August 2017
Backgrounder
The sharing economy refers to the sharing, borrowing or bartering of goods or services between private individuals, rather than “business-to-consumer” transactions. Most frequently this has included transportation, accommodation, parking, and food.

The sharing economy is taking place in municipalities of all sizes across Ontario, and leading to a range of opportunities and challenges. Some opportunities include:
  • Offering small-scale business opportunities for residents to increase their income.
  • Driving economic growth, especially in tourist towns or areas where existing accommodations are insufficient.
  • Filling service gaps, such as transportation services in rural communities.
Several municipal governments have already taken actions to regulate and leverage these platforms for the benefit of their communities:
  • Town of the Blue Mountains and Niagara-on-the-Lake have short term rental by-laws that facilitate Short Term Accommodation (STA) Licensing.
  • Waterloo, Ottawa, and Mississauga have changed ridesharing by-laws to regulate sharing economy companies like Uber and RideCo.
  • The Town of Innisfil has partnered with Uber to create an alternative to traditional public transit for their community.
The challenges raised by the sharing economy for municipal governments include:
  • Responding to strong demand for sharing economy services, while ensuring public health and safety.
  • Planning for parking, transportation, housing and other services without information about the informal sharing economy activities.
  • Responding to cross-boundary regulation and enforcement.
  • Establishing and enforcing appropriate licensing.
  • Responding to impacts on neighbourhoods and residents, such as additional traffic and noise.
  • The cost of these additional municipal enforcement and administration activities.
  • The potential impact on the availability of long-term affordable housing.
In the 2016 Budget, the Province committed to explore ways to enable home-sharing and allow greater flexibility for ride-sharing. The Province and AMO, including numerous municipal members, have had discussions to explore these issues and their solutions.