The Sharing Economy Public Design project, a partnership between MaRS Solutions Lab, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto, applies a design perspective to this complex problem. By looking at regulation from the perspective of users, and by thoroughly mapping out the user experience, we were able to gain a much deeper understanding of the challenges at hand. We interviewed over 136 individuals, including taxi drivers, uberX drivers, hotel managers, Airbnb hosts and many others who are subject to regulation. We also convened 100 relevant stakeholders to validate our analysis and help co-design possible solutions.

We brought together regulators from all three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal), industry representatives (e.g., from the taxi and hotel industry), sharing economy companies (e.g., Uber, Airbnb), insurers, agencies like Metrolinx, and other experts. In three different workshops these individuals helped to develop ideas for effective regulation, which can be defined as regulation that creates public value, supports innovation and reduces administrative burden.

When it comes to introducing regulation for the sharing economy, governments should not only look at regulating new entrants, but should also revisit current regulations to reduce burden for existing operators. Governments should not just think of the sharing economy as something to respond to. They should think about what kind of sharing economy they want and then develop a proactive strategy that helps to build it.

The report highlights our findings from our research and workshops in both the transportation and accommodations sectors. Within the report, we present a 5-step framework for cities to develop a sharing economy strategy. For the accommodations sector, six key implications for regulation have been identified and the report suggests way to solve them. For transportation, our research has identified seven key issues and 24 solutions.

Executive Summary

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Shifting Perspectives: Redesigning Regulation for the Sharing Economy

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For a detailed agenda of our Sharing Economy Forum with the City of Toronto, please visit their website.

Media Coverage:

  1. Toronto Star: Put consumers first by regulating Uber: Editorial
  2. BetaKit: MaRS Solutions Lab partners with City of Toronto to create Sharing Economy Regulations Report
  3. Ottawa Citizen: Limit short-term rentals, screen all drivers says new sharing economy report
  4. TechVibes: Rising Popularity of Sharing Economy Disrupting Markets, Forcing Changes to Regulation
  5. CityNews: MaRS to make recommendations for Uber, Airbnb to city council
  6. Toronto Star: 5 recommendations for Uber and other car-sharing services
  7. Toronto Star: 5 recommendations for Airbnb and other home-sharing services
  8. Omny interview: The Sharing Economy – Uber’s CEO and a study on this new economy
  9. Yonge Street Media: MaRSDD Steps in to Help Regulate Sharing Economy
  10. Huffington Post: ‘Sharing Economy’ Report: Canada Should Limit Airbnb Rentals, Licence Uber Drivers

Joeri van den Steenhoven

Joeri is the Director of the MaRS Solutions Lab, a social innovation lab that aims to improve the lives of citizens and strengthen the resilience of communities in Canada. Before joining MaRS, he was the co-founder and CEO of Knowledgeland, one of the leading change labs in the Netherlands and Europe. He also worked as a director at the Young Foundation in the UK. 

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