Video | 2022

Municipalities and the Platform Economy: Where Do We Go From Here?

The rise of platforms like Uber and AirBnB have created numerous challenges and opportunities for Canadian municipalities. Over the last several years, many municipalities have moved to regulate and tax these services. Some have also partnered with them, including to help bolster transit service.

On February 1, 2022, a panel of academics and practitioners looked at the future of the relationship between municipalities and the platform economy. Looking at examples from across the country the panel examined questions including: What trends around the platform economy are lasting, which are short term? What new regulation is needed? Are new taxation models or user fee frameworks needed?

This is the first in a series of three events examining how municipalities in Canada are confronting issues related to new developments in technology and the use of data. Future events will focus on smart city technology and cybersecurity.


Betsy Donald is Associate Vice-Principal Research and Professor in the Department of Geography at Queen’s University. She teaches, does research and consults in the field of economic geography with a particular focus on innovation and regional economic development, urban planning and governance, and sustainable food systems. She is currently an editor of the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. Betsy has over 50 publications including articles in the Journal of Economic Geography, Urban Studies, Regional Studies, and Environment and Planning A. She has degrees from McGill, York, and the University of Toronto (M.Sc.Pl. Planning, Ph.D. Geography).

Jason Reynar is a lawyer and the Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Windsor where he navigates through a haze of policy and regulation to find practical – and sometimes disruptive – ways to deliver services, such as a public transit system powered by a ride-sharing app. He currently leads a team of over 3,000 dedicated public servants, and is responsible to City Council for its nearly $1B annual operating and capital budget. Jason’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Guelph, a Bachelor of Laws and Masters of Law from Osgoode Hall Law School, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business.

David Wachsmuth is the Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance at McGill University, where he is also an Associate Professor in the School of Urban Planning. He directs UPGo, the Urban Politics and Governance research group at McGill, where he leads a team of researchers investigating urban governance problems related to economic development, environmental sustainability, and housing markets. He is the co-lead of the Adapting Urban Environments for the Future theme of the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative. He is a leading expert on the impacts of short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb on cities around the world, and consults widely with municipalities and community organizations on designing appropriate regulations.


Zachary Spicer is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at York University in Toronto, Canada. He previously served as the Director of Research and Outreach with the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). He began his career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Brock University and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy at Wilfrid Laurier University and at IMFG after earning his PhD from the Department of Political Science at The University of Western Ontario. His research centres on Canadian local government and innovation policy.

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