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Digital Policy Salon: Digital Assets, Digital Administration, Digital Debate?

Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Digital Assets, Digital Administration, Digital Debate?
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #28 • View online
Welcome to the 28th issue of the Digital Policy Salon.
With the Canadian Parliament’s first virtual confidence vote, along with the first ever virtual Presidential Debate in the United States this week, all eyes are on the intersection between technology and formerly familiar public and private proceedings. Onlookers might be reminded of stories of the first televised presidential debates and wonder if Zoom etiquette and the ideal home setting will be among the next generation of tools in this space.
Beyond policy updates, our work this week contains continued labour market updates, an interview on digital HR, and featured research on the status of investment in blockchain in Canada. Each of these reinforces how rapidly technology’s involvement in administration, finance, and daily life is growing, a topic also investigated in this week’s “what we’re reading.”
Finally, pencil us in to your calendars for October: Dr. Peter Taillon, our Senior Data Analyst, will be moderating a panel on Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) technology and its applications for non-passenger vehicles (from garbage pick-ups to snow plows).

Policy Updates 🇨🇦
In the world of public policy, this week was a week of “virtual firsts”
The first virtual vote in Canadian history took place in the Parliament of Canada this week. Along with the introduction of new technical equipment, the government was successful in passing its first confidence vote since the updated speech from the throne last Wednesday.
Below the border, in the United States, the first entirely virtual presidential debate took place.
Recent surveys on the Canadian and global workforces show the future of work as… blended
A PwC survey from July shows that while 6% of respondents worked “primarily remotely” before the pandemic, almost 60% do now. Earlier this moth, the CRA released a set of draft changes to the T4044 tax form to try and accommodate these trends.
Looking forward, employees’ ideal work scenarios are mixed: 37% hope to work either entirely or mostly at the workplace, 34% hope to work either entirely or mostly remotely, and 29% hope to work a 50-50 split.
Meanwhile, a McKinsey survey, also from July, shows that 85% of companies surveyed have accelerated the digitization of their employee interactions and collaboration, while 67% have accelerated the adoption of automation and AI.
Some tech giants still buying office space amid the larger work from home trend
Amazon announced plans to create 3500 new corporate and tech-focused jobs in Vancouver and Toronto this week, where, according to Bloomberg, software engineers are smart, and plentiful.
When asked why the company chose to create location-based jobs in an economy where many other tech companies are going digital by default, one of Amazon’s vice-presidents explained that employees “really value being able to be together and interact in real time to solve interesting customer problems.”
New court decisions continue to provide interesting insights on the application of old laws to new tech
A recent decision by the UK High Court has confirmed that in the UK, a machine learning system or algorithm is not a “natural person” and therefore cannot be regarded as the inventor of a patent under UK patent law. Similarly, two patent applications were refused by the European Patent Office earlier this year on the basis that they “attempted to name a computer system as the sole inventor.”
In line with the UK and EU’s approach, human inventorship is also necessary for a patent and its protections to be valid here in Canada. - Mairead Matthews | email
Our Perspective
COVID-19, Employment, and Wages
Special Events
Join Us For a Virtual Panel Discussion
Interviews in the Field
Emphasis on the Human: The Evolution of HR in a Virtual World
Lindsey Walker, Vice President of Talent at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Lindsey Walker, Vice President of Talent at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
What We're Reading
Blockchain Regulation Is Making Headlines, And That Is Great For Cryptocurrency Development
Research Visualized
As the latest StatsCan labour force data is becoming available, it is becoming clearer that the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been more severe on lower wage workers. Lower wage workers have, on average, seen greater job losses. This effect was particularly pronounced in the immediate aftermath of the nationwide lockdown in March and April but still holds, even with the lifting of lockdowns over the summer.
Our Research
Chain Reaction: Investment in Canada's Blockchain Ecosystem
Twitter Highlights
Health Canada and PHAC
Good job Canada. 🇨🇦 The #COVIDAlert exposure notification app has been downloaded 3 million times! Keep doing your part to reduce the spread of #COVID19. 📱 Download the app today:
Talk to Us 💬
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