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Digital Policy Salon: Biodiversity Tech and Other Under-Resourced Fields

Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Biodiversity Tech and Other Under-Resourced Fields
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #44 • View online
Welcome to the 44th issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing.
This week, we’re thinking about technology’s role in larger ecosystems, literally and figuratively. First, ICTC’s new study Work in Progress examines novel occupations that have emerged because of the unprecedented interconnectedness between technology and urban life. The urban technology ecosystem also connects quite literally to natural ecosystems. In one of our featured interviews, on bats (and inevitably, technology) we were struck by the conversation on anthropogenic habitat loss. Ironically, new high-quality developments threaten bat species that have long made their homes in human attics. Citizen science and new technologies are being mustered to address this challenge.
Our second interview shines a light on another under-resourced sector: additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing, while “what we’re reading” examines online content moderation practices. Finally, our policy updates grapple with important developments in telecommunications policy, economic recovery, and cybersecurity. We’ll leave you to it, and thank you for joining us for another issue.
- Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)

Policy Updates 🇨🇦
Statistics Canada data shows positive GDP growth for March 2021, possible decline in April
Statistics Canada’s recent economic update shows that Canadian gross domestic product (GDP) grew again in March, by 1.1 percent, marking 11 consecutive months of GDP growth. However, Canada’s economic output remained “about 1% below the observed level in February 2020.” Preliminary data for the month of April suggests the economy shrank by 0.8 percent in April following the most recent wave of lockdowns.
CRTC reverses 2019 decision to require lower wholesale internet rates
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced on Thursday that is has reversed a 2019 decision to mandate lower wholesale internet rates (e.g., the rates that incumbent telecom companies can charge independent internet service providers (ISPs) for network access).
The Chair of the Competitive Network Operators of Canada, which advocates for independent ISPs, has warned that the cost of internet is likely to increase “immediately” as ISPs adjust their business plans. Meanwhile, incumbent telecom companies like Bell and Rogers have cautioned the CRTC’s 2019 rates “would have had them selling at a loss,” in turn impacting their ability to expand network infrastructure into rural areas.
Federal government launches new “Canada Greener Homes Grants”
Natural Resources Canada has launched a new grant program called the Canada Greener Homes Grant to help homeowners make energy efficient retrofits to their homes. Participants are eligible for up to $5,600 in grants and expert advice, and qualifying products must be purchased in Canada.
Canadian cyberspace must be a “harder target,” Communications Security Establishment Chief warns
Shelly Bruce, Chief of the Canadian Security Establishment (CSE) has called cyber crime the “most prevalent, most pervasive threat to Canadians and Canadian businesses,” warning that state-sponsored actors are probing Canada’s government systems and critical infrastructure with “strategic intent.” Recent high-profile attacks, like those on JBS, Colonial Pipeline, and Canada Post, show the potential impact of malware attacks.
In a recent interview with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Chief Bruce highlighted some of the crucial cybersecurity roles needed in her organization. These include tech roles like engineers, mathematicians, code makers and code breakers, computer and data scientists, software developers, cybersecurity and malware analysts, and reverse engineering specialists, and tech-adjacent roles like linguists, analysts, and researchers. - Mairead Matthews
Special Events
You're Invited to Winnipeg's Smart Cities Community Engagement Session
Interviews in the Field
Green Tech: Bats, Biodiversity, and Building Databases
Building the Future, Layer by Layer (Pt 2)
What We're Reading
More Content Moderation Is Not Always Better
Research Visualized
In 21st Century Digital Skills: Competencies, Innovations and Curriculum in Canada, ICTC conducted primary research into the digital skills (or “core competencies”) that are fundamental for student success after graduation. Responses varied greatly between both technical and human skills (i.e., soft or transferable skills). Respondents represented academia, industry, public policy, educational technology consultancy experts, and Indigenous education and skills development instructors from across Canada. Within these fields, ICTC interviewed a variety of K-12 educators, post-secondary instructors, educational policy experts, school administrators, ICT coordinators, C-suite industry executives, and learning consultants. The chart above depicts human skills that were aggregated from the 20 survey responses to show relative rankings of common themes based on the frequency in which they were mentioned.
Our Research
Work in Progress. Emerging Smart City Occupations
Twitter Highlights
ICTC-CTIC
Last week, @NamirAnani_ICTC, our President & CEO, joined Robert Martellacci for a conversation on #edtech. Listen to him talk about our #WILDigital program and the success of #CyberTitan IV! https://t.co/JMSI7jGzdr
Talk to Us 💬
Send your comments, questions, and tech policy insights to:
Subscribe to ICTC’s flagship newsletter here.
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