View profile

Digital Policy Salon: What's the Next Step? Stimulus Spending, Oil's Free Fall, and Our Broadband Conundrum

Welcome to the fourth issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing. How are you doing? We've seen quite
Digital Policy Salon
Digital Policy Salon: What's the Next Step? Stimulus Spending, Oil's Free Fall, and Our Broadband Conundrum
By ICTC-CTIC • Issue #4 • View online
Welcome to the fourth issue of the Digital Policy Salon briefing.
How are you doing? We’ve seen quite the whirlwind of events lately, and it’s very understandable if some of us are feeling a bit ground down as social isolation isn’t easing up.
This week’s briefing takes a look at the Canadian digital economy in all its forms: read on to learn about the internet tax debate and whether or not Canada’s broadband infrastructure can weather social distancing. We zoom in on Alberta, looking at oil’s free fall and economic diversification in the province. Finally, we include an interview on tech for concussion prevention, and a story from our first guest writer, Alina Balean, on how she became a professional UX designer for Google.
Before we jump into it, we partnered with Nova Scotia’s tech association, Digital Nova Scotia, to produce a COVID-19 impact study for the province’s tech community. If you or your staff are located in Nova Scotia, please take a few minutes to complete our Nova Scotia impact survey, enabling us to better communicate your needs to policymakers and support you during these times.
We are working with other partners to release similar surveys across Canada soon—if you’d like to assist, please reach out.
- Tyler & Faun

COVID-19 Policy Updates 🇨🇦
Increased support, stimulus spending: 
Owing to the spread of COVID-19 and abrupt decline in the price of oil, the Bank of Canada has cut its benchmark interest rate for the second time in two weeks to an all-time low of 0.25%. The Bank’s next scheduled update – including the benchmark rate, economic outlook, and inflation – is slated for April 15th. 
Parliament will reconvene for a second time to pass additional support measures for small business impacted by COVID-19. The proposed measures include:
  • A 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020;  
  • A 3-month deferral program for GST/HST payments; and  
  • $25 billion of funding in interest-free loans. 
Alberta saw mass government layoffs this week at both the provincial and municipal levels and is projected to experience the greatest economic impact of COVID-19.   
Domestic travel restrictions, social gathering bans:
School closures persist, proliferation of online learning: 
The Government of Canada is maintaining a list of known exposure locations. Check those listed to see if you may have been exposed to COVID-19. - Mairead Matthews | email
Our Perspective
Taxing the Digital Landscape: Regions around the world move to tax digital trade
Guest Writer
My Road to UX: Guest post by Alina Balean, Interaction Designer at Google
Interviews in the Field
Harrison Brown, CEO of HeadCheck Health
Harrison Brown, CEO of HeadCheck Health
What We're Reading
Oil price falls below $20 US a barrel, its lowest since 2002
Can the Internet Accommodate a Spike in Remote Work?
Research Visualized
What role does research play in helping job-seekers find work? ICTC’s report A Digital Future for Alberta identified in-demand digital and technical roles in the province. The report highlights both the jobs available and the skills that are considered to be essential to each job.
Monthly Job postings for in-demand digital and technical roles in Alberta, January to April 2019 - Source: ICTC, 2019
Monthly Job postings for in-demand digital and technical roles in Alberta, January to April 2019 - Source: ICTC, 2019
In a different study with Calgary Economic Development, ICTC mapped displaced workers in the oil and gas sector to in-demand jobs in the city’s fast-growing tech sector. This research was then used to launch, EdgeUp, a program helping mid-career professionals transition to in-demand roles like data scientists, software developers and more (contact us if you would like to learn more about this program).
Digital roles and skills are currently top of mind, and many organizations that specialize in teaching these are offering subsidized programs: see, for example, Lighthouse Labs’ new scholarship for those who are facing unemployment due to COVID-19.
Our Research
A Digital Future for Alberta: An Analysis of Digital Occupations in Alberta's High-Growth Sectors
Twitter Highlights
The New York Times
"Before the coronavirus, there was something I used to worry about," writes @NellieBowles. "It was called screen time."
https://t.co/T3uIN9q9aw
Talk to Us 💬
Send your comments, questions, and tech policy insights to:

Subscribe to ICTC’s flagship newsletter here.
Click here to access our Nova Scotia COVID-19 impact survey, delivered in collaboration with Digital Nova Scotia.
Did you enjoy this issue?
ICTC-CTIC

Digital Policy Salon is a weekly email briefing that provides an in-depth look at the digital economy and the policies that shape it.

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue