Gov. Gen. Julie Payette delivers the throne speech in the Senate chamber in Ottawa on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Ottawa’s plan to rein in tech giants missing key pieces: experts

Feds say web giants are taking Canadians’ money while imposing their own priorities and that must change

The Liberal government unveiled a plan to rein in tech giants in its throne speech this week, but experts say there is much more that should be included.

The government says web giants are taking Canadians’ money while imposing their own priorities and that must change.

It wants to address corporate tax avoidance by digital giants, ensure their revenue is shared more fairly with Canadian creators and require tech companies to contribute to the creation, production and distribution of Canadian stories.

Bob Fay, the managing director of digital economy at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, says the government should consider what it can do to counteract how tech giants take consumer data, aggregate it and use it to build entrenched market positions that are hard to challenge.

He says the government has long allowed tech giants to operate by their own rules and it’s time to introduce some measures to end that self-regulation.

Jim Balsillie, the founder of BlackBerry and chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators, says in an email to The Canadian Press that the country needs updated tax rules, but first, the focus should be on separating tax avoidance from tax strategies.

He says Canadian high-growth tech firms use stock options as a key part of their compensation strategies and he fears if the government isn’t methodical in its plan, it could leave companies with fewer options to compete on the global stage.

The Canadian Press

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