and responsibilities, establish their legitimate uses, and regulate their airspace.   A recent petition, signed by over 1,000 artificial […]

The Transportation Network Company? New Regulatory Category for Uber in California

Uber doesn’t comfortably fit into existing regulations. As its global expansion opens new fronts in its battles with regulators and governments around the world, a full range of responses has been deployed to deal with its impact on local taxi industries. Cab drivers in Ontario have launched a $400 million class action lawsuit against the […]

Full of Hot Air? Municipal Governments Seek to Tax the Cloud

As bricks-and-mortar retailers close their doors, businesses rooted in e-commerce are booming. Companies like Amazon and Netflix evolved in the relatively unregulated space of the internet, and industrial-age tax codes aren’t yet equipped to properly harvest the revenue from them  to which they’re entitled. As a result, governments around the world are faced with dwindling […]

Reexamining the need for cultural content protection

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has exempted popular streaming video provider Netflix from its Canadian cultural content (CanCon) quotas, allowing consumers access to unregulated, market-driven content based entirely on consumer demand and acquisition purchase rights. Since its Canadian market entry, the company has courted controversy by refusing to respect broadcasting rules which apply […]

Labour in the ‘Gig economy:’ Are Uber Drivers Employees or Contractors?

Employment status has traditionally been a clear-cut affair; workers are either employees, contractors, or unemployed, and have been treated as such for legal and tax purposes by governments. But digitally disruptive companies in the loosely affiliated ‘Sharing Economy’ are increasingly blurring these distinctions. Hard political questions are being asked, as governments begin to think seriously […]

Uber’s data sharing partnership with the City of Boston

As cities across Canada and around the world struggle to come to a workable accommodation with ride-sharing services and other ‘sharing economy’ startups, the City of Boston broke new ground on the issue by entering into a revolutionary data sharing partnership with Uber that will allow it to take advantage of the data generated by […]

Cities modernizing legislation around short-term rentals to accommodate Airbnb

Peer-to-Peer home sharing service Airbnb has recently succeeded in getting the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, where the company is headquartered, to approve a new law legalizing home sharing of dwellings for up to 90 days in a year, and allowing the practise year round if the owner is present during their guest’s stay. […]

Insurance and the Sharing Economy

Insurance policies have traditionally been binary propositions; customers purchase either personal or commercial insurance depending on whether or not the insured item or time is for personal or commercial use. Yet the rise of the ‘sharing economy’ is increasingly blurring this distinction, and the sector’s users and contractors do not readily conform to such black […]

Banning Uber may be Promoting Local innovation in Western Canada

Much ink has been spilled recently over the seeming impotence of local governments in the face of ridesharing service Uber, which has been posing insoluble dilemmas for local officials charged with regulating the taxi market. But ultimately, governments retain the authority to forbid the operation of a service that they believe undermines a public good. […]

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*This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.