Digital Policy Salon: Digital Platforms, Party Platforms

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Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Digital Platforms, Party Platforms
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #48 • View online
Welcome to the 48th issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing.
In anticipation of the upcoming federal election, Canadian parties have released their platforms, with many proposals related to the labour market and digital economy. Our policy updates highlight several of these and point our readers towards helpful overviews of each party’s materials.
This week’s featured interview by ICTC’s Director of Data Science Rob Davidson digs into open banking and open finance in Canada, and the role that regulation can play in this sector. We’re also proud to feature new research on emergent employment. Through a first-of-its kind survey of gig economy and remote workers in Canada, this study examines the trends we can expect to last in a post-pandemic work environment.
Finally, be sure to check out “what we’re listening to” for a thoughtful examination of the technologies we use every day, as well as our featured tweet for an opportunity to work with us at ICTC.
- Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)

Policy Updates 🇨🇦
The 2nd session of the 43rd Parliament was dissolved on Sunday, triggering the 44th federal election. The election campaign will last 36 days and end on September 20th.
While most of the legislation that was passed over the past 21 months was related to the pandemic response or government spending, four key pieces of legislation that did receive Royal Assent:
  • Established the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday (Bill C-5)
  • Incorporated a pledge to uphold Indigenous Treaties into the citizenship oath (Bill C-8)
  • Legally underpinned the UN Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples (Bill C-15)
  • Created a new requirement for the federal government to publish formal greenhouse gas reductions targets every five years until 2050 (Bill C-12)
Three other Bills related to the digital economy were not passed. To become law, they will need to be re-introduced during the next Parliament:
Bill C-11, the Digital Charter Implementation Act, sought to implement Canada’s Digital Charter and modernize Canada’s privacy legislation. Among other things, Bill C-11 sought to:
  • Require organizations that use automated decision-making systems (such as AI) to inform individuals about their use, and share more information about their use
  • Establish data mobility provisions and the right to erasure
  • Give the federal Privacy Commissioner order making powers and establish stronger penalties
Bill C-10 sought to update the Broadcasting Act by subjecting Netflix, Prime, Hulu, and other internet giants to the same regulations as traditional broadcasters. Among other things, internet broadcasters would have to host a certain amount of Canadian Content on their sites, and fund the production of new Canadian content.
Bill C-36 sought to clarify the definition of online hate speech and make it easier for victims of online hate speech to launch formal complaints.
Several outlets have published comprehensive overviews of each of the party platforms, involving policy proposals relevant to the digital economy, including the Macleans 2021 Federal Election Platform Guide.
According to the guide, the Liberal Party’s platform proposes to:
  • Support high-speed internet access in rural and remote areas with $1 billion over six years for the Universal Broadband Fund
  • Implement a Digital Services Tax of three per cent on revenue of digital services from Canadian users for businesses with revenues exceeding the an OECD-set threshold of 750 million euros.
  • Increase the wage subsidy to $7,500 per person in the Student Work Placement Program for post-secondary students while also expanding employers’ access to the program, for $239.8 million.
Meanwhile, the Conservative Party’s platform proposes to:
  • Connect all of Canada to high-speed internet by 2025; and allow foreign telecom firms to offer services in Canada if their countries reciprocate.
  • Establish a Canadian Advanced Research Agency to fund cutting-edge technologies such as carbon capture and storage, hydrogen fuel, small modular reactors, electric vehicle development and pharmaceutical research and production.
  • Move the Scientific Research & Experimental Development program from the CRA to Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada; and cut the income tax rate in half for new patented technologies developed in Canada.
Finally, the New Democratic Party’s platform proposes to:
  • Enact a price cap on cell phone and internet bills to ensure Canadians don’t pay more than the global average; require telecom providers to offer unlimited wireless data at affordable rates; and introduce a Telecom Consumers’ Bill of Rights.
  • Create a “centre of excellence” for research and development of zero-emission vehicles to advance technologies such as hydrogen, batteries and energy storage; and waive the federal sales tax on all zero-emissions vehicle purchases.
  • Expand domestic manufacturing capacity and supply chains for critical sectors including auto, aerospace, shipbuilding, construction materials, pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment.
The Macleans Guide also provides an overview of Green Party platform commitments, and commitments from the Bloc Québécois will be released shortly here.
ICYMI
Closing the Gap & Building Resilience: Technology-Driven Rural Development
Closing the Gap & Building Resilience: Technology-Driven Rural Development
Interviews in the Field
Fintech and Open Finance: A conversation with Plaid’s Ben White
What We're Listening To
41 Questions For The Technologies We Use, and That Use Us
Research Visualized
Attitudes about remote work. Source: ICTC Survey
Attitudes about remote work. Source: ICTC Survey
In ICTC’s report Emergent Employment: Canadian Findings on the Future of Work, people who’d been remote workers before the pandemic occurred replied to a survey about their experiences as remote workers. Their answers may help to set expectations for those among us who, as a result of the pandemic, are still in the somewhat early days of working remotely.
Sentiments about remote work, especially during the pandemic, were not straightforward. The figure above demonstrates this complexity: while four out of five respondents agreed that they would work from home forever and that working from home makes things easier for their family, more than a third of respondents noted feeling isolated, four in ten noted never being able to completely sign off for the day, and more than half said they were expected to always be available when working from home. Other of ICTC’s survey findings suggest that those who began working from home as a result of the pandemic were more likely to report feeling isolated and lonely than those who had always worked from home (48% vs 32%), however, nearly half (46%) said they wish to continue to work from home after the pandemic.
Our Research
Emergent Employment: Canadian Findings on the Future of Work
Twitter Highlights
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