Cooperation in the Pacific Rim by Jakob Polacsek, World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/48179628441

Cooperation in the Pacific Rim by Jakob Polacsek, World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/48179628441

Digital Trade

Stop the TPP by Backbone Campaign (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/fKgaBo

Canada Successfully Stands Up For Balanced IP and Canadian Culture in TPP Deal

While the NAFTA negotiations in Montreal were expected to be the lead trade story this week, the Trans Pacific Partnership talks in Tokyo have stolen the show with the remaining 11 countries reaching agreement on a deal that is likely to be signed in March. Canada faced intense criticism last year from some TPP partners (particularly Japan and Australia) over its demands to address concerns with the agreement. That sparked some Canadian business groups to quickly call on the government to simply cave in order to conclude a deal. Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne rightly argued that capitulation is not a negotiating strategy and they now come away with an improved (albeit still flawed) agreement.

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January 23, 2018 9 comments News
IBC CTV Central Equipment Room by Josh Tidsbury (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7E6pXU

Canadian Position on Data Localization Rules in Trade Deals Revealed: Protection for Government Data Only

Data localization rules, which require data to be stored locally, have emerged as an increasingly popular legal method for providing some additional assurances about the privacy protection for personal information. Although heavily criticized by those who fear that it harms the free flow of information, requirements that personal information be stored within the local jurisdiction is an unsurprising reaction to concerns about the lost privacy protections if the data is stored elsewhere. Data localization requirements are popping up around the world with European requirements in countries such as Germany, Russia, and Greece; Asian requirements in Taiwan, Vietnam, and Malaysia; Australian requirements for health records, and Latin America requirements in Brazil. Canada has not been immune to the rules either with both British Columbia and Nova Scotia creating localization requirements for government data.

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December 18, 2017 5 comments News
Steve Verheul, Chief Trade Negotiator for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), Canada by Polish Institute of International Affairs (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/jxP85n

Canada’s Lead Negotiator Confirms Government Seeking Net Neutrality Safeguards in NAFTA

Steve Verheul, Canada’s lead NAFTA negotiator, appeared before the Standing Committee on International Trade earlier this week to provide an update on the negotiations. In addition to confirming Canada’s commitment to a cultural exception (Verheul acknowledged that the U.S. “has not reacted positively”), Verheul was asked about the digital trade chapter. He indicated that there has been significant progress on issues such as online consumer protection and privacy.  He also touched on two other issues: one a Canadian ask and the other a U.S. priority.

From a Canadian perspective, Verheul said that Canada wants a net neutrality provision included in NAFTA, noting:

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December 7, 2017 7 comments News
internet is freedom of speech by pgrandicelli BEE FREE (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/6F5Cu1

Canada’s Missing Internet Provision: Why NAFTA Offers the Chance to Establish Long Overdue Online Speech Safeguards

During the earliest days of the commercial Internet, the United States enacted the Communications Decency Act, legislation designed to address two concerns with the rapidly growing online world: the availability of obscene materials and the liability of Internet services hosting third party content. While the obscenity provisions in the 1996 law were quickly struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, the liability rules emerged as a cornerstone of U.S. Internet policy.

The rules, which many regard as the single most important legal protection for free speech on the Internet, establish a safe harbour that ensures online services are not liable for the content posted by their users. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes that over the past two decades, the CDA Section 203(c) provision has been used by every major Internet service – from Google to Amazon to Airbnb – to ensure that courts, not private companies, determine what is lawful and permitted to remain online.

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December 1, 2017 5 comments Columns
Reunión de Líderes de APEC - Día 2 by Presidencia de la República Mexicana (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/DfSCZ9

Bursting the IP Trade Bubble: Canada’s Position on IP Rules Takes Shape With Suspended TPP Provisions

In the months following the conclusion of the Trans Pacific Partnership, critics pointed to many specific problems in the text with respect to intellectual property, culture, privacy, and dispute resolution. TPP defenders consistently dismissed those concerns, yet last week’s successful Canadian demand to suspend many of the most problematic IP provisions (along with holding out for reforms to the cultural exemption) confirms that the government has recognized the validity of the criticisms. The government may yet cave to U.S. pressure in the NAFTA renegotiation, but it has established a clear position on culture and IP that better reflects the national interest.

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November 16, 2017 1 comment News