Pondering (Not Jumping) Hurdles to E-Commerce in Canada

by Dentons
Contact

[author: ]

So, what can Canada do to become a leader in e-commerce? Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology would like to offer some suggestions for how the Government can help and Industry Canada has released its 2012-2013 Plans and Priorities. There is not much in the way of innovation in these documents but one recurring issue is the fragmentation of consumer protection legislation. Might the future bring greater harmonization?

Standing Committee Report

Recently, the Standing Committee released its report entitled “E-Commerce in Canada: Pursuing the Promise” in which it summarized its investigation into the market for e-commerce market in Canada and what the Government can do to assist to overcome some of the challenges to the e-commerce market.

Canadians are on-line. Using information gathered by Statistics Canada, the Report states that 79% of Canadians had Internet access in 2010 and 74% of those with Internet access used the Internet for “window shopping” or “comparison shopping”. E-commerce is also growing in Canada; however, the Report suggests that Canadian businesses may be under-investing in this retail channel and consumers are purchasing from U.S.-based Internet retail channels.

The Report acknowledges several barriers to e-commerce in Canada, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). These include the cost of investment and access to capital. However, they also include the fact that Canada has a huge geography and low population density. The Report states that logistics and shipping costs in Canada are larger (even for domestic shipping) than in the United States. Furthermore, the Report notes the lack of uniformity in consumer protection laws across Canada.

The Standing Committee made 16 recommendations for the Government of Canada. They are:

1. Place an emphasis on e-commerce in its forthcoming digital economy strategy.

2. Work with the payments industry to modernize payments systems to ensure an efficient, fair, safe, competitive and world-leading payments system in Canada.

3. Work with industry to increase the affordability, reliability and speed of broadband Internet available to Canadians.

4. Reduce “red tape” and costs of cross-border business and shipping for businesses and consumers.

5. Examine disclosure and transparency rules so that businesses and consumers are aware of the total costs of e-commerce transactions prior to purchase.

6. The Business Development Bank of Canada make information and communications technology adoption a strategic focus.

7. Bring Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation into force to help to increase consumer confidence in the e-marketplace.

8. Work with the provinces and industry to develop strategies to meet the skilled workers shortage in information and communication technology industries.

9. Provide an easily accessible directory or service containing all government programs related to innovation and R&D to help firms access the tools and support they need to increase innovation and adopt information and communications technologies (ITC).

10. Work with Internet service providers to ensure and promote the availability of 24/7 technical support to their clients to ensure their services are functioning as required, and to ensure that clients have transparent and up-to-date access to their account information.

11. Examine ways to increase the quality of information available regarding adoption and use by Canadian SMEs, and the business impact of such adoption and use.

12. Consumers and retailers should be protected by a code of conduct applicable to on-line, mobile, and other emerging transaction technologies.

13. The Government should become a “model user” of e-commerce and on-line solutions in its procurement practices and delivery of services to Canadians.

14. Ensure Government systems are secure from potential security threats to avoid lengthy shut-downs of Government of Canada on-line services.

15. Work with industry and consumer groups to increase digital literacy and simplify terms and conditions of e-commerce transactions.

16. View financial literacy and digital literacy as being intertwined due to the widespread adoption of electronic and mobile payments systems.

Industry Canada Plans and Priorities

Industry Canada has also released its 2012-2013 Estimates — Report on Plans and Priorities. If you believe the government should be facilitating the building of e-commerce capacity, it might be criticized for lack of ambition (University of Ottawa Professor Michael Geist is a critic). Some highlights are:

  • Industry Canada will participate on a federal-provincial-territorial Consumer Measures Committee to examine best practices in achieving compliance with consumer protection laws.
  • Industry Canada will also participate in developing or updating consumer information.
  • Industry Canada will review consumer issues in cross-border transactions through participation in three projects: (1) the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) review of the Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce; (2) the development of an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard for business to consumer electronic commerce, and (3) related projects regarding on-line dispute resolution and redress.
  • Industry Canada has set performance targets for its activities. These include: (1) 86% of Canadians using the Internet; (2) 65% of Canadian businesses understanding their privacy obligations; and (3) 43% for Canadians purchasing goods and services on-line.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Dentons | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Dentons
Contact
more
less

Dentons on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.