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Digital Policy Salon: Speech from the Throne Special Issue

Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Speech from the Throne Special Issue
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #27 • View online
Welcome to the 27th issue of the Digital Policy Salon.
Yesterday’s Speech from the Throne outlined the Canadian Liberal Government’s priorities for the coming term in Parliament. Announcements included a plan to create one million jobs, with a focus on the sustainable economy, workforce upskilling and reskilling, digital infrastructure, and more: our expanded Policy Updates section this week covers key takeaways from the speech’s content.
Commentary following the speech focused on support for Canadians who have lost work due to COVID (including the CERB and its transition to EI and other benefits), and our first perspective piece takes on this topic. A smaller mention, but an essential conversation for the digital economy, is the move to consider digital taxation: this complex topic is addressed in a second piece on taxing digital goods and services. In addition, our interview piece and weekly “what we’re reading” section both examine the potential impact that better digital infrastructure could have on Canadian employment and wellbeing.
The theme of job creation and training in the digital economy is a core component of our recent Revised Labour Market Outlook for 2022, a publication featured in our research section. Finally, our twitter highlight underscores a new online program offering in software engineering and data science for youth across Canada.
Thank you, as always, for joining us in this week’s issue. If you haven’t yet had a chance to let us know what you think of our content, we appreciate your feedback.

Policy Updates 🇨🇦
On Wednesday, the government of Canada delivered its updated throne speech for the 43rd Parliament. Among the initiatives outlined by the government are many that ICTC’s research, policy, and programs have covered and reinforced, including Canada’s cleantech opportunityretraining and upskillingimproving digital services and infrastructure, and support for women’s labour market and entrepreneurship opportunities. 
Below is a summary of the initiatives and measures most relevant to the digital economy. 
While the government has yet to provide the specific details, implementation measures, and funding arrangements that would bolster this plan, a document outlining this, in addition to Canada’s current economic and fiscal position is expected later this fall. 
Emergency measures to support economic recovery 
The government is launching a campaign “to create over one million jobs,” a figure which would restore employment to pre-COVID levels. This plan includes a number of emergency measures, such as:  
Long term plans for a resilient digital economy echo the priorities outlined in ICTC’s recent whitepaper 
The government’s plan for the digital economy includes new and renewed investment in digital infrastructure and training/upskilling programs. Among other things, the government has proposed to: 
  • Fund training/upskilling programs in growing sectors. 
  • Accelerate the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy, which helps Canadian women grow their businesses. 
  • Scale the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, which creates paid work experiences for young Canadians. 
Investments in clean tech, clean energy, and green infrastructure are a cornerstone of the government’s plan to create jobs
Proposals on these topics include plans to: 
  • Support job growth by investing in retrofitting, climate resiliency, and new transport options. 
  • Accelerate timelines for the Universal Broadband Fund, with a continued focus on eliminating the infrastructure gap for Indigenous Communities.  
  • Legislate a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and help industries like manufacturing, natural resources, and energy get to net-zero. 
  • Create a zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) strategy, including support for charging stations and other ZEV infrastructure, and support for Canada’s nickel and copper companies (which contribute to the production of ZEV batteries). The government also plans to make Canada a top destination for ZEV companies.   
  • Support the transition to clean energy through a new Clean Power Fund and new investments in renewable energy, clean energy, and clean tech solutions.  
Finally, in terms of internet policy, the government has proposed changing tax legislation to address corporate tax avoidance by digital giants, in addition to new measures to address online hate. - Mairead Matthews | email
Our Perspective
Millions of Canadians Accessed Government COVID Supports: Who were they, and were any missed?
Taxing the Digital Landscape: Regions around the world move to tax digital trade
Interviews in the Field
Sheltering in Place and Offline: The impact of COVID-19 and broadband access on First Nations communities
Denise Williams, CEO of the First Nations Technology Council
Denise Williams, CEO of the First Nations Technology Council
What We're Reading
Forget What You Thought About ‘Digital Nomads’
Research Visualized
The ‘second wave’ known to accompany epidemics and pandemics is a much-discussed phenomenon these days. A historical lens points to the second wave of the 1918 flu pandemic, which caused even more significant damages than the first, but some analyses find that expectations of such waves shouldn’t be assumed.
Still, as the graphic of Toronto above demonstrates, a second wave appears to be beginning before our eyes, and the throne speech made reference to this, acknowledging that the fall surge seen to date means that “we must do even more.” The speech included mentions of ramping up testing, ensuring Canadians can access a vaccine when it is available, and continuing efforts to make protective equipment more widely accessible.
Our Research
The Digital-Led New Normal: Revised Labour Market Outlook for 2022
Twitter Highlights
In partnership with @QwasarSV, we are excited to announce the launch of a #software engineering program and a data science #training program accessible entirely online across Canada. ICTC is piloting this online platform funded by the Government of Canada.
Talk to Us 💬
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Subscribe to ICTC’s flagship newsletter here.
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