When you think of the sharing economy and the innovative startups that are disrupting mature industries, it is not long before you start thinking about the complexity of associated regulations. It is no surprise then that governments of all levels have found themselves in a tricky situation wanting both to support innovation and maintain the rule of law.
Earlier this year, Toronto’s Mayor John Tory spoke at TechToronto’s first meet up to address this tension.
“You don’t normally think of City Hall as the place of innovation, and we have to change that. I’m trying to change that with a team of people including public servants and elected representatives,” Tory said. His emphasis is not only on embracing change but encouraging it to be fostered in his city.
“What I’m in favour of is that people can, should, and must be developing, and I want as many of them as possible to be developed here — disruptive technologies that move us forward and are inevitable in many respects,” he said.
The City of Toronto has its own website page dedicated to the sharing economy, and it’s worth perusing for those interested in learning more. It’s light on content but covers the basics, starting with defining the sharing economy as “marketplaces and platforms that allow individuals and organizations to buy and sell goods and services directly from one another, and share or lend goods or assets on a short-term or time-share basis.” It states that the municipal government’s role is to “develop a series of short, medium, and long term actions.”
Additionally, the site links to informative resources including:
- Details on 2015’s Sharing Economy Forum that the City of Toronto hosted in partnership with the MaRS Solution Lab
- A report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce titled Harnessing the Power of the Sharing Economy
- A report from the Wellesley Institute on the impact of the sharing economy on health
Have 10 minutes in the back of an Uber? Waking up in your Airbnb bed but not ready to face the day? Check out the City of Toronto’s site here.