Latest Posts

ReadMySign by A McLin (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/6iEz7o

Making Sense of the Canadian Digital Tax Debate, Part 3: New Taxes or Fees on Internet Access

A potential Netflix tax may garner the lion share of media attention, but the more harmful tax proposal comes from those advocating for a tax on Internet service providers that would have a real impact on all Internet use (earlier posts in the series include digital sales tax and Netflix tax). As far back as 1998, the CRTC conducted hearings on “new media” in which groups argued that the dial-up Internet was little different than conventional broadcasting and should be regulated and taxed as such. In other words, groups have been arguing for new Internet taxes since before Google, Facebook, or Netflix.

Read more ›

October 26, 2018 2 comments News
Netflix by Avijeet Sachdev (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9vou6m

Making Sense of the Canadian Digital Tax Debate, Part 2: Mandated Canadian Content Contributions aka a “Netflix Tax”

The series on the Canadian digital tax debate continues with an examination of calls for mandated contributions by Internet video services to support the creation of Canadian content, frequently referred to as a “Netflix tax” (earlier post on digital sales tax). The Netflix tax is perhaps the most politicized digital tax issue, with both the Conservatives and Liberals opposing such a tax during the last federal election. Despite the opposition, the issue continues to resurface as it is regularly raised by cultural groups and was part of the CRTC’s report on the future of broadcast regulation released in the spring.

Proponents of a mandated Netflix contribution typically rely on three arguments: (i) failure to impose fees and regulation on foreign providers represents an “existential threat” to Canadian creative industries since they argue it will lead to reduced spending on production in Canada; (ii) there is a need to “level playing field” for Canadian services competing against foreign providers; and (iii) Europe is moving toward Netflix regulation and Canada should too.

Read more ›

October 25, 2018 1 comment News
State of Washington Tax Commission Sales Tax Token by Curtis Perry (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/dHn6my

Making Sense of the Canadian Digital Tax Debate, Part 1: Digital Sales Taxes

Digital tax has emerged as one of the most contentious Canadian digital issues with groups advocating for a wide range of new enforcement or policy measures including digital sales tax, taxes on online video services, income taxes on digital companies, tax measures in support of media organizations, Internet access taxes, and digital device taxes. Unfortunately, the debate is often muddled by the use of the same terms, creating considerable confusion. For example, references to “Netflix taxes” have been used with regard to digital sales tax on Netflix, mandated Canadian content contributions for Internet services such as Netflix, and income taxes payable by Netflix.

This blog series will attempt to unpack digital tax debate. The series begins with digital sales taxes, which was back in the news earlier this month when Finance Minister Bill Morneau confirmed that Canada is awaiting an international agreement on digital sales taxes before implementing any domestic reforms. Morneau indicated the government would support a quick resolution of the issue – the current deadline is 2020 – but that a provincial digital sales tax in Quebec will not spark a matching federal tax until the global issues are resolved.

Read more ›

October 24, 2018 6 comments News
Toronto Lab to Help Lead Global AI Research & Development; Joins UK, and Russia as Part of a Network of Global AI Centres by Samsung Newsroom (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/27wrmYy

Want to Keep Canadian AI Thriving?: Create a Copyright Exception for Informational Analysis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met earlier this week with Jean-Francois Gagné, the CEO of Element AI, the Montreal-based applied artificial intelligence lab. Trudeau tweeted that the two men “talked about what Canadians are doing in AI in Montreal & across the country, and how we can keep the industry thriving.”

Read more ›

October 18, 2018 2 comments News
Google Search Engine CC0 Creative Commons https://pixabay.com/en/google-search-engine-76522/

Does Canadian Privacy Law Apply to Google Search?

Last week, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada filed a reference with the federal court in a case that was billed as settling the “right to be forgotten” issue. Yet a careful read of the application reveals that the case isn’t about the right to be forgotten. Rather, it involves a far more basic issue: is Google’s search engine service subject to PIPEDA, Canada’s private sector privacy law? The case arises due to a right-to-be-forgotten complaint (a complainant wants search results referencing news articles they say are outdated, inaccurate, and disclose sensitive information removed from the Google search index), but the court is not being asked whether the current law includes a right-to-be-forgotten. Instead, the very application of Canadian privacy law to Google search is at stake.

Read more ›

October 16, 2018 6 comments News