Transcript: Sharing the Wealth, Unevenly | May 04, 2016

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and checked purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "Sharing the wealth, Unevenly."

Steve says SUDDENLY, THE SHARING
ECONOMY IS EVERYWHERE.
IT'S HOW YOU VACATION, HOW YOU
BUY AND SELL GOODS AND SERVICES,
AND OF COURSE HOW YOU GET A RIDE.
BUT AS ITS MARKET SHARE RISES,
AND JURISDICTIONS AROUND THE
WORLD SEEK TO REGULATE IT, THE
SHARING ECONOMY FACES NEW
QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE
PROMISE OF ITS "PEER TO PEER."
ETHOS CAN LIVE UP TO THE DREAM.
JOINING US NOW FOR A REALITY
CHECK:
TOM SLEE, AUTHOR OF "WHAT'S
YOURS IS MINE: AGAINST THE
SHARING ECONOMY";

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover is blue and features a drawing of two hands grasping the title.
Tom is in his late fifties, with receding gray hair and a trimmed moustache. He's wearing a gray suit, striped white shirt, and striped red tie.

Steve continues SUNIL JOHAL, POLICY DIRECTOR AT
THE MOWAT CENTRE AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO;

Sunil is in his forties, balding, with a stubble. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit and a blue shirt.

Steve continues AND ESTHER NERLING, WHO'S AN
UberX DRIVER.

Esther is in her early sixties, with short tousled white-blond hair. She's wearing a black knitted poncho.

Steve continues NICE TO HAVE EVERYBODY HERE TODAY.
I WANT TO START BY PLAYING
SOME -- I WAS GOING TO SAY TAPE.
WE DON'T RUN TAPE ANYMORE.
WE'RE GOING TO ROLL A CLIP.
A FEDERAL CONSERVATIVE M.P.
NAMED ALEX NUTTALL FROM BARRIE
IS THE PARLIAMENTARY CRITIC FOR
THE QUOTE, UNQUOTE, NEW SHARING ECONOMY.
HERE IS A VIDEO HE POSTED TO
HIS Facebook PAGE.
WE'LL COME BACK AND CHAT.

A clip plays on screen in which Alex Nuttall speaks facing the screen. He's in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short black hair. He's wearing a blue shirt and a dark blue tie.

He says CANADIANS ARE MORE AND MORE
TURNING TO COMPANIES LIKE
Airbnb AND UBER TO GET EXACTLY
WHAT THEY NEED.
THAT'S WHY I'M EXCITED TO TAKE
ON THIS NEW ROLE BECAUSE IT'S A
GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO STAND UP
FOR CANADIANS WHO WANT MORE
CHOICE, LOWER PRICES, AND EVEN
BETTER SERVICE.
THESE NEW COMPANIES CHALLENGE
THE STATUS QUO.
THEY SHAKE UP THE MARKET, AND
THAT IS A GOOD THING.

The clip ends.

Back in the studio, the caption changes to "It'¡s a big deal."

Steve says THAT'S ALEX'S
VIEWPOINTS.
LET'S FIGURE OFF THE TOP HERE,
HOW BIG IS THE SHARING ECONOMY
CURRENTLY?

The caption changes to "Sunil Johal. Mowat Centre."

Sunil says A CONSULTING
FIRM ESTIMATES THAT THE REVENUE
VALUE OF THE SHARING ECONOMY
CURRENTLY IS ABOUT 15 BILLION U.S. dollars
THAT'S EXPECTED TO RISE TO OVER
330 BILLION dollars BY 2025.
THAT'S GLOBAL.
SO IF WE'RE THINKING ABOUT A
CANADIAN NUMBER, IT'S OBVIOUSLY
MUCH SMALLER THAN THAT, I WOULD
SAY PROBABLY IN THE LOW HUNDREDS
OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
CURRENTLY, POTENTIALLY WE COULD
BE TALKING A FEW BILLION DOLLARS
BY 2025.

Steve says OF THE FEW HUNDREDS
OF BILLIONS CURRENTLY, HOW MUCH
OF THAT IS YOUR PIECE OF THE ACTION?

Esther says ABOUT 500 dollars
A WEEK.

Steve says YOU MAKE 500 A WEEK?

Esther says I DO.

Steve says DRIVING UBERX.

Steve says ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THAT?

Esther says I AM.

Steve says BECAUSE...

The caption changes to "Esther Nerling. UberX Driver."

Esther says BECAUSE IT
TAKES ME OUT OF THE POVERTY LEVEL.
MY PENSION INCOME I WOULD BE
HAVING TO SUSTAIN MYSELF ON
WOULD NOT BE SUFFICIENT AND I
COULD BE SOCIALLY RELIANT ON
SOMEONE ELSE.
SO IT TAKES ME INTO BEING ABLE
TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF.

Steve says AND THIS IS YOUR
WAY, I GUESS, OF MAKING ENDS
MEET IN THE WAY YOU CAN?

Esther says EXACTLY.
IT'S MY SURVIVAL.

Steve says IT'S YOUR SURVIVAL.
OKAY.
HERE'S A QUOTE...

A quote appears on screen, next to a picture of a hand putting money in a toy car, under the title "Take home pay." The quote reads "One of the most multifaceted and careful [documentations of Uber driver pay] is an account by Philadelphia journalist Emily Guendelsberger of her time as an Uber driver. After meticulously tracking her own expenses and those of other drivers who shared time with her, she made about 17 dollars per hour gross, and after Uber's 28 percent cut and the 19 percent that went to expenses she ended up with just 9 dollars 34 an hour."
Quoted from Tom Slee, "What's yours is mine." 2016.

Steve says WHAT'S YOUR VIEW
ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THAT'S ALL
OKAY?

The caption changes to "Tom Slee. Author 'What's yours is mine.'"

Tom says I THINK THE PAY
FOR UBER DEBATE HAS BEEN
CHANGING A LOT OVER THE LAST 2
YEARS.
TWO YEARS AGO IN MAY, THEY CAME
OUT WITH A NUMBER AND THEY WERE
SAYING, YOU KNOW WHAT?
YOU COULD EARN 90,000 dollars A YEAR IF
YOU'RE AN UBER DRIVER IN NEW YORK.
AND A LOT OF JOURNALISTS WENT
CHASING AFTER THAT.
THEY COULDN'T FIND THESE PEOPLE,
RIGHT?
SINCE THEN, THAT STORY HAS
CHANGED.
IT'S COME DOWN, IT'S COME DOWN,
IT'S COME DOWN, AND AS UBER
MOVES FORWARD IN DIFFERENT
CITIES, IT TAKES A BIGGER SLICE
OF THE PIE AND IT KNOWS IT CAN
OPTIMIZE AND SQUEEZE ITS
DRIVERS.

Steve says IF SO MANY PEOPLE
ARE PREPARED TO WORK FOR WHAT IS
ACTUALLY BELOW MINIMUM WAGE
AFTER IT'S ALL SAID AND DONE,
WELL, I GUESS THE QUESTION IS:
WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE PREPARED
TO DO THAT KIND OF WORK IF IT'S
SO BAD?

Tom says I THINK IN MOST
ECONOMIES, THERE ARE ALWAYS
FOLKS WHO NEED A JOB, RIGHT?
AND YOU CAN HAVE VERY LOW-PAYING
JOBS THAT PEOPLE WILL APPLY TO
AND PEOPLE WILL WORK FOR, BUT
HERE IN CANADA, WE DO HAVE
LABOUR STANDARDS AND WE HAVE IT
FOR A REASON.
WE HAVE IT BECAUSE THAT KIND OF
RACE TO THE BOTTOM A PURELY FREE
MARKET APPROACH ENCOURAGES DOES
NOT END UP IN A GOOD PLACE.
THAT'S WHY WE LOOK TO HAVE JOB
PROTECTION AND LABOUR STANDARDS
AND I THINK COMPANIES LIKE UBER,
THEY'RE A LARGE COMPANY NOW,
THEY NEED TO FACE UP TO THEIR
OWN RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN IT
COMES TO THAT KIND OF
EMPLOYMENT.

Steve says SUNIL, AS YOU
ANALYSE THIS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY
THE LONG RANGE IMPLICATIONS ARE
OF A PROLIFERATION OF THIS KIND
OF WORK?

Sunil says THEY'RE SIGNIFICANT.
I THINK ESSENTIALLY WHAT WE ARE
SEEING, AND UBER IS REALLY A
CANARY IN THE COAL MINE FOR
THIS, IS MORE AND MORE RISK IS
BEING SHIFTED ON WORKERS AND
AWAY FROM THE STATE AND
CORPORATIONS AND THAT'S BECAUSE
MOST OF OUR SOCIAL POLICIES AND
SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN CANADA
WERE DEVELOPED IN THE 1950s
WHEN PERMANENT JOBS WITH
PENSIONS WERE VERY COMMON.
WE DON'T HAVE THAT SAME
SITUATION NOW.
AND WE HAVE -- I MEAN, SOME
ESTIMATES, UP TO 50 percent OF THE WORK
FORCE IS PRECARIOUSLY EMPLOYED.
MANY MORE PEOPLE ARE WORKING
PART-TIME JOBS THAT WOULD RATHER
WORK IN FULL-TIME JOBS.
MANY PEOPLE DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO
PHARMACARE, TO OTHER TYPES OF BENEFITS.
SO THE QUESTION IS: WHO IS GOING
TO STEP IN AND SPREAD THAT RISK
AND FILL THOSE GAPS FOR PEOPLE
WHO ARE IN PRECARIOUS POSITIONS
AND WANT A BETTER JOB.
IS IT UBER'S RESPONSIBILITY?
I WOULDN'T SAY IT IS.
I WOULD SAY IT IS THE
RESPONSIBILITY OF GOVERNMENTS TO
PUT IN PLACE THE RIGHT
FRAMEWORKS AND THE RIGHT SOCIAL
POLICIES TO MAKE SURE WE'RE NOT
LETTING PEOPLE FALL THROUGH THE GAPS.

Steve says TOM, LET'S
UNDERSTAND THIS CLEARLY.
DO YOU OBJECT TO WHAT ESTHER DOES?

Tom says I DON'T OBJECT TO
WHAT ESTHER DOES.
I OBJECT TO WHAT UBER DOES.

Steve says WHAT'S THE DISTINCTION?

Tom says THE DISTINCTION
IS ESTHER IS TRYING TO GET BY
AND MAKE A LIVING FOR HERSELF
AND I HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH
THAT.
UBER IS A COMPANY THAT IS NOW
VALUED AT OVER 60 BILLION dollars.
IT'S VALUED ABOUT THE SAME AS
GENERAL MOTORS.
IT'S A COMPANY THAT'S FUNDED BY
SOME VERY WEALTHY INTERESTS.
IT'S ACCUMULATED 8 BILLION dollars OF
MONEY FROM INVESTORS AROUND THE
WORLD THAT IT CAN USE TO SPEND,
TRYING TO CHANGE DEMOCRATICALLY
MADE RULES IN CITIES AROUND THE
WORLD, AND THAT'S WHAT I OBJECT TO.

Steve says ESTHER, DO YOU
UNDERSTAND HIS OBJECTIONS?

Esther says I DO.
I DO.
I GET WHAT HE'S SAYING.
HOWEVER, I THINK I TEND TO GO
MORE WITH WHAT SUNIL SAID WHERE,
OVERALL IN OUR SOCIETY, THINGS
HAVE CRUMBLED.
YOU KNOW, JUST IN THE WORKPLACE,
THERE'S MORE AND MORE PART-TIME
EMPLOYMENT BECAUSE EMPLOYERS
DON'T HAVE TO PAY BENEFITS.
SO IT'S LEFT A LOT OF PEOPLE IN
A CRACK OF HOW THEY'RE GOING TO
LIVE, AND ANY DOLLAR OR TWO THAT
THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE IS GOING
TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Steve says LET'S LOOK AT,
SUNIL, I SHOWED HIS WORK, NOW
I'M GOING TO SHOW YOUR WORK.

He shows a printed report and continues
POLICY MAKING FOR THE SHARING ECONOMY.
THAT'S THE MOWAT CENTRE'S LATEST
CONTRIBUTION TO THIS.

Now a quote from the report appears, next to a drawing of a toy mallet about to hit a toy mole, under the title "A carnival game approach?" The quote reads "As these marketplaces expand and threaten to disrupt established business models, policymakers around the world are trying to develop appropriate responses to the sharing economy. To date, the reaction from governments has felt like a frantic game of 'whack-a-mole.'"
Quoted from Sunil Johal and Noah Zon, "Policymaking for the sharing economy." 2015.

Steve says WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

The caption changes to "Coming soon: Rules and regs."

Sunil says WHAT WE MEAN
IS WE'RE SEEING UBER AND OTHER
COMPANIES LIKE AIR B AND
Airbnb SET UP SHOP AND THE
RULES HAVEN'T BEEN THOUGHT
THROUGH BY GOVERNMENT.
A COMPANY LIKE UBER HAS NO
CAPITAL CONSTRAINTS TO
EXPANSION.
THEY DON'T OWN ANY CARS.
THEY'RE JUST ESSENTIALLY SETTING
UP AND WAITING FOR PEOPLE WITH
CARS TO SIGN UP FOR THEIR
PLATFORM AND BECOME DRIVERS.
THAT'S GREAT FOR DRIVERS, IT'S
GREAT FOR PASSENGERS, BUT IT'S
NOT GREAT NECESSARILY FOR THE
PUBLIC INTEREST, BECAUSE
GOVERNMENTS ALWAYS TAKE A GOOD
AMOUNT OF TIME TO DEVELOP RULES,
AND THAT'S REASONABLE BECAUSE WE
DON'T WANT RULES THAT ARE
WRITTEN ON THE BACK OF A
COCKTAIL NAPKIN P..
BUT THE SHARING ECONOMY
GENERALLY MOVE AT SUCH A QUICK
PACE THAT THE REGULATIONS
CATCHING UP IS DRIFTING FURTHER
APART.
AND WE'RE SEEING GOVERNMENTS
AROUND THE WORLD STRUGGLE WITH
THAT.
IT'S PUTTING DRIVERS AND
CITIZENS IN AN AWKWARD SPOT.
IS WHAT I'M DOING LEGAL?
IS IT NOT LEGAL?
WHAT ARE THE RULES OF THE GAME.
IT'S IMPERATIVE FOR GOVERNMENTS
TO MOVE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE,
NOT IN DEVELOPING FINAL RULES,
BUT FRAMEWORK DRAFT RULES, WE'RE
GOING TO PUT THESE IN PLACE, AND
ADJUST THOSE IF WE NEED TO.

Steve says I WOULD BE
INTERESTED ON YOUR VIEW AS YOU
KNOW SOME JURISDICTIONS ARE
GOING HEAVY INTO REGULATION
BECAUSE THEY DON'T LIKE UBER.
OTHERS ARE SAYING COME ON IN,
WILD, WILD WEST, DISRUPT AWAY.
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW?

Sunil says THE TAXI
INDUSTRY HASN'T BEEN AN EXEMPLAR.
IT'S A BROKEN SYSTEM.
IT NEEDS SHAKING UP.
UBER HAS OBVIOUSLY SHAKEN THE
SYSTEM UP.
I WOULD ARGUE THAT WHAT
GOVERNMENTS ACROSS -- AROUND THE
WORLD AND ONTARIO, ACROSS CANADA
SHOULD BE DOING IS WHAT IS IN
THE PUBLIC INTEREST HERE?
DO WE WANT A SAFE TAXI SYSTEM?
WE WANT AN ACCESSIBLE TAXI
SYSTEM, WE WANT COMPETITION
WHERE PRICES ARE SIMPLE.
LET'S HAVE SIMPLE, BASIC RULES
THAT DRIVE TOWARDS THOSE KEY
OBJECTIVES.
THAT'S WHAT WE'RE STARTING TO
SEE IN TORONTO, IN OTTAWA, IN
SOME OF THESE OTHER CITIES.
WE'RE STARTING TO SEE THAT
POLICY CONVERSATION START TO
TAKE PLACE.

Steve says TOM, YOU PRESUMABLY
WANT HEAVY REGULATION ON UBER,
OR WERE YOU RATHER JUST BAN IT
ALTOGETHER?

Tom says I DON'T THINK IT
EVEN MAYBE LOGICALLY MAKES SENSE
TO BAN A COMPANY.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PRACTICES
UNDER WHICH THEY OPERATE.
AND I THINK THEY HAVE
DELIBERATELY, SUNIL WAS SAYING,
PUSHING FORWARD VERY QUICKLY,
TRYING TO FORCE GOVERNMENTS TO
MOVE QUICKLY.
I DON'T THINK THERE'S
NECESSARILY A NEED TO MOVE
QUICKLY.
I THINK GOVERNMENTS CAN AFFORD
TO TAKE THEIR TIME.
IF YOU LOOK IN GERMANY, IF YOU
LOOK IN KOREA, IF YOU LOOK IN
SPAIN, SOME GOVERNMENTS HAVE
SAID, YOU KNOW, WE NEED TIME TO
SORT THIS OUT.
THE OTHER THING IS, I THINK
THERE'S NOTHING INEVITABLE ABOUT
THE FUTURE OF UBER, RIGHT?
TECHNOLOGY IS GOING TO CHANGE.
WE KNOW IN TEN YEARS' TIME,
WE'RE GOING TO BE USING
SMARTPHONES OR WHATEVER COMES
NEXT FOR MORE PARTS OF OUR
LIVES.
BUT UBER IS, ALTHOUGH A PART OF
THIS STORY, THE TECHNOLOGY
STORY, A LOT OF IT IS, AS I SAY,
A BET THAT THEY CAN CHANGE
RULES.
IT'S A DEREGULATION STORY AS
MUCH AS IT'S A TECHNOLOGY STORY,
AND I THINK SUNIL IS RIGHT THAT
THE TAXI INDUSTRY IS NOT ONE
THAT HAS GAINED A LOT OF FANS,
THAT'S FOR SURE.
BUT I THINK WE NEED TO REMEMBER
WHY CITIES AROUND THE WORLD HAVE
CHOSEN TO REGULATE THAT PART...

Steve says LET ME PICK UP ON
THAT BECAUSE ONE OF THE AREAS
THAT THE TAXI INDUSTRY HAS SAID
IS REALLY UNFAIR IS THAT THEY'RE
OBLIGED TO CARRY PRETTY HEAVY
INSURANCE IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH,
WHAT IF AN ACCIDENT HAPPENS,
WHEREAS UBER DRIVERS DON'T HAVE TO.
I THINK A LOT OF JURISDICTIONS
HAVE HEARD THAT COMPLAINT AND
THEY HAVE SAID, YOU KNOW, IT
PROBABLY MAKES SENSE IF UBER
DRIVERS HAVE TO CARRY SOME INSURANCE AS WELL.
WHAT ABOUT THAT...ARE YOU GONNA
DO THAT?

Esther says OF COURSE
YOU KNOW I THINK THAT THERE'S
VERY FEW OF US THAT WOULD NOT
COMPLY TO CERTAIN THINGS, BUT...

Steve says LIKE WHAT?

Esther says LIKE INSURANCE...

Steve says SO YOU'LL BUY
INSURANCE...EXTRA INSURANCE
TO DEAL WITH THE ACCIDENTS
UNDER PROFESSIONAL...

Esther says EVEN ON THE
PROPOSED THINGS, I ALREADY HAVE
THAT INSURANCE BECAUSE I ALSO AM
IMPORTANT WHEN I DRIVE MY CAR.

Steve says YES, YOU ARE.

Esther says I DRIVE
AGING PARENTS IN THERE, NIECES,
NEPHEWS, AND I'M IN THERE.

Steve says THAT'S DIFFERENT
FROM THE KIND OF SORT OF
PROFESSIONAL TYPE INSURANCE THAT
YOU'D HAVE TO BIAS A BUSINESS...
BUY AS A BUSINESS, RIGHT?

Esther says YOU HAVE TO
COMPARE APPLES WITH APPLES.
A TAXI CAB IS GOING TO BE
INSURED FOR ABOUT 10 HOURS 60
MINUTES IN A WEEK, THEY'RE
INSURED 24-7 WITH MULTIPLE
DRIVERS.
MY CAR IS INSURED FOR ME FOR
ABOUT 1240 MINUTES.
SO EVERYTHING HAS TO BE TAKEN
INTO ACCOUNT IN MEASUREMENTS, TO
BE FAIR.

Steve says ARE THERE ANY
REGULATIONS THAT YOU'RE HEARING
ABOUT RIGHT NOW THAT, AS YOU
LOOK AT THEM, YOU THINK, THAT'S
JUST NOT ON, I'M NOT GOING TO DO THAT?

Esther says WELL, ONE
OF THEM, FOR AN EXAMPLE, IS
HAVING A CAMERA IN MY CAR.
I DON'T NEED A CAMERA IN MY CAR
UNLESS IT'S TO TAKE THE PICTURES
OF THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE I DRIVE.
SERIOUSLY.
BECAUSE I DRIVE REGISTERED
GUESTS AND EVERY ONE OF MY TRIPS
IS REGISTERED AND DOCUMENTED.
SO I'M NOT PICKING UP PEOPLE
FROM A CURB.

Steve says TOM?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: TVO.org, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; @theagenda"

Tom says I THINK YOU ARE
HAVING THIS DISCUSSION ABOUT
INSURANCE AND WHAT SHOULD GOOD
DRIVERS GET, BUT I THINK THE
BIG QUESTION HERE IS...
WHAT SHOULD UBER BE ON THE HOOK
FOR? IF I ORDER A UBER RIDE
AND YOU COME ALONG AND PICK ME
UP. I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO GRILL
YOU ABOUT THE STATE OF YOUR
INSURANCE. UBER NEEDS TO BE ABLE
TO PROVIDE GUARANTEES ABOUT THE
INSURANCE THAT'S DONE ON IT'S
PLATFORM AND RIGHT NOW A BIG
PART OF ITS BUSINESS IS SAYING
HEY, WHEN PUSHED COMES TO SHOVE
THEY SAY WE ARE JUST A MATCH
MAKING SERVICE ...IT'S NOT OUR
RESPONSIBILITY TO SAY WHO IS
INSURED AND WHO'S NOT. WE CAN
RECOMMEND, WE CAN TELL PEOPLE
BUT WE CAN'T PROVIDE THOSE
GUARANTEES. I THINK THEY'RE A
BIG COMPANY, THEY WANT TO PLAY
IN CANADA, THAT'S THE KIND
STANDARD WE EXPECTED FROM THEM.

Steve says LET ME PICK UP ON
THIS NOTION THAT TOM SAID A
MINUTE AGO ABOUT A SORTA RACE
TO THE BOTTOM IN TERMS OF STANDARDS
THE TAXI INDUSTRY
DID COMPLAIN THAT A LOT OF
THINGS THEY HAVE TO DO THAT UBER
DOESN'T HAVE TO DO HAS MADE THEM
UNCOMPETITIVE AND THEY WANT
THOSE REGULATIONS CHANGED AND
SOME OF THAT HAS HAPPENED.
I THINK TAXIS NO LONGER HAVE TO
HAVE SNOW TIRES ON IN THE
WINTERTIME.
I GUESS THE QUESTION IS, IS THIS
IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST THAT
THESE STANDARDS WOULD BE
DOWNGRADED IN ORDER TO BE MORE
COMPETITIVE?

Sunil says IT DEPENDS ON
WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, BUT
GENERALLY SPEAKING...

Steve says DRIVER EDUCATION.

Sunil says LOWERING
STANDARDS GENERALLY PROBABLY
ISN'T A GOOD IDEA.
IN THE CASE OF DRIVER EDUCATION,
CAB DRIVERS IN TORONTO WERE
REQUIRED TO TAKE 17 DAYS OF
IN-CLASS TRAINING TO BECOME A
CAB DRIVER.

Steve says NOT ANYMORE.

Sunil says NOT ANYMORE.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD SAY WHAT
WERE THEY LEARNING IN THE 17
DAYS BECAUSE THE SERVICE QUALITY
THEY WERE GETTING FROM CAB
DRIVERS WASN'T EXACTLY
INCREDIBLY HIGH.
SO MAYBE THAT MEANS WE NEED TO
CHANGE THE KIND OF EDUCATION
THAT'S REQUIRED.
MAYBE WE CAN TAILOR IT.
BUT IT'S, AGAIN, LOOKING BACK AT
WHAT'S IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST
HERE?
DO WE WANT TO WASTE CAB DRIVERS'
TIME AND MONEY TO PAY FOR A
COURSE, THREE AND A HALF WEEKS
WHERE THEY'RE NOT WORKING OR
LEARNING SOMETHING, OR SAY HERE
ARE FIVE KEY THINGS WE NEED YOU
TO KNOW AND DO WHEN SOMEONE GETS
IN YOUR CAR.
REALLY, WHAT'S REQUIRED, NOT
ANYTHING EXTRA AND NOT ANYTHING
BELOW THAT.

Steve says GOTCHA.
TOM, LET'S TALK TAXES.
THIS IS AN ISSUE YOU RAISE IN
YOUR BOOK, AND ONCE AGAIN, WE'RE
GOING TO DO AN EXCERPT FROM YOUR
BOOK.
SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD?
LET'S BRING UP THIS QUOTE.

Another quote from Tom's book appears on screen, under the title "Fare taxes?" The quote reads "After a Toronto Councillor obtained an email stating that there is no tax charged on Uber rides, the company claimed that its drivers are expected to collect sales tax, even though the cashless transaction is part of the service's appeal.
Whatever happens to the driver's portion of the fare, the company's cut is tax free.
If you take an Uber in Canada your credit card payment will go to Uber BV, incorporated in the Netherlands for tax reasons."

Steve says WANT TO EXPLAIN ALL
THAT TO US?

The caption changes to "Tax time."

Tom says YEAH.
SO THIS IS A TACTIC THAT'S
BECOME QUITE COMMON AND UBER IS
ONE OF MANY COMPANIES THAT'S
REALLY BUILT A WHOLE MODEL
AROUND THIS.
SO WHAT HAPPENS IS THIS: IF I
ORDER A TAXI SERVICE -- AN UBER
RIDE, THEN MY PAYMENT GOES TO
UBER BV.
UBER BV IS A SUBSIDIARY OF UBER
THAT OPERATES OUT OF THE
NETHERLANDS.

Steve says WHY?

Tom says UBER CANADA JUST
TO START WITH MAKES NO MONEY.
ALL THE PEOPLE REPRESENTING UBER
HERE, THEY HAVE NO INCOME SO
THEY PAY NO TAXES.
UBER BV, YOU'D THINK, WELL, IT'S
TAKING IN A BUNCH OF MONEY, SO
IT'S GOING TO PAY TAXES ON THAT.
SURPRISINGLY UBER BV LICENCES
ITS OWN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
FROM ANOTHER UBER SUBSIDIARY
CALLED UBER INTERNATIONAL WHICH
IS BASED PARTLY IN THE
NETHERLANDS AND PARTLY IN BERMUDA.

Steve says AND THE ADVANTAGE OF
DOING ALL THAT IS...

Tom says THEY AVOID PAYING
TAXES IN THE NETHERLANDS BECAUSE
THE NETHERLANDS DOES CHARGE TAX
ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.
IS IT CONFUSING?
YES.
IS IT MEANT TO BE CONFUSING?
ABSOLUTELY.
BUT THE END RESULT IS THAT UBER
ENDS UP PAYING BASICALLY NO
TAXES ON ITS OPERATIONS THAT
HAPPEN OUTSIDE THE U.S.

Steve says DO YOU HAVE A GUESS
AS TO HOW MUCH REVENUE THE
CANADA REVENUE AGENCY IS
FOREGOING BECAUSE OF THIS LEGAL,
WE SHOULD ADD, LEGAL LOOPHOLE?

Tom says WELL, YOU KNOW,
SUNIL WAS SAYING IF WE ESTIMATE
THE SIZE OF THE SHARING ECONOMY
RIGHT NOW IN CANADA TO BE A
HUNDRED MILLION, LOW HUNDRED
MILLIONS...

Steve says THAT'S EVERYTHING,
NOT JUST UBER.

Tom says UBER IS PROBABLY
AROUND 50 TO 80 MILLION OF THAT,
SOMEWHERE IN THAT KIND OF RANGE.
THAT WAS FROM SEPTEMBER 14TH TO
SEPTEMBER 2015, SO 13 percent OF THAT,
SO WE'RE TALKING -- WHAT?
TEN MILLION.
THE WHOLE THING ABOUT THE
SHARING ECONOMY IS THAT INTERNET
PLATFORMS IS TAKING THIS MODEL
OF A TRANSACTION THAT USED TO
HAPPEN LOCALLY AND NOW HAPPENS
INTERNATIONALLY AND IT'S
SPREADING THAT INTO THE SERVICE
ECONOMY.
SO WE HAVE THIS WITH AMAZON BOOK
STORES.
NOW WE HAVE IT WITH UBER.
NOW WE HAVE IT WITH Airbnb AND
IT MAKES TAX A DIFFICULT
PROBLEM.

Steve says WE DIDN'T INVITE YOU
TO GET YOU IN TROUBLE WITH CRA,
SO IF YOU DON'T WANT TO ANSWER,
I'M GOING TO ASK THEM ANYWAY.
YOU DO MAKE REVENUE.

Esther says I DO.

Steve says REVENUE IS TAXABLE.

Esther says RIGHT.

Steve says DO YOU DECLARE IT?

Esther says YES.

Steve says YOU DO?

Esther says YES.

Steve says HOW DO I KNOW THAT?

Esther says THAT'S
PROBABLY A QUESTION I DON'T NEED
TO ANSWER TO YOU.

She laughs.

Steve says BECAUSE, OF COURSE,
GOVERNMENTS EVERYWHERE, YOU
KNOW, ARE STRAINING UNDER, YOU
KNOW, IN THEIR VIEW, A LACK OF
RESOURCES TO PAY FOR PUBLIC
SERVICES THAT PEOPLE WANT AND
THEY OBVIOUSLY HAVE THEIR EYES
ON THE SHARING ECONOMY, MUCH OF
WHICH GOES, YOU KNOW...

Esther says EXACTLY.
I'D LIKE TO SPEAK TO THAT,
ACTUALLY, BECAUSE I DON'T
EXACTLY AGREE WITH EVERYTHING
THAT TOM SAID.

Steve says ABOUT ANYTHING THAT
TOM SAYS?

Esther says NO, NO.
HE'S A NICE MAN.
BUT WHEN IT COMES TO, YOU KNOW,
HOLDING COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE,
WHETHER IT'S UBER OR ANYBODY, I
BELIEVE THAT THE STRUCTURE OR
THE REGULATION AND HOW THEY
WOULD LIKE TO KEEP THEM
ACCOUNTABLE HAS TO BE ATTACHED
TO THEM.
MY EXAMPLE WOULD BE, LIKE, IF
YOUR DOG GETS FLEAS, WHAT DO YOU
TREAT?
YOU TREAT THE DOG TO GET RID OF
THE FLEAS, RIGHT?
BECAUSE A WHOLE BUNCH OF US UBER
DRIVERS WOULD BE LIKE THE FLEAS.
RIGHT...WITH THE NEW PROPOSED
LEGISLATION EVEN AT CITY HALL
THERE WILL BE A PRICE OF CENTS
PER FARE, SO THEY DESTINED TO
I THINK THE PREDICTION WAS
3.5 MILLION, SO TO SAY THAT UBER
WOULD NOT PAY ANYTHING IS
SLIGHTLY MISLEADING BECAUSE
IF IT'S STRUCTURED PROPERLY THEY
HAVE TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE
AND MONEY HAS TO BE TAKEN OFF
THEY WOULD BE PAYING 20000 dollars
JUST TO BE EXISTENT...

Steve says FORGIVE ME HERE.
I WANT TO RETURN TO THE ISSUE OF
TAXES.
YOU ARE A VERY HONEST PERSON.
WE CAN TELL.

Esther says RIGHT, I AM.

Steve says THEREFORE, THE
REVENUE YOU EARN FROM DRIVING
FOR UBER, YOU DECLARE ON YOUR
TAX FORM AND YOU PAY TAX ON IT.

Esther says RIGHT.

Steve says THIS WILL NOT COME
AS A SHOCK TO YOU.
NOT EVERYBODY DOES.

Esther says RIGHT.

Steve says AND SUNIL WANTS TO
SPEAK TO THAT.

Sunil says CAN I JUMP IN
FOR A SECOND?
ONE OF THE THINGS WE NEED TO
THINK ABOUT, THE SHARING ECONOMY
SURFACES A LOT OF CASH
TRANSACTIONS.
EVERYTHING ESTHER IS DOING IS ON
A CREDIT CARD AND IS TRACKABLE.
WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN SOME
JURISDICTIONS LIKE FRANCE IS,
THE COUNTRIES ARE DEALING
DIRECTLY WITH THE PLATFORM IN
TERMS OF TAX REMITTANCE ISSUES.
INSTEAD OF HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT
ESTHER PLAYING CERTAIN TAXES,
LET'S DEAL WITH THE Airbnbs
AND THE UBER.
LET'S NOT WORRY ABOUT THE SMALL
SCALE.
YOU HAVE "X" NUMBER OF DRIVERS
IN THE COUNTRY.
WE KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO
PAY "X" AMOUNT OF TAX.
LET'S MOVE FORWARD IN THAT KIND
OF A SMART WAY.

Steve says DO YOU HAVE ANY
EVIDENCE THERE'S A TON OF TAX
AVOIDANCE GOING ON RIGHT NOW?

Sunil says I DON'T THINK
THERE IS.
I THINK THE SHARING ECONOMY
SURFACES A LOT OF THINGS THAT
WERE IN THE GRAY MARKET WHERE
PEOPLE WERE HANDING CASH TO A
HOUSE CLEANER...

Tom says WHAT'S HAPPENING
NOW IS COMPANIES ARE SETTING UP
AND SAYING WE CAN TAKE THOSE
INFORMAL TRANSACTIONS, WE CAN
TAKE THAT MODEL, AND WE CAN
SCALE THAT UP AND WE CAN BUILD A
MULTIBILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS ON IT.
AND MY VIEW ON THAT IS, IF YOU
WANT TO BUILD A MULTIBILLION
DOLLAR BUSINESS, YOU MAKE SURE
THAT TAXES ARE HANDLED PROPERLY.
SUNIL IS RIGHT, YOU GO TO UBER
FOR THAT.
WHAT YOU ARE SAYING, YOU GO TO
THE DOG.
YOU GO TO UBER TO DEAL WITH THE
TAX ISSUES.

Steve says WHILE YOU HAVE THE
FLOOR, TOM, THERE IS A PART OF
YOUR BOOK WHERE YOU MAKE A MOST
UNEXPECTED POINT AND I'D LIKE
YOU TO JUST HELP US UNDERSTAND
THIS.
YOU SAY THAT THE WAY UBER
FUNCTIONS CUTS DOWN ON RACISM?

Tom says I DON'T SAY IT
QUITE SO BLUNTLY AS THAT.

Steve says IT MAY HAVE THE
POSSIBILITY OF CUTTING DOWN ON RACISM.

The caption changes to "On the up side."

Tom says IT'S TO DO WITH
WHAT SUNIL IS SAYING ABOUT
SURFACING CERTAIN KINDS OF THINGS.
I'M NOT HERE AS A REPRESENTATIVE
AND I DON'T SPEAK FOR THE TAXI
INDUSTRY, I HAVE NO CONNECTIONS
TO THE TAXI INDUSTRY.
WE KNOW THAT ESPECIALLY IN A
NUMBER OF U.S. CITIES THAT, YOU
KNOW, PEOPLE OF COLOUR HAVE A
HARD TIME GETTING A RIDE IN A
TAXI ON THE SIDE OF THE STREET
AND THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF
REPORTS OF THOSE PEOPLE SAYING,
YOU KNOW WHAT?
IF I HAVE A CREDIT CARD, I CAN
CALL AN UBER AND I DON'T FACE
THAT PROBLEM.
SO THAT'S WHAT I WAS MEANING AS
SAYING IT HAS HELPED SOME PEOPLE
TO GET PAST THAT PHENOMENON,
YOU'RE GOING BY ME AND PICKING
UP THE WHITE GUY 20 YARDS UP THE
STREET, RIGHT?
THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS THAT WE
DON'T KNOW IS, ARE THERE OTHER
AVENUES WHERE RACISM CAN BE
EXPRESSED WITHIN UBER'S SYSTEM?
YOU KNOW?
IF YOUR NAME IS MOHAMMED, WHAT'S
YOUR DRIVER RATING GOING TO BE
LIKE COMPARED TO JOHN SMITH?
WE DON'T KNOW BECAUSE UBER IS A
BLACK BOX AND WE CAN'T SEE
INSIDE THEIR SYSTEMS.

Steve says UBER CALLS THEIR
DRIVERS "PARTNERS."

Esther says RIGHT.

Steve says DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THEM?

Esther says YES.

Steve says YOU DO.
HOW COME?

Esther says WELL, EVERY
WEEK I'M BASICALLY HELD
ACCOUNTABLE AND ALSO, IN SOME
ASPECTS, IT'S ALSO THE WAY THEY
MAKE SURE I KNOW I EXIST.
SO EVERY WEEK I GET A REPORT
CARD THAT SHOWS MY RATING.

Steve says WHAT'S YOUR RATING?

Esther says MY RATING
IS 4.9.

Steve says HEY.
THAT'S PRETTY GOOD.

Esther says AND I
MAINTAIN IT.
I HAVE A VERY HIGH RATING.

Steve says THAT'S OUT OF 5,
RIGHT?

Esther says YES.

Steve says IN CASE PEOPLE THINK
IT'S OUT OF TEN AND WONDER WHY
I'M PRAISING IT.
4.9 IS GOOD.

Esther says I GET
COMMENTED ON MY RATING ALL THE
TIME.
AND THEY ALSO PUT ALL THE
COMMENTS THAT MY CLIENTS PUT,
YOU KNOW, WRITE ABOUT ME, AND IF
I EVER HAVE A BLUE DAY, I JUST
NEED TO LOOK AT MY COMMENTS AND
I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER.

Steve says SUNIL, I WANT TO PUT
THIS COMMENT TO YOU.
THE CANADIAN BLOGGER GLEN CARTER
HAS SAID MOST OF THE CRITICS OF
THE SHARING ECONOMY ARE, QUOTE,
LIKE MODERN DAY CANDLESTICK
MAKERS PROTESTING EDISON'S LIGHT
BULB."
THE FACT IS PEOPLE DO STILL BUY
CANDLES.
I WONDER IF UBER AND THE TAXI
INDUSTRY CAN CO-EXIST?

Sunil says I THINK THEY CAN.
YOU'RE GOING TO SEE CONVERGENCE
BETWEEN THE BUSINESS MODELS.
CUSTOMERS LIKE HAVING THE
FLEXIBILITY OF THE APP., SEEING
WHERE THE CAR IS SO YOU'RE NOT
WAITING OUTSIDE IN THE COLD.
THEY LIKE THE RATING SYSTEMS.
IF GOVERNMENT MONITORS THOSE SO
WE GET INSIDE THE BOX TOM IS
TALKING ABOUT AND WE'RE NOT
COMPLETELY RELYING ON WHAT UBER
IS TELLING US, WE'LL BE IN A
GOOD POSITION.
A LOT OF CAB COMPANIES ARE
REFORMING THEMSELVES INTO A
PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION NETWORK
OR A FLEET MORE ALIGNED WITH HOW
UBER OPERATES.
I THINK IN THE LONG RUN, WE'RE
GOING TO SEE BETTER COMPETITION
AND BETTER FOR CONSUMERS, BUT
THAT'S ONLY IF GOVERNMENT GETS
THE RULES OF THE GAME RIGHT.
THAT'S THE OPEN QUESTION TO US
NOW, IS HOW ARE THE RULES OF THE
GAME ACTUALLY GOING TO PLAY OUT
IN REAL MARKET CONDITIONS?

Steve says DO YOU THINK
CO-EXISTENCE IS POSSIBLE?

Esther says I DO.
BECAUSE ABOUT 60 TO 70 PERCENT
OF THEIR BUSINESS, I DON'T
HAVE -- I CAN'T EVEN TOUCH IT
BECAUSE I HAVE NOBODY THAT HAILS
ME AND I DON'T HAVE A TAXI STAND.
SO THAT PART IS ALWAYS GOING TO
BE THERE FOR THEM.
THERE IS DEFINITELY PEOPLE WHO
ONLY WANT TO RIDE IN A TAXI.
THEY'RE NOT GOING TO CHANGE
THEIR MIND.
WE DO HAVE A FEW CONVERTS.
YOU KNOW, IT'S ALL ABOUT CHOICE.
YOU KNOW?
AND THE FACT THAT PEOPLE CAN
HAVE A CHOICE WHICH WAY THEY
WANT TO BE MOVED I THINK IS VERY
IMPORTANT AND SHOULD NEVER BE
OVERLOOKED.

The caption changes to "Producer: Gregg Thurlbeck, @GreggThurlbeck"

Steve says GOTCHA.
THANKS, EVERYBODY, FOR THIS
DISCUSSION.
HAPPY TO HAVE HAD ON OUR PROGRAM
TOM SLEE, THE AUTHOR OF "WHAT'S
YOURS IS MINE: AGAINST THE
SHARING ECONOMY," SUNIL JOHAL,
POLICY DIRECTOR AT THE MOWAT
CENTRE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
TORONTO, AND ESTHER KAPLAN AN
UBERX DRIVER WHO GOES BY THE
HANDLE ESTHER UBERX QUEEN.
THANK YOU, YOUR MAJESTY.

Watch: Sharing the Wealth, Unevenly