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Digital Policy Salon: Big Tech, Solution or Crutch?

Welcome to the sixth issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing. We hope you enjoyed your holiday wee
Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Big Tech, Solution or Crutch?
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #6 • View online
Welcome to the sixth issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing.
We hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend, and that you were able to connect with family and friends free of any video conference hiccups or surprise Zoom guests. Thirty-seven days since Canada’s 100th case of COVID-19, the world’s numbers have surpassed 2 million, making way for a handful of sobering economic projections by the IMF (read on for more details). This week’s policy update includes brand-new insights on federal and provincial employment rates, a potential wage boost for essential workers, and the recent approval of a made-in-Canada COVID-19 test.
In our perspective piece, we explore the misclassification of gig economy workers as ‘freelancers,’ a corporate practice that leaves some employees more economically vulnerable than others. This week also marks the first article in a new Tech and Human Rights interview series, and it asks a specialist an important question: what happens to the data we leave behind in our “digital afterlife”? For our featured research, we revisit our flagship report, “Canada’s Growth Currency: Digital Talent Outlook 2023,” and highlight which industries are best-suited to drive Canada’s economic recovery post COVID-19.
Whether you’re part of business, government, or the general public, the concept of a 'Smart City’ is increasingly present in all of our lives. To help shape future investments in Canada’s smart, urban spaces, please take a moment to complete one of the following smart city surveys: Smart Cities Business Survey / Smart Cities Government Survey
- Tyler & Mairead

COVID-19 Policy Updates 🇨🇦
Economic Policy
Canadian employment fell by at least 5.3% last month, reports ICTC’s Ryan McLaughlin, with the largest drops occurring among food and retail workers, teachers, and instructors. Meanwhile, certain digital economy roles didn’t fall, and several others grew.
The federal government announced a potential wage boost for essential workers playing a key role in Canada’s COVID-19 response. More details will be announced in the coming days, following talks with provincial and territorial leaders.
The Bank of Canada has kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.25% for the time being, with the next scheduled update to take place June 3rd.
In a near-unprecedented event, the Bank also decided to exclude global economic growth and Canadian GDP projections from its quarterly monetary policy report due to the economic uncertainty of COVID-19. The Bank maintains that many paths for economic recovery remain possible, as shown in the chart below.
Real gross domestic product (GDP), chained 2012 dollars, qurterly data - Sources: Statistics Canada and Bank of Canada
Real gross domestic product (GDP), chained 2012 dollars, qurterly data - Sources: Statistics Canada and Bank of Canada
Health Policy
Increased testing and contact tracing capacity remain firm requirements for the economy to reopen, says Trudeau.
Canadian biotechnology company, Spartan Bioscience, received Health Canada approval for its automated, fast, and portable COVID-19 test this week. The approval opens up new testing options for remote communities and organizations with no medical or laboratory personnel. 
Virtual medical appointments via video conference or phone call are becoming the new normal for primary healthcare providers across Canada, sparking concern over billing practices in some provinces.
In addition to personal protective equipment, there is growing concern about the potential for food and drug shortages across Canada as a result of the pandemic. - Mairead Matthews | email
Our Perspective
Regulating Flexibility and Other 21st Century Problems
Special Events
Join Us For a Virtual Panel
Interviews in the Field
Your Digital Afterlife: An Interview with Carl Öhman
Carl Öhman, Teaching Assistant at Oxford Internet Institute
Carl Öhman, Teaching Assistant at Oxford Internet Institute
What We're Reading
The Great Lockdown: Worst Economic Downturn Since the Great Depression
Here’s how Apple and Google will track the coronavirus with Bluetooth
Research Visualized
While the EU continues to make substantial advances in technology-driven research, innovation, and investment, a number of key countries lead the way in global foreign direct investment (FDI). Notable examples of FDI-producing EU countries are Germany, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Consequently, the top three EU countries investing in Canada during 2015-2019 were France, Ireland, and Germany.
Top EU countries with the highest capital expenditures to the Software & IT services sector globally (in millions US$, January 2015 – September 2019) - Source: ICTC and fDi Intelligence, from the Financial Times Ltd 2019
Top EU countries with the highest capital expenditures to the Software & IT services sector globally (in millions US$, January 2015 – September 2019) - Source: ICTC and fDi Intelligence, from the Financial Times Ltd 2019
EU Country Profiles: Opportunities for Canada
The German ICT market is the fifth largest in the world, and in 2018 Germany was ranked the most innovative economy globally by the World Economic Forum. Specific market opportunities include fintech (Germany has the fourth largest fintech market in the world), big data, cloud services, cybersecurity, AI, and many other digital services developments.
France is the top importer of telecommunications services in the EU. The most promi- nent telecommunications industries in France are mobile phones and broadband. The country has one of the largest broadband subscriber bases in Europe. With telecom falling under the digital services industry, 5G is a central focus of the French telecommunications sector at the current time.
The Netherlands is a European hub for ICT companies, with several homegrown and international transplants. In fact, 60% of Forbes’ Global 2000 ICT companies have operations in the Netherlands. With a strong base of telecom providers, the Netherlands is currently ranked the most connected country in the EU (2018).
Our Research
Canada’s Growth Currency: Digital Talent Outlook 2023
Twitter Highlights
CBC News
Without computer and internet access, some students are struggling to complete their tasks in school. https://t.co/2k1agNLg2l @ianfroese
7:30 PM - 14 Apr 2020
TogetherVsVirus
REGISTRATION IS OPEN for the 🇨🇦 Canadian Online Hackathon vs Covid-19 ! Thanks to our growing support community from all over the country 🙏
https://t.co/OMrzcer0a6

@TEDx_Abbotsford @XLRatorFV @mtlnewtech @ImpactHubMTL @HubOttawa @bcit @goUFV @SFUVC @TEDxOTTAWA @CH_CAN_Chamber https://t.co/HCqQGCOg00
8:09 PM - 12 Apr 2020
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