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Digital Policy Salon: Smart Infrastructure Softening the Pandemic's Blow

Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Smart Infrastructure Softening the Pandemic's Blow
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #26 • View online
Welcome to the 26th issue of the Digital Policy Salon weekly briefing.
This week, we’re returning to “Smart Cities” to learn about the contributions they can make to a post-COVID world. In policy this week, energy-efficiency and data governance are at the forefront, both important topics for the coming months. Our perspective piece examines telehealth and its rapid acceleration during the pandemic, while an interview from the Technology and Human Rights Series highlights the complexity of AI governance. Finally, our featured research provides an overview of smart city priority areas and labour market readiness based on an assessment of municipalities across Canada.
In addition, please take a moment if you did not last week to fill out a short reader survey below. We’d like to hear from you!
Faun, Khiran, and Tyler

How Can We Improve?
Policy Updates 🇨🇦
Academics, civil society groups, and investors are advocating for economic recovery centred around climate change
An independent task force of financial and environmental policy experts has released a report calling on government to invest in energy efficient buildings; jumpstart the production and adoption of zero-emissions vehicles; and grow Canada’s clean energy and clean technology sectors.
The report echoes many of ICTC’s own recommendations: to direct infrastructure and other stimulus spending at green and clean energy production, as well as to support investment in clean energy.
These requests come at a time when climate change is making itself known throughout the world in the form of extreme weather events, unprecedented wildfires, melting ice sheets, and more.
On Monday, an investor group managing $47 trillion in assets targeted 161 of the world’s top polluting companies, which account for about 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The investor group is asking for more action from companies to “get to net-zero” and meet the terms of the 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming.  
Tensions rise internationally over cross-border data flows due to intellectual property, privacy, and national security concerns
The Swiss data protection authority has followed in the footsteps of Europe’s top court, concluding that the Swiss-US Privacy Shield provides Swiss residents an inadequate level of privacy protection. The European Court of Justice struck down the EU-US Privacy Shield earlier this year, in July.
Internet company ByteDance has reportedly reached a deal with a US tech firm just four days away from its government-imposed sales deadline. The US government threatened to ban TikTok in August over national security concerns, unless the company sells its US business by September 20th.
Similar bans have been imposed by India and the United Kingdom over threats to sovereignty, national security, and the public order. - Mairead Matthews | email
Our Perspective
Telehealth: From Good Idea to Indispensable Public Policy
Interviews in the Field
The Future of AI Governance
Carina Prunkl, Senior Research Scholar at the University of Oxford
Carina Prunkl, Senior Research Scholar at the University of Oxford
What We're Reading
Meet the students who say school remote learning in the pandemic is a big win
Research Visualized
In Europe, the COVID-19 recovery plan appears to be one of environmental recovery as well. Last year’s European Green Deal committed to climate neutrality by 2050, and the recent COVID-19 recovery plan demonstrates a renewed devotion to the Green Deal. EU green stimulus spending is expected to reach 249 billion USD, compared to just 1.4 billion in China. This stimulus spending also accounts for a significant proportion of the EU’s total stimulus: more than 20%, compared to 1.1% in the United States.
Government announcements of stimulus spending. Source: IMF, Rhodium Group.
Government announcements of stimulus spending. Source: IMF, Rhodium Group.
Our Research
Smart City Priority Areas and Labour Readiness of Canadian Cities
Twitter Highlights
Calgary Economic Dev
Save the date - Economic Outlook 2021, presented by
@atbfinancial, is going virtual. Join us to hear future economic trends and forecasts for #Calgary, Alberta and Canada. Registration opens soon > #Outlook2021 #neweconomy #yycenergy #TeamCalgary
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