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Digital Policy Salon: Designing Innovative Policies

Welcome to the ninth issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing. This week, we're focused on creative
Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: Designing Innovative Policies
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #9 • View online
Welcome to the ninth issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing.
This week, we’re focused on creative policies: in Canada and around the world, leaders are designing novel ways to support their citizenry and bolster their economies.
Importantly, Canadian provinces are beginning to reopen, using a variety of different strategies. Our update this week includes a detailed breakdown of provincial governments’ policy approaches. Even with positive signs that quarantine may be easing up, federal strategies such as the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are still essential measures supporting 1 in 5 Canadians through this economic crisis, and our first perspective piece examines the CERB’s similarities, and differences, to the controversial proposal of Universal Basic Income (UBI).
Despite the promise of spring and a slow return to an open economy, forecasts must still consider the impact of significant blows to prosperity. Our second perspective piece revises projections for employment in Alberta’s digital economy, while our interview examines the role of digital ethics in planning for the future. In “what we’re reading,” we compare Canadian SME prospects with those of the US, and consider the lasting impact of COVID-19 on front-line workers. Finally, this week closes with a featured look at telecommunications policy in Canada, and the potential introduction of competitive policy solutions to drive down costs for consumers.
Tyler & Faun

COVID-19 Policy Updates 🇨🇦
Across Canada, Google searches for ‘reopening the economy’ are on the rise. Now that regional governments have begun publishing their plans to reopen, how communities will go about reopening the economy is becoming much clearer.
Prerequisite Approach
Ontario, Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador each released a multi-stage framework for reopening their provincial economies last week. The frameworks detail a non-scheduled approach, highlighting mandatory prerequisites that must be reached before moving on to the next stage. For Ontario this includes a consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily cases, and for Alberta, technology-enabled contact notifications. For all three provinces, significantly heightened capacity and efficiency for testing and contact tracing is vital. If you’re reading this newsletter from Ontario, the province is holding online consultations until June 12th to inform future decision-making.
Scheduled Approach
Unlike Ontario and Alberta’s prerequisite-based approach to reopening the economy, Québec is moving forward with a pre-determined schedule for each region of the province. Re-opening plans are scheduled for throughout the month of May and include eliminating regional roadblocks, opening schools, and loosening restrictions on businesses and other economic activity. Though originally planned for early next week, the reopening of business in Montreal has been delayed due to public health concerns.
Hybrid Approach
Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island are all moving forward with a multi-stage, hybrid approach where the first few phases are scheduled, with follow-up phases guided by public health updates and other prerequisites. Saskatchewan has loosened restrictions on medical services and outdoor recreational activities to date and will be opening of retail businesses on May 19th. In Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick, a variety of services, business, and venues have reopened already, including retail businesses, restaurants, and museums. British Columbia announced its plan yesterday with many details to be established. The province expects priority sectors to be reopening in mid-May, with the understanding that its timeline will be delayed should cases spike unexpectedly.
Despite gradual easing of economic restrictions and social gathering bans, essential travel restrictions remain in place for most regions of the country.
The Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, and Nova Scotia have no formal plans to lift restrictions as of yet, although Nunavut has identified in-territory diagnostic capacity and no active cases as baseline requirements. - Mairead Matthews | email
Our Perspective
The Global Turn to Cash Transfers
Alberta’s Digital Economy Employment
Interviews in the Field
The Fourth Revolution and the Ethics of Information
Dr. Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford
Dr. Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford
What We're Reading
The Bridge to the Post-pandemic World Is Collapsing
‘We Are Not Essential. We Are Sacrificial.’ I'm a New York City Subway Conductor Who Had Covid-19 | Opinion
Research Visualized
This 2018 dataset from the CRTC shows Canada’s satellite-dependent communities, along with detailed information about broadband access levels, the latter of which is kept up-to-date with 2020 information here. For many in Northern Canada especially, connection to the rest of the country hinges on a single ISP and expensive or unreliable service. The telecommunications infrastructure challenges that go along with Canada’s vast geography are one of the factors informing Senior Director of Research and Policy Alexandra Cutean’s policy brief on MVNOs, featured in this week’s newsletter.
Our Publications
MVNOs: Embracing the Next Wave of Telecommunication Services to Fuel Tomorrow's Economy
Twitter Highlights
Clean Prosperity
Investing in a green recovery will deliver rapid short-term growth and long-term economic gains while also tackling climate change, according to a new study from Oxford
In case you missed it last week, catch the recap of @riipen's webinar to learn more about our Work Integrated Learning program and how you can take advantage of up to $7,000 in subsidies for hiring a student!
🎦Watch here:
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