Back to the future: The sharing economy - a report for Deputy Ministers' Committee on Policy Innovation (DMCPI)
February 2015. Written by DMCPI+
“We are just beginning to glimpse the bare outlines of a new economic system entering on to the world’s stage - it’s called the collaborative commons. This is the first new economic paradigm since the onset of capitalism and its antagonist socialism in the early nineteenth century.”
Jeremy Rifkin, economist, author and social theorist
“We used to live in a world where there were people and there were businesses. Now we live with a third category, which is people as businesses. What that’s doing is bringing the world back to [an older form of economy].”
Brian Chesky, Airbnb Co-founder and CEO
“The UK is embracing new, disruptive business models and challenger businesses that increase competition and offer new products and experiences for consumers. Where other countries and cities are closing down consumer choice, and limiting people’s freedom to make better use of their possessions, we are embracing it.”
Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Energy, UK Government
We are excited to present to you the findings of the Back to the Future - the Sharing Economy report.
The members of our small interdepartmental team, like many of our peers, were already active in the sharing economy (e.g., ride and car-sharing, home-sharing, co-working spaces, co-housing, etc.) prior to being asked to write this report. This first-hand familiarity with this emerging new economy allowed us to dive into the subject matter - this time with a singular focus on what the sharing economy will mean for Canadian society and governments. A few things stayed with us following many conversations with experts, sharing economy entrepreneurs, prosumers1, naysayers and fellow government colleagues.
One, people are ready to have a meaningful conversation about the sharing economy: this topic is in the process of moving from trend-to-watch to the mainstream. It is growing rapidly and has the potential to transform many traditional sectors of our economy.
Two, we have been surprised by the depth in the level of discussion about the sharing economy, and not just from sharing economy practitioners: Canadians we spoke to, including federal public servants, wish to engage in nuanced, honest discussions about the positive and negative implications this disruption will have on the way our society is organized and functions. They also feel that the sharing economy is an important area for the federal government (the Government) to explore but recognize that so far little work has been done on the topic.
Three, as a growing number of governments at all levels are starting to respond to the sharing economy, the Canadian federal Government has the opportunity to formulate its own response and decide on how best to react in order to amplify positive impacts and lessen negative ones.
Lastly, this report could not have been more timely. Since we started this project, there has not been a day without media coverage on the topic. Most recently, CBC Radio’s Ideas show undertook a 3-part series on the sharing economy, dedicating most of its December 2014 episodes to the topic. Parliamentarians have also started asking questions with respect to the Government’s role in taxing and regulating selected sharing economy companies.
The report does not represent the official views of the Government of Canada. However, we are hopeful that it will serve as a first step toward the development of a federal response to the sharing economy.
We look forward to continuing the conversation.
The sharing economy describes how peer-to-peer technology and changing economic and environmental values are dramatically altering the fundamental questions - who, what, where, when and how - related to the production and consumption of goods and services. These and other factors are driving a growing number of sharing economy companies, consumers, and people-as-businesses to choose shared access over ownership for an increasing number of goods and services.
Global revenues of five key sharing economy sectors (accommodation, transport, music and video streaming, online staffing and peer lending/crowd funding) are estimated to grow from $15 billion in 2013 to $335 billion by 2025. Canada is embracing the trend, with an increasing number of Canadians using Canadian-based sharing startups and Canadian chapters of international startups. At the same time, not all are enthusiastically receiving the disruption; negative aspects do exist. As the sharing economy continues to grow, so will the list of winners and losers, prompting a growing need to carefullyexplore all aspects of this new economic model. Governments at all levels have attempted to respond to the rise of the sharing economy and there are now a patchwork of rules and regulations worldwide. Several governments have clamped down on sharing economy companies while others have developed proactive legislation or policies to encourage peer-to-peer businesses.
This report summarizes the results of our primary and secondary research on activities and views related to the sharing economy, from both a global and Canadian perspective. It also incorporates insights from leading Canadian sharing economy entrepreneurs as well as views from federal public servants. The report provides a list of possible actions the Government of Canada could pursue as it formulates a response to the opportunities and risks offered by the sharing economy. Key potential areas of focus for the Government are identified as follows:
- Understand and measure the impact of the sharing economy.
- Review and update relevant policies, regulations and codes to ensure they remain relevant and reflect the changing nature of the way goods and services are produced and consumed.
- Develop guidance and clarify rules for consumers, prosumers, and businesses.
- Amplify positive impacts created by the sharing economy while mitigating its negative effects.
- Explore opportunities to collaborate and convene other actors interested and involved in the sharing economy to develop proactive policies.
- Lead by example and embrace the opportunities offered by the sharing economy to make its own operations more efficient and achieve its policy goals.
In the spring of 2014, the Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Policy Innovation (DMCPI) launched a Virtual Policy Challenge - the first federal government attempt to crowdsource public servant input on medium-term policy challenges and opportunities. The “sharing economy”, one of dozens of cross-cutting themes identified through this exercise, was chosen by DMCPI as an area of interest for further work. As such, in September 2014, the Committee formally asked a small team of public servants to examine the issue and report back.
Approach and Outreach
With a mandate to understand the sharing economy (locally and globally) and assess the risks and opportunities for the Canadian federal government, our small team focused on engaging Canadians active in the sharing economy, as well as public servants in departments which could have direct interest in the subject. To both explore and exemplify policy innovation, our team designed a collaborative approach that included: (a) using virtual and social media tools (e.g. Google Drive, GCConnex, Poll Everywhere, Twitter, Piktochart); (b) reaching out to team-members’ pre-established networks (e.g. MaRS Studio Y and CSI in Toronto; HUB and the Institute on Governance in Ottawa; the Sharing Project’s in Share Vancouver network) and (c) using face-to-face interaction where possible (twice weekly team meetings, departmental lunch and learns, and in-person events in Ottawa and Toronto).
Below is a snapshot of the extent of our out-reach both virtually and in-person across Canada:
|Extent||Internal Outreach||External Outreach|
(Nov.2014 to Feb. 2015)
|Departmental Brown Bag Lunch Stream: Eight departments and over 225 public servants from various classifications and levels.||City Stream (Ottawa and Toronto): approx. 40 partners/participants including leading entrepreneurs.|
(Dec. 2014; to Feb. 2015)
|GCConnex Stream: About 30 public servants shared their views to a series of weekly questions over four weeks.||City Stream (Vancouver, Montreal): interviews and informal chats with several leading practitioners and enthusiasts.|
Our nimble and non-traditional approach (aggressive timelines, no budget, fairly junior-level team, largely working off the sides of our desk) has led to some constraints (limited time and resources to process large amounts of research, inability to showcase more voices from across Canada), but also many unique opportunities (ability to leverage personal networks and work in a manner consistent with the sharing economy, ability to have frank conversations and to hear voices from different levels in government).
Back to the commons
The term “sharing economy” is being used today to describe a technologically-fuelled return to pre-industrial market behaviours where communities pooled, loaned and shared their resources through networks of trust. Now, a rapidly growing number of individuals and companies are “sharing” (i.e. providing shared access, giving, loaning, renting) an ever-increasing array of goods and services (see Annex A) at unprecedented rates and with an ever-increasing community of strangers. According to the Mesh Index, there are now more than 9,000 startups in the sharing economy space. This revolution is enabled by today’s social, digital, mobile and location-based technology which allows all users of the system to build trust and reputation by exchanging, where required, peer reviews and payment instantaneously.
What are people sharing?
|Transportation||Rides, bikes, cars, boats, planes|
|Space and Accommodations||Homes, rooms, gardens, desks, workspaces, retail space|
|Digital and Physical Media||Music, video, files|
|Lifestyle Services and Experiences||Meals, activities, travel, activism, retirement, dog-care|
|Lifestyle and Household Items||Clothing, jewelry, toys, sports, tools|
|Skills and Education||Skills, trades, university courses|
|Digital Tasks and Employment||Digital freelance, micro-tasking|
|Professional Assets||Science labs, medical assets, heavy equipment|
|Professional Expertise||Expertise from MBAs, doctors, programmers|
|Delivery and Logistics||Global shipping, local errands and services|
|Production||Ideas, products, coding|
|Sharing organizations||Collectives, worker support, industry groups|
|Sharing industry services||Insurance, legal, tax, services to support ride-sharing and home-sharing|
Market disruption: from digital to physical and beyond
Digital file sharing and live streaming have already disrupted the music, movie-rental, newspaper and book-publishing industries, among others. Now the sharing economy is moving this market disruption from the digital sphere into the realm of physical goods, services and beyond. Today, individuals, groups, companies and governments can easily “share” or have shared access to everything from tools and bikes to heavy equipment and science labs. The sharing economy is quickly moving beyond traditional sectors (entertainment, housing, transport) and beginning to disrupt new industries such as education, utilities, retail and the labour market as a whole. This, in turn, is spurring the creation of a secondary layer of services (tax, legal, etc.) and organizations (sharing economy advocacy, workers rights, etc.) in order to respond to this emerging economy.
While many users and practitioners in the sharing economy view the space as a positive development, negative aspects exist. For instance, in most cases, sharing economy companies do not provide insurance, benefits, or training to their workers. This shifts the risks onto individual sharing economy workers who remain unprotected and unsure of their rights and responsibilities. As the sharing economy continues to grow, so will the list of winners and losers, prompting a growing need to carefully explore all aspects of this new economic model.
Is it really about sharing?
Many have criticized the degree to which the “sharing economy” lives up to its name. The term “sharing economy” is an admittedly imperfect umbrella term with loose, ever-evolving boundaries. Early experts in this field, such as Rachel Botsman2 agree that the sharing economy lacks a shared definition and suggest that this emerging economic and social phenomenon is best understood as a combination of terms: the peer-to-peer economy, collaborative consumption, the collaborative economy, the collaborative commons, platform capitalism, the circular economy, the rental/subscription economy, the gig economy, the maker movement and the gift economy. Whatever differing motivations may be driving sharing economy companies, prosumers and consumers, no one can deny that the sharing economy is quite simply making access over ownership easier for a growing number of goods and services.
PriceWaterHouseCoopers has estimated that global revenues of five key sharing economy sectors will grow from US $15 billion in 2013 to US $335 billion by 2025. However, understanding the size and impact of the sharing economy is, and will continue to be, a complex task. This is not only because the boundaries of and industries affected by the sharing economy are ever-evolving but also because our ability to measure this new economic activity (not to mention its impact on public good, sustainability, etc.) has not kept pace with the ever-evolving growth in number and type of transactions. To add further complexity, the sharing economy embraces alternative forms of currency not currently captured by standard economic accounting: reputation scores, alternative currencies (e.g., bitcoin, SolarCoin), conservation points (e.g., negawatts), and platform credits (e.g. Yerdle credits) - to name a few. From daily value generated - to growth over time - to lucrative partnerships - the following infographic illustrates just a few examples of the current and projected size and impact of the sharing economy in select areas.
Poster Children - Aged just seven and six years old respectively, Airbnb and Uber are arguably the “poster children” of the sharing economy. Their widespread impact is not only felt in the short-term accommodation and transportation sectors but is having significant ripple effects, evident in such startups as the “Airbnb for Airbnb” and expressions such as “the Uber-ing of everything”.
The Sharing Economy and Emergency Response
The sharing economy is starting to be seen by governments as a tool to help with disaster preparedness and emergency response. Through partnering with local sharing platforms, cities, provinces and countries are exploring how they can become more resilient in face of disaster.
Sharing economy companies helping to strengthen emergency response
- Following Hurricane Sandy in 2013, Airbnb launched a separate disaster preparedness site, called Airbnb Disaster Response. In the event of a disaster, the Airbnb platform instantly redirects users to a page where hosts can offer beds for free (including no services fees for Airbnb). As of January 2015, Airbnb is offering its platform for people in Malaysia affected by the flood on December 29, 2014.
- In July 2014, the White House invited a number of sharing economy platforms to participate in a Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative Demo Day. The White House’s goal is to promote the connection between the sharing economy and disaster response so that both government and the private sector can aid survivors in the event of large-scale emergencies
At the same time, potential unintended negative impacts of sharing economy platforms, such as the situation described below, show the growing importance of pro-actively building emergency policies and other social considerations into the sharing economy. This will only become increasingly necessary as sharing platforms continue to displace traditional industry providers.
Surge pricing in effect during hostage situation in Sydney, Australia
- On December 14, 2014, Uber briefly charged its users in downtown Sydney a minimum $100 for a ride in an armed hostage crisis area, a result of automatic surge pricing meant to get more drivers online.
- Reports showed the company was charging up to four-times the normal rate because of increased demand. As the press announced the price hikes, Uber reversed course, stating that all rides in the area would be free, and promising refunds for anybody who had been charged the higher amount. The surge pricing remained in place to incent more drivers to pick up passengers from the area, with Uber picking up the tab
- In July 2013, Uber had agreed to put a cap on prices during “abnormal disruptions of the market” (e.g. natural disasters, emergencies) in New York, to comply with state price gouging regulations.
While a growing number of governments are beginning to embrace the sharing economy, a small number of disruptive companies are leading to raging public policy debates and conflicts. In this section, we explore diverse examples of government responses.
Municipal and Regional Governments
Municipal and regional governments have arguably been feeling the impacts of the sharing economy the most, as current municipal bylaws and regulations are posing compliance challenges for sharing economy companies. This has been especially true in the taxi and hotel industry. A scan of municipal and local responses indicates that consensus is yet to be reached on how governments should respond to these disruptive startups. In some cases, municipalities have updated their bylaws and policies to enable and legitimize sharing economy companies. In others, cities have taken special enforcement actions to limit the growth of disruptive businesses.
- In June 2013, the United States Conference of Mayors, an official non-partisan organization for cities with populations exceeding 30,000, adopted a Shareable Cities Resolution which resolves to support policies for more shareable cities in three key ways: (1) raise awareness of the sharing economy by creating new methodologies to measure its impact; (2) create local regulatory review task forces to support the sharing economy and ensure public protection; and (3) actively participate in the sharing economy by “making appropriate publicly owned assets available for maximum utilization by the general public through proven sharing mechanisms.3
- San Francisco has been one of the leaders in incorporating the sharing economy in its municipal laws. For example, in October 2014, the Mayor approved a law permitting short term rentals on home-sharing platforms. The law allows residents to rent out their primary residence, but stipulates that they must collect tax on the revenue they are collecting and must purchase insurance. The law came into effect on February 1, 2015.
In Europe, major sharing economy companies have run into regulatory challenges, exposing the European Union’s uneven response to the rise of the sharing economy. While Barcelona recently fined Airbnb for breaching regional property rental rules, politicians in Amsterdam have passed legislation to enable the local sharing economy. Similarly, Lisbon recently enacted a new rental law meant to help home-sharing companies grow, while also encouraging apartment owners to register their property and pay taxes. Paris is considering a tax on peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions and a levy on Airbnb rentals.
In Asia, since September 2012, the Seoul Government has been implementing the “Sharing City Seoul” project in partnership with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private companies in recognition of the sharing economy’s ability to “resolve many economic, social, and environmental issues of the city simultaneously by creating new business opportunities, recovering trust-based relationships, and minimizing wastage of resources.”4 Seoul’s Sharing City strategy has three parts: change outdated laws and systems, support sharing enterprises, and encourage citizen participation.
National and Federal Governments
The intersection of the sharing economy and federal public policy is still extremely nascent. Involvement in this area seems to be emerging mainly as a reactionary response to the complex issues faced by municipalities and the increasing interest in and uptake of the sharing economy.
Up to now, The United Kingdom (UK) has distinguished itself by leading research on the potential of the sharing economy with the goal to make the UK the global centre for the sharing economy. A recent report commissioned by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills highlights the fact that the sharing economy is already playing a disruptive role in several sectors such as accommodation, skills and transports but also spreading across new sectors (e.g. food, fashion and consumer electronics). While acknowledging the need to ensure consumers are protected, the report encourages the UK to ambitiously embrace the potential of the sharing economy. More specifically, it includes more than 35 recommendations on how to manage the risks and opportunities offered by the sharing economy. While some recommendations are sector-specific, several touch on broad areas of interest to the UK federal government, such as innovation, insurance, procurement, digital inclusion and taxation.
In addition, the British Insurance Brokers’ Association has recently released an insurance guide on the sharing economy which aims to address some of the insurance barriers that have been faced when sharing items or skills. The guide looks at the potential confusion around various sharing economy scenarios (e.g., whether a property owner would need a specialized landlord policy if they are renting out a room in their home).
Following the format of the previous section, we’ve gathered examples of available figures, research and case studies that provide a snapshot of the landscape of sharing in Canada.
Here are just a few examples of the growing impact of sharing economy platforms in Canada:
In fall 2014, Airbnb opened their first Canadian office in Toronto. The move reflects the growing economic value of home-sharing transactions in Canada. It can also been seen as the company positioning itself to more effectively influence regulatory development of the industry in Canada.
Airbnb - In the year 2014 alone, Airbnb saw a 125% increase in the number of Airbnb guests staying in Canada. According to Aaron Zifkin, Airbnb’s country manager for Canada, Airbnb sees Canada as “a top-five priority market around the world” and wants to position the Canadian Airbnb community “to grow as the favourite option for domestic and international travellers.” In November 2014, Airbnb released the results of its “positive impact study” for Montreal - Canada’s largest Airbnb destination. The following are just a few of the highlights of the study, which examined economic, social and environmental impacts related to the Montreal Airbnb community from April 2013 to March 2014:
- Total economic activity was valued at $54 million CAD.
- Airbnb guests in Montreal stay an average of 5 nights and spend an average of $909 compared to 2.7 nights and $760 by typical visitors to Montreal.
- 36% of guests said they either would not have come to Montreal or not stayed as long without Airbnb.
In Ottawa, recent coverage has focused on the impact that the sharing economy is having on local tourism, including on preparations for Canada’s 150th celebration in 2017. A spokesperson for the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association pointed to the decreasing hotel room inventory in the area (citing three recent hotel closures in downtown Ottawa) and stated its intention to make sure that “hotels don’t suffer unfairly in comparison to renters whose use of Airbnb frees them of many of the hotel industry’s constraints and responsibilities.”5
Askfortask - Askfortask is a Toronto-based company that connects users to nearby help and work opportunities. Users post a task and what they are willing to pay for its completion. Respondents can accept the offer, or make counter-offers for either less (to undercut others), or more (based on higher reputation or perceived difficulty). People who post the tasks pay only the amount they advertise, with Askfortask taking a cut from respondents’ payouts. According to its website, Askfortask has currently more than 200,000 service providers available Canada-wide, and has generated over $8 million CAD in economic transactions since its 2012 launch.
Rates of Sharing: How Does Canada Compare?
Thanks to a 2014 study from Crowd Companies, a thought-leader in the sharing economy space, we now have early evidence of self-reported rates of “sharing” (i.e. use of sharing platforms) amongst Canada, the US, and the UK. The study surveyed more than 90,000 people across these three countries and found, for example, that Canada has a higher percentage of “sharers” than the US (29% vs 25%) and a slightly higher percentage of “neo-sharers” than both the US and the UK (25% vs 23%).
See below for a definition of terms.
Municipal and Provincial Governments
Similar to their American and European counterparts, the public actions of Canadian cities regarding the sharing economy have mainly focused on handling the impact of Uber on local industry, while also keeping an eye on the impacts of Airbnb.
With respect to the recent arrival of Uber in Canada, Toronto, the only Canadian city currently permitting its service, applied for an injunction to end the company’s operations. Nevertheless, Mayor John Tory recently voiced his approval of the service, stating that such innovations were “here to stay.” While Vancouver city council has imposed a six month ban on the Uber service to investigate the potential impact on the public and city’s taxi industry, it has also revised its bylaws to promote car-sharing pursuant to its Greenest City Strategy6. Meanwhile, both Montreal and Ottawa have stated that the service is illegal7. At the provincial level, in December 2014, two Ontario Members of Parliament introduced separate private member’s bills to regulate “bandit taxis”. These bills aim to “provide municipalities with stronger tools to enforce their existing rules around taxis8.”
In the tourism sector, exploding use of home-sharing services has pushed Tourism Quebec to establish a special advisory committee to find a more permanent solution to the problem of illegal renting. Representatives from Airbnb have been involved in these discussions. Victoria has gone even further in their discussions and collaboration with Airbnb by identifying areas where they can work with Airbnb, including
- Reexamining relevant zoning and bylaws with a view towards the use of home-sharing;
- Working to ensure a more even playing field by evolving towards a fair taxation approach;
- Working with Airbnb to leverage emergency accommodations in the event of a disaster; and
- Shared promotion of the city and its neighbourhoods and local businesses.
In Canada, the federal government (the Government) has not yet positioned itself into this space, save for Canada’s Competition Bureau. The Canadian Competition Bureau, an independent federal government agency whose responsibility is to foster competition between businesses, made a statement in November 2014 about “digital dispatch services”. In its statement, the Bureau said that such businesses “offer an innovative and convenient alternative to traditional methods of arranging urban transportation.” The traditional taxi industry operates as, what is often viewed as, a monopoly, through tight regulations that limit the number of available vehicles, creating artificial demand, thereby allowing costs to rise. In acknowledging the lack of competition, the Competition Bureau is recommending to municipalities across Canada that they “consider whether prohibitions on digital dispatch services and ridesharing applications are necessary and explore whether less restrictive regulations could adequately address their concerns.”
On the political front, some federal parliamentarians have started to make public statements related to sharing economy companies such as Uber. In October 2014, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs tweeted support for the ride-sharing service. Most recently, on December 12, 2014, the issue of taxation and Uber was raised in parliament when a Quebec MP asked whether the Minister of National Revenue intends to take action and have the Canada Revenue Agency develop a Canada-wide action plan to rein in Uber and regulate all the individuals who transport passengers to ensure they pay their fair share to the Government.
These examples demonstrate the diversity of responses related to the legislative and regulatory environment in which sharing economy companies function.
A growing sharing economy sector in emerging countries?
The sharing economy is rapidly expanding not only in OECD countries but also in the developing world, with hubs for new organizations in a variety of countries such as Brazil, Kenya, and India. Both risks and opportunities associated with this emerging economy have the potential to grow in these countries given their weak regulatory regimes, property rights and governance systems. The International Development Research Center, a Canadian federal Crown corporation that supports research in developing countries, funded a report in 2013 entitled: The Power of Sharing: Exploring the Digital Sharing Economy at the Base of the Pyramid.
Much has been said about the implications and the future of the sharing economy (see google trends graph below)
Proponents of the sharing economy highlight its features: it gives voice to a new social ideal that pushes back against the over-consumption and the connected debt accumulation that caused the Great Recession; it creates new ways to make better use of resources that have remained idle during tough economic times; it democratizes access for resources by lowering prices; it is a boon to cities like New York as they generate income for residents while giving visitors a cheap place to stay, meaning more money is spent in the local economy; it offers huge potential for developing countries which lack regulations to overcome information problems in services and it is, overall, creating a leaner, more efficient kind of consumption.
Detractors argue that the sharing economy: contributes to the commodification of more aspects in our lives; creates a new class of labourer, the ‘precariat’, dependent on precarious work and wages; turns users into ‘perpetual hustlers’; provides fewer services (and income opportunities) to discriminated groups; and has led to the creation of a new type of capitalism, dubbed platform capitalism, where subcontracting and rental economies create big payouts to small groups of people.
Google trends graph results from using the search term
keyword: 'Sharing Economy' (as of December 2014).
Both detractors and proponents agree that despite the opportunities and risks, the sharing economy is likely here to stay and have speculated on where it might be heading.
Views on Medium-Term Trends and their Implications
Nesta recently released six scenarios for the future of the collaborative economy - with a 2025 time frame. The following combines highlights drawn directly from their report:
- The mainstreaming of collaborative consumption creates demand for small-scale production of high quality, ‘shareable’ hyper-productive goods with implications for imports (decrease) and domestic manufacturing (increases).
- The labour force witnesses the rise of the micro-entrepreneur as more people sell their skills and time on collaborative platforms. As a result, precarious and piece work becomes commonplace with implications forincome tax policy(requires updating), tax evasion (increases), and social benefits (decreased access)..
- Alternative currency/time bank hybrids and community-owned assets allow a million local economies to becoming increasingly self-sufficient and autonomous, drawing demand away from national and international markets
- At the same time, a handful of dominant collaborative platforms rise to become international monopolies in their respective sectors resulting in various attempts to increase their profit margin. Competition regulators have minimal success in regulating and differentiating between new ecommerce business models (e.g. B2B, C2C and P2P).
- A collaborative internet of things replaces collaborative platforms as the new standard for on demand, convenient and embedded goods and services. The availability of knowledge/education and financing from any device leads to the decline of formal, centralised institutions (including universities and banks).
- Increased sustainability and the circular economy become default concerns of the collaborative economy given climate change and resource depletion. Governments introduce both incentives and penalties to discourage waste and promote environmentally friendly collaborative economy initiatives.
Nesta’s foresight work suggests that the sharing or collaborative economy will continue to implicate important public policy areas, including in the federal domain. Through the unbundling of employment and the rise of the micro-entrepreneur, for example, a number of federal departments and agencies could be implicated as source tax deductions shift and the relevance of current social assistance models risks becomes increasingly questioned. As more private services move to on-demand, reputation and internet-based mobile platforms, all levels of government services, including government institutions themselves, will be pressured to even further adapt to the changing expectations of their citizens.
As participation in the sharing economy and how it continues to evolve moves more and more from niche to a mainstream source of goods, services and employment, a long list of implications will need to be considered by Canadian governments. These implications and areas for consideration could be wide ranging: from an exacerbation of the rural/urban divide; to the potential use of sharing economy services to aid criminal behaviour; to the creation of new policies and infrastructure to help Canadian sharing economies compete with their international counterparts.
The fact that the sharing economy will create winners and losers is obvious. What remains to be determined is what the overall impact will be on Canadian society and the degree to which proactive government responses can positively shape the outcomes of sharing economy. For a list of possible areas of focus for the Canadian Government, see Part 3.
Given the emerging nature of this issue, an essential aspect of our research was the primary research we conducted through a series of outreach events both across and outside the federal public service. By conducting our internal (federal public service) outreach both virtually (GCConnex) and in-person (lunch and learns and other events), we were able to connect with and hear from a wide range of public servants. For our city stream, we conducted interviews with sharing economy entrepreneurs and prosumers in Vancouver and Montreal and co-created in-person evening workshops in Toronto and Ottawa. Here is an overview of the unique and diverse collection of insights we gathered on the sharing economy and its implications (for Canadian governments).
- Vancouver - In Vancouver, a series of interviews and informal conversations with practitioners in the local sharing economy occurred during December 2014 and January 2015. Interviewees included: the co-founder of the Vancouver Tool Library and lead researcher for The Sharing Project; and the co-founder and Director of Project Operations for Vancouver Cohousing. Informal conversations occurred with: members of Share Vancouver, a network of sharing organizations (e.g. GoTogether, The HiVE, Modo The Car Co-op, Time Pooch, Share Shed, Vancouver Public Library, The Vancouver Tool Library among others), and individuals involved in the local sharing economy; staff at the City of Vancouver involved in enabling the sharing economy; and with participants in the sharing economy.
- Montreal - For Montreal, an interview with the CEO of E-180 (a peer-learning platform) was organized. The discussion focused on better understanding the Montreal sharing landscape (Breather, Provender, Swap Team, among others) as well as some of the challenges and opportunities local sharing economy entrepreneurs face.
- Toronto - The Toronto event was held on December 1, 2014 at MaRS Discovery District, and was co-organized with the assistance and partnership of MaRS Studio Y, CSI and the hosts of the 2014ShareFEST TO. Participants included local sharing economy practitioners, CEOs and entrepreneurs from the private (AskforTask), non-for-profit (TorontoTool Library, Trashswag) and the social and partnership spheres (Collaborative Consumption Toronto, Social Innovation Generation). The event began with a #mapjam, an asset mapping exercise that brings stakeholders together in cities around the world to “visually connect the dots” and map grassroots sharing projects, community resources, and the commons, hosted by the Canadian Global Curator for CollaborativeConsumption.com. The session provided an opportunity to both bring awareness, as well as update, to the existing Toronto sharing economy asset map.
- Ottawa - The Ottawa event was held on December 6, 2014 and was supported by HUB Ottawa, a local co-working space. In attendance were a small group of local sharing economy CEOs, entrepreneurs and practitioners (VRTUCAR, Hidden Harvest Ottawa, Ottawa Tool Library) and community members engaged in the sharing economy space. The event began with a keynote primer from the lead researcher of the Vancouver-based The Sharing Project (see AnnexB), who spoke about the findings of their report.
Both the Ottawa and Toronto events had participants engage in a series of activities designed to showcase the already-existing local sharing economy community, as well as to survey practitioners on ways the federal government could be present in this emerging space. In Vancouver, participants were mostly founders, volunteers and employees of sharing economy businesses and so had a high level of familiarity with the sharing economy community, but were generally less able to speak to possible future roles of the federal government.
Participants in all cities expressed their appreciation for the federal government in undertaking such conversations, using non-traditional consultation methods, and being prepared to engage in “real” conversations. Having initially expressed reticence about the role of government in the sharing economy space, many participants indicated they had gained a better understanding of the work currently being undertaken, and possible future roles for federal involvement.
Photo from Toronto event held at MaRS Discovery District (December 1, 2014).
GC 2.0 platforms, such as GCConnex, provide access to a wide range of knowledge and expertise. Given the diversity of users, the GC 2.0 stream was designed to reveal the full complexity of the sharing economy topic: sussing out the many drivers, countervailing forces, unintended outcomes, and marginal cases.
The GC 2.0 stream included one to two questions posted weekly for four weeks in the DMCPI GCConnex group, with over 28 unique respondents from a wide-array of departments. This allowed us to build on the work that had already been done for the Virtual Policy Challenge, creating continuity. It also allowed us to target individuals who have a self-identified interest in the work of the Committee, public policy development, and are likely tech-savvy and familiar with many sharing economy platforms.
Over the course of November 2014 to January 2015, lunch and learn sessions on the sharing economy were held in the national offices of eight different federal departments. Departments were chosen based on their interest for the topic and/or the existing linkages between their respective mandate and the sharing economy. More than 225 public servants from all levels participated in these events.
Each Lunch and Learn session began with a five minute “ignite-style” presentation aimed at raising awareness on the sharing economy followed by an open and informal discussion on the issue and its implications for Canada. Throughout most of the events, public servants were asked to share their views by using their personal mobile devices to respond to specific polling questions (see Annex B for full poll results).
In all our engagement sessions, participants’ enthusiasm for the subject matter was evident. Both practitioners and public servants had insightful observations on the sharing economy and were willing to candidly express their views.
Sharing Economy Drivers and Inhibitors
Throught most discussions, participants commented on the drivers of the sharing economy, as well as forces which could slow down this fast-rising trend.
From our GC 2.0 engagement, for example, public servants identified the following key drivers and inhibitors:
Potential Implications for Governments
While no clear consensus emerged on what, if any, the role of government should be vis-a-vis the sharing economy, there was general agreement that the sharing economy is raising key public policy questions for governments and that investments should be made to better understand its complex facets. Broad roles raised by both public servants and practitioners include:
- Governments could enable and provide support for innovative sharing economy businesses (e.g. ride-sharing & tool libraries). This could include assisting new businesses in navigating regulatory frameworks and providing seed funding to innovative companies that aim to solve public problems.
- Governments could use their legislative, regulatory and taxation powers to respond to the disruption created by the sharing economy (e.g. respond to health and safety concerns, loss of privacy issues, re-examine subsidies to existing industries, etc.).
- Governments could undertake research onvarious aspects ofthe sharing economy. This could include: who and how many individuals are accessing the sharing economy in Canada; the interconnections between the sharing economy and other disruptive innovations such as big data and the internet of things; and the economic impact of the sharing economy.
- Governments could raise awareness about risk, opportunities, and obligations that citizens have with regards to the sharing economy
- Governments could seek to mitigate the negative impacts created by sharing economy companies. This could involve supporting the transition of workers involved in traditional industries disrupted by the sharing economy.
- Governments could seek to enhance the positive impacts created by sharing economy companies. This could involve incorporating sharing and the social connections it spawns into various activities (e.g. emergency preparedness).
- Governments could play a convener role. Understanding the sharing economy and responding to the risks and opportunities it entails will likely require horizontal approaches and involve a variety of stakeholders.
"An acceleration of sharing economy approaches increasingly unmatched by government responsiveness creates room for continuous tax and regulation evasion"
Federal public servant
Participants from the engagement sessions also identified specific sectors and possible actions governments could take related to the sharing economy.
One of the most popular areas where participants identified actions governments could take was within the economic, social and labour sectors. Some of the main themes identified were around the changing reliance on social assistance programs and their funding - an area with implications for disadvantaged populations and labour and human rights.
On the economy:
- As the sharing economy continues to disrupt the labour market, the social security net (including Old Age Security, Employment Insurance, etc.) may need to be redesigned to ensure it meets the needs of sharing economy workers.
- Governments should recognize the interconnected risk between the sharing economy, tax revenue and social services; with unreported income and the erosion of traditional jobs, the ability to provide social assistance will be affected at a time where they will be increasingly needed.
- Government needs to avoid picking “winners” and “losers” - particularly where the losers are the industry monopolies.
On labour and social issues:
- Government could play a role in supporting industry transition in areas where the sharing economy will have significant negative impacts on industry incumbents (particularly with SMEs).
- Governments could provide education, insurance and other resources designed to meet the needs of the growing number of sharing economy contract workers and freelancers.
- At a policy level, governments will have to determine which labour standards and labour codes to apply to workers operating in the sharing economy.
- Over-regulation of the sharing economy could impede the growth of these informal markets which create value for disadvantaged groups (e.g. low income, new immigrants).
- Governments will have to decide how to enforce human and charter rights and supporting legislation to ensure the sharing economy does not disadvantage particular groups of people.
Privacy, health and safety concerns were also raised through the engagement sessions. Participants were particularly about the health and safety of sharing economy workers and users.
On privacy, health and safety:
- It will be increasingly important for governments to preserve labour laws and health and safety codes in light of a shift towards sharing economy models.
- To alleviate concerns about safety, governments could “validate” private sharing economy platforms through such criteria as criminal record checks.
- Governments may need to expend additional resources to be able to ensure the enforcement of rules and regulations given the shift from a few large traditional players to many “prosumers”.
- There will be increasing expectations on governments to ensure that the sharing economy respects privacy laws for citizens.
The environment and government operations were also areas where participants saw potential government intervention. They felt that governments could potentially find cost savings through making use of sharing economy companies.
On environment and government operations:
- Governments could look to proven sharing economy models to meet their sustainability and environmental goals. For example, incentivizing the sharing of energy produced by decentralized renewable energy providers, and ride-sharing.
- Governments could establish civic crowdfunding platforms and campaigns.
- Governments could create a micro-tasking platform for government jobs.
- Governments could save money by making use of lower-cost car, ride and accommodation sharing when traveling locally, nationally and internationally.
The implications of the sharing economy for the Government of Canada are numerous, fast-changing, and far-reaching. The list of possible actions that follow may provide a useful inception point for further study. They are meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive, and are not prioritized in order of importance.
1 Understand and measure impact
Possible action: Undertake research to better understand the sharing economy and its implications (e.g. social, economic, environmental) and use standardized methods for assessing its impact on federally regulated industries.
- For example: The Government could work to measure the size and the economic impact of the sharing economy in Canada.
2 Review and update relevant policies, rules, regulations and codes
Possible action: Examine federal government policies, rules, regulations and codes to ensure they remain relevant and reflect the changing nature of the way goods and services are produced and consumed.
- For example, the Government could explore updating its definitions of traditional labour market concepts (e.g. full time employment, unemployment, part time employment), as well as the way it calculates its labour market statistics.
3 Develop guidance and clarify rules
Possible action: Develop a clear definition of the sharing economy, which may include a statement on the federal government’s vision for the sharing economy in Canada.
Possible action: Clarify tax, legal responsibilities and standards for people participating in sharing economy models (both as consumers and producers), as well as for businesses operating in the sharing economy space, to ensure fairness.
- For example, with regards to people (including people-as-business), the Government could create a guide to taxation in the sharing economy, and an online tax calculator to help users of the sharing economy navigate their taxes with ease.
- For example, with respect to businesses, the Government could:
- work with the Canadian insurance industry to develop insurance guidelines for individuals involved in the sharing economy;
- delayer federal regulations for small sharing businesses and create a targeted window of service so they can navigate the federal web-of-rules; and
- encourage sharing economy businesses to self-organize in order to speak with one voice on common concerns, as well as set benchmarks and standards of service (e.g. respecting users' data privacy, dispute resolution service).
- work with the Canadian insurance industry to develop insurance guidelines for individuals involved in the sharing economy;
4 Amplify positive impacts and mitigate negative effects
Possible action: Seek to proactively expand the positive impacts created by the sharing economy while mitigating its negative effects.
- For example, the Government could:
- continue to help the digitally excluded get online to access opportunities offered by the sharing economy while ensuring that offline means of accessing the sharing economy are available and viable (accessibility, disability, language, etc.);
- review the labour market assumptions used in designing Canada’s large-scale welfare state programs (e.g Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, Employment Insurance) to make sure they reflect the changing nature of work and the unbundling of jobs; and
- use the sharing economy to support integration of new immigrants and ensure new Canadians have access to commodities and communities they need.
- continue to help the digitally excluded get online to access opportunities offered by the sharing economy while ensuring that offline means of accessing the sharing economy are available and viable (accessibility, disability, language, etc.);
5 Collaborate and convene
Possible action: Explore opportunities to work with provinces, territories and municipalities to develop an overarching frame-work that could serve as a guide or bench-mark for regulating the sharing economy.
- For example, the Government could: work in partnership with provinces and territories to assess the impact of the sharing economy on the way training and education credentials in Canada are measured and evaluated.
Possible action: Explore opportunities to work with sharing economy groups to leverage public good.
- For example: work in partnership with sharing economy companies to strengthen Canada’s emergency response and recovery in time of disasters.
6 Lead by example
Possible action: Embrace the opportunities offered by the sharing economy to make its own operations more efficient and help achieve its policy goals.
- For example, the government could:
- explore opportunities to update its procurement frameworks to allow public servants to make use of sharing economy platforms when travelling, alongside more traditional services;
- find user-friendly ways to share its physical assets with local residents, communities and businesses, when the assets are not in use; and
- create or identify a cross-departmental, multidisciplinary hub responsible for applying policy innovation tools and approaches to better understand and coordinate the federal response to the sharing economy.
- explore opportunities to update its procurement frameworks to allow public servants to make use of sharing economy platforms when travelling, alongside more traditional services;
A snapshot of how peer-to-peer platforms are rapidly expanding who is “sharing” and what is being “shared”. According to the Mesh Index, there are more than 9,000 startups in this space. Examples noted with (*) are Canadian-based.
|Bicycles||Bixi, Valenbisi, Velib, Bike Share Toronto*, Right Bike*|
|Rides||Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, carma, Atzuche, GoTogether*, Amigo Express*, Kijiji*|
|Cars||Zipcar, DriveNow, RelayRides, Getaround, FlightCar, LocalMotion, Car2Go, Vrtucar*, Modo*|
Space and Accommodations
|Short-term Accommodations||Couchsurfing, Airbnb, FlipKey, HomeAway, 9flats, RVwithME, CasaVersa, VRBO, Xiaozhu|
|Business travel||Airbnb business travel|
|Desks and Workspaces||DesksNear.Me, PeerSpace, WeWork, Impact Hubs, CSI*, HiVE*, Vancouver Hack Space*|
|Retail (pop up)||Storefront, MakerLab*|
Digital and Physical Media
|Social change||reggalo, TimeBanks|
|Local travel experiences||Vayable, Verlocal|
|Meal sharing||EatWith, dinnrtime*|
|Dog care||DogVacay, Part Time Pooch*|
Lifestyle and Household Items
|Clothing, Jewelry||Rent the Runway, Haute Vault, RocksBox, shop it to me|
|Kids’ items||Pley (toys), Maggies Kids Market|
|Re-sharing||eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, Shop Hers, Kijiji*|
|Local lending||StreetBank, NeighbourGoods, OpenShed, ShareShed*|
|Free goods||Yerdle, The Freecycle Network|
|Sports and Equipment||Clubs Anywhere, ZigAir, GetMyBoat|
|Tools||Vancouver*, Toronto*, Calgary*, Halifax* and Ottawa* tool libraries; Kitchen Share, The Kitchen Library*|
Skills and Education
|Skills and Trades||Skillshare, E-180*, Trade School Halifax*, Vancouver Trade School*|
|University courses||Coursera, Udacity, edX|
|Crowdfunding||Projects: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, MoolaHoop; People: Paetron, Go-FundMe; Education: GreenNote|
|Loans||Micro-loans: Kiva, Upstart; P2P loans: Lending Club, Pave, Prosper|
Digital Tasks & Employment
|Digital freelance||oDesk, Mechanical Turk, 99designs, Elance, freelancer, crowdSPRING, Samasource|
|Micro-tasking||Galazy Zoo and other Zooniverse projects|
Professional Assets and Expertise
|Assets||Cohealo (medical equipment); MuniRent and YardClub (heavy equipment); Science Exchange (labs)|
|Expertise||Medicast (doctors), HourlyNerd (MBAs), PopExpert (experts on life, work and play), Stack Overflow (programmers), Stack Exchange (Q&A communities)|
Delivery and Logistics
|Shipping||PiggyBee, Nimber, Shyp, Friendshippr, Shipster|
|Local errands and services||TaskRabbit, CollegeLabor, Angie’s List (crowdsourced reviews), AskforTask*|
|Local courier, (food) delivery and moving||DoorDash, Instacart, Postmates, Munchery, UberRUSH, Ghosttruck, deliv, Bellhops, Daily Delivery*|
Sharing Economy Organizations
|Thought leadership, news, connection and action hubs||Collaborative Lab, Shareable, European Sharing Economy Coalition|
|Corporate groups||Crowd Companies Council, BayShare|
Sharing Economy Marketplaces
|Private Label (create your own sharing marketplace)||Near Me, ShareTribe, Button, Tilt|
|For businesses, organizations and government||My Turn|
|Local, on-demand employment||Wonolo|
Sharing Economy (Secondary) Services
|Insurance||Keep Driving, Homesharing Liability Insurance, British Insurance Brokers’ Association guide to insurance for sharing economy businesses|
|Legal||SLEC Work in the New Economy (law program), Legal services (recommended by Peers)|
|Tax||Hot Spot Tax Services, Shared Economy CPA|
|Secondary services for ride-sharing||Breeze, SherpaShare|
|Secondary services for home-sharing||Guesty, AirEnvy, Guesthop, Everbooked, Can I Stay with You While I Rend my Place on Airbnb (aka the “Airbnb for Airbnb”)|
All examples compiled by DMCPI+ 2015
This annex contains supplementary information to be read as a complement to Part 2 of the report - Summary of Engagement. In an effort to maintain the distinct character of each event, the following summaries are provided in various formats.
Vancouver - Participants in Vancouver conversations were keen to point out that sharing and collaborative consumption are not new. This is particularly true in Vancouver, which, along with other north west coastal cities, is considered by Shareable.net to be at the forefront of the sharing economy movement. Participants referenced public libraries that have existed for centuries, and borrowing and bartering from friends and neighbours. All participants highlighted the same intangibles behind the sharing economy: trust, relationship, sustainability, proximity and ease of access. Technology-assists such as smartphone apps, websites, etc. have made sharing and collaborative consumption easier, faster and less complex, thus fueling broad and fast expansion of the sharing economy. One participant noted that the Vancouver Tool Library allows users to look online to check availability and reserve tools for pick-up later. This kind of platform is more effective at promoting sharing because you can guarantee what people want: access. Participants also highlighted the affordability gains to be had through sharing (accessing) rather than purchasing (owning).
In addition, several sources noted that the City of Vancouver is interested in how sharing economy activities can help contribute to local sustainability goals (such as the city’s aim to be the greenest city in the world by 2020) by reducing consumption, waste and emissions. The sharing economy can also contribute to a more resilient city through the leveraging of social connections in times of emergency preparedness and response.
Vancouver Sharing Project
The Sharing Project is the first research project in Canada to measure and report on people’s interest in the sharing economy at a municipal scale. The primary goals were to understand Vancouverites’ attitudes toward sharing, to measure the demand for shared assets in the city, and to highlight opportunities for growth within the sharing economy. The Sharing Project contextualized the sharing economy as part of the everyday, noting that the vast majority of Vancouverites participate in “traditional” sharing activities - they borrow and barter with neighbours, take books out of the library, etc. The Sharing Project has now morphed into Share Vancouver, an organization that focuses on working with communities and organizations to start new sharing initiatives, build understanding of the sharing economy, and build the network for Vancouver’s sharing organizations.
Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing in which residents participate in the design and operation of a micro-neighbourhood (typically no more than 35 homes) that includes substantial shared amenities. Vancouver Cohousing is a 31-unit housing development located at 1733 E 33rd Ave. in Vancouver, BC. The development includes over 6000 square feet of common amenity space including office space, guest rooms, a multipurpose room, shared laundry, a children’s play room, a music room, workshop, bike maintenance room, etc. The usual process of building multi-family housing developments sees a developer purchase the land, rezone it, develop it and then sell it at a profit. In the case of Vancouver Cohousing, the members and future residents planned, designed and financed the project which intentionally has no profit. Future Vancouver Cohousing residents, as with other cohousing residents globally, expect to contribute to each others lives in tangible ways such as helping with elder and child care, shared meals, etc.
Toronto - or a reminder of the context of this event, see the Toronto section of Part 2 of the report. Participants in Toronto brain-stormed new ways in which the sharing economy can relate to different levels of government, based on a few broad categories. In an “ideation session”, participants ‘upvoted’ the ideas that most resonated. Below are a number of ideas that received multiple votes:
|International, Security, Justice||
|Health of people and Environment||
With respect to possible roles for government, participants in Toronto raised the following:
- Governments have to provide overall support for innovation, yet maintain a mediator role between supporters of the status quo and those that stand to gain from innovation;
- Governments should use their levers (regulatory, tax incentives) to ‘normalize’ the disruption caused by the sharing economy;
- Governments should provide a stabilizing role to ensure that the negative effects of the sharing economy (such as over self-regulation through hyper-accountability, loss of privacy, loss of data due to bankruptcy) are lessened.
Ottawa - For a reminder of the context of this event, see the Ottawa section of Part 2 of the report. The discussion questions sparked an insightful dialogue from Ottawa participants. Pertinent comments are highlighted below:
- The government should resist the urge to over-regulate the field, which might stifle the movement, or re-direct the movement even more fully outside of the government’s control;
- Given that governments already play a role in the sharing economy (parks, public libraries), new sharing economy actors should receive similar recognition and supports as more traditional counterparts (if book libraries are funded publicly, why not tool libraries?);
- Government should accustom itself to the new sharing economy ‘reality’, (e.g. potentially decreased tax revenue) and adjust itself to this new societal configuration (e.g. adjust taxation to positively benefit the sharers, re-examine subsidies to existing industries);
- Position sharing economy “advocates” within government to help ease the transition for new businesses, and use emerging model for internal services (e.g. government travel).
Montreal - For the Montreal engagement stream, a phone interview was conducted with the CEO of E-180, a peer-to-peer learning platform. The individual discussed the state of the sharing economy in Montreal and provided the following comments:
- On startups versus established sharing economy companies... Sharing economy companies can be seen as ‘incubators’ for bigger players, as start-ups tend to take bigger risks, be nimbler, etc.
- On formal industries... Formal industries follow the sharing economy ecosystem closely, and are quickly adapting and reinventing themselves. For example, the hotel industry is beginning to draw on Airbnb practices, by increasingly personalizing services and offering “a personal home” ambiance
- On IT challenges... A challenge for Canadian start-ups wishing to create and operate IT sharing economy platforms is the unavailability of IT expertise to match the current demand.
- 50% by 2025 - Market share of “sharing companies” in car-rental and holiday accommodations sectors https://www.gov.uk/government/news/move-to-make-uk-global-centre-for-sharing-economy (Gov.UK, Sept. 29, 2014)
- 25M funding - Xiaozhu, China’s low-cost version of Airbnb, secured $25M in funding between 2013 and 2014 http://technode.com/2014/06/17/airbnb-like-service-xiaozhu-raises-15mn-dolars-series-b-funding-led-legend-capital/ (TechNode, June 17, 2014)
- Over 25k - Number of people who earn income with TaskRabbit (on-demand errands) http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ADayInTheLifeF3.jpg (Crowd Companies, August 2014)
- Over $2M - Daily value of work done on Elance and Odesk (digital freelance) http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ADayInTheLifeF3.jpg (Crowd Companies, August 2014)
- Triple in 3 Years - The value of the crowdfunding economy has more than tripled in 3 years: $1.5B in 2011 to $5.1B in 2013 http://blog.clarity.fm/clarity-exclusive-crowdfundings-epic-infographic/(Clarity, no date).
- $46M in 1 Year - Economic impact of Uber’s operations in Chicago in one year; plus 25k additional rides and over 1k gross new jobs http://blog.uber.com/ChiEconStudy (Uber blog, Mar. 12, 2014)
- 0-fold Growth - Airbnb listings grew ten-fold in just three years: from 50,000 in 2011 to 550,000 in 2014 http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/19/uber-and-airbnbs-incredible-growth-in-4-charts/ (Venture Beat, June 19, 2014)
- Over 247k - Number of (homemade) items sold on Etsy per day http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ADayInTheLifeF3.jpg (Crowd Companies, August 2014)
- Investments and Partnerships - Avis acquires Zipcar for $500M. Google invests $258M into Uber. Ford, BMW launch car-sharing programs: Ford2Go, DriveNow. Walgreens and Taskrabbit partner to deliver cold medicine. http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2014/04/04/graphic-a-timeline-of-corporations-in-the-collaborative-economy/ (Jeremiah Owyang blog, Apr. 4, 2014)
- Ten Million+ - A 2014 study that surveyed over 90K people in the US, UK and Canada on their use of sharing platforms estimates there are over 10M sharers in Canada. http://www. visioncritical.com/sites/default/files/pdf/sharing-new-buying-collaborative-economy-report.pdf (Vision Critical and Crowd Companies, “Sharing is the new buying” report - p.6 - Mar. 3, 2014)
- 45% Willing - 45% of Canadians are willing to rent their stuff from others. Similarly, 42% are willing to rent from others. http://strategyonline.ca/2014/06/02/canadians-open-to-a-sharing-economy-study/#ixzz3NJlRmlsQ (Strategyonline.ca, June 2, 2014; numbers reference a global Nielson study).
- 40% once/month - Kijiji estimates that 40% of Canadians (14M) use their website on a monthly basis. http://kijijiblog.ca/about-us/ (Kijiji blog, 2015)
- $54M in 1 Year - Economic impact of Airbnb’s operations in Montreal in one year. Airbnb visitors stayed 5 nights and spent $909 vs. 2.7 nights, $760 by typical visitors http://publicpolicy.airbnb.com/new-study-airbnb-community-montreal/ (Airbnb public policy blog, Nov.13, 2014)
- 5 cities & growing - Uber is now available in 5 Canadian cities (Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax, Edmonton) and is hoping to expand to Calgary and Vancouver https://www.uber.com/cities (Uber.com, January 2015)
- $3.2M in one month - Canadians can crowdfund: In its first month in Canada, over 47k backers pledged over $3.2M CAD for over 300 projects posted on Kickstarter Canada https://www.kickstarter.com/blog/kickstarter-in-canada-the-first-month (Kickstarter blog, Oct.10, 2013)
- 182 - Number of dogs available to “borrow” on Part Time Pooch - a Vancouver-based startup focused on shared dog care. Dogs are sortable by barking and shedding level. http://www.parttimepooch.com/browse-dogs (Part Time Pooch, Jan. 15, 2015)
- $400,000 for P2P learning - Provided by the Canada Media Fund for E-180 - a Canadian startup that promotes P2P learning via one-on-one face-to-face matches. http://www.techvibes.com/blog/e-180-2014-07-24 (TechVibes, Jul.24, 2014)
- $76,247 - Total earnings in less than 5 years by “BuckTornado” - a Canadian-based freelancer ranked 16th best graphic designer worldwide on DesignCrowd http://designers.designcrowd.ca/designer/24106/bucktornado (DesignCrowd, Jan.15, 2015)
- 5k shared tools; 2k members - Over 2,000 Canadians across five cities (Vancouver, Toronto,
Calgary, Halifax and Ottawa) now share over 5,000 tools at their local tool library.
- Vancouver: over 1k members; over 1600 tools (Chris Diplock presentation)
- Calgary: over 100 members; over 200 tools (http://www.imaginecalgary.ca/blog/2014-08-08/partnership-calgary-tool-libary)
- Toronto: over 850 members; over 3k tools (http://torontotoollibrary.com/)
- Halifax: members unknown, 450 tools (http://halifaxtoollibrary.ca/faq/)
- Ottawa: just getting started (http://ottawatoollibrary.com/)
- Vancouver: over 1k members; over 1600 tools (Chris Diplock presentation)
Sarah Chan (@schancase) is a policy analyst and project lead with IN.spire, Natural Resource Canada’s Innovation Hub. When not working on policy and community projects in Ottawa, she and her husband can be found building a straw bale cabin in Cape Breton. Sarah holds an MA in public policy and international affairs from the University of Ottawa.
Marie-Eve Desrochers (@medes83) is a senior economist for the Department of Finance, working on Multilateral Development Banks. She is a volunteer for the Quebec Economist Association and the Government of Canada Advanced Analyst Policy Program. Her interest include politics, travel and music. Marie-Eve holds an MA from the University of Western Ontario.
Erin Gee (@erin_gee) is a policy analyst for the Canada Revenue Agency, working in the Accelerated Business Solutions Lab. Her interests include #policyinnovation, behavioural economics, and civic engagement. She is the founder of TEDxElginSt, and writes for Startup Canada, Herd Magazine, and many other publications.
Dan Monafu (@danutfm) is a policy analyst for the Public Health Agency of Canada and works in the #policyinnovation space. He is the co-founder of Soup Ottawa, a participatory micro-grant dinner event held seasonally, and Ottawa (de) tours, a critical-thinking walking seminar initiative. Dan holds an MA from Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA).
Special thanks to Kent and Ericka for their significant collaboration with DMCPI+:
Kent Aitken (@kentdaitken) works on outreach and engagement for the Government of Canada’s Open Government program. He writes about public service renewal at cpsrenewal.ca, runs Musical Underground Ottawa, and works with various organizations that try to bridge the gap between government and citizens. Kent led the GCConnex engagement stream for DMCPI+.
Ericka Stephens-Rennie (@erickasr) is an analyst with Environment Canada in Vancouver, BC. She is the co-founder and operations manager of Vancouver Cohousing (see page 35). Ericka holds an MA in public policy from the University of Toronto. Ericka provided comprehensive report edits and led the Vancouver component of our City Stream outreach.
DMCPI+ would also like to acknowledge the following individuals: Val Thomas for the cover image, and everyone who helped us with our external engagement sessions, including: Nick Charney, Chris Diplock, Ryan Dyment, Lucy Gao, Meghan Hellstern, Bronwyn Oatley, and Christine Renaud.
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