Rising Popularity of Sharing Economy Disrupting Markets, Forcing Changes to Regulation

According to a new report produced by MaRS Solutions Lab, the rising popularity of the sharing economy is disrupting existing markets and forcing governments to rethink regulation.

MaRS Solutions Lab applied a design-thinking perspective to gain a better understanding of the problem and to develop solutions for effective regulation.

In 2015, more than 375,000 people stayed in Airbnb accommodations while visiting Ontario. Today, Uber claims to have 15,000 driver-partners in Toronto alone.

“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,” said Joeri van den Steenhoven, the director of MaRS Solutions Lab.

“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 build it.”

Over the past six months, the team developed its strategy with a particular focus on the accommodation and transportation industries.

The report defines the sharing economy as a paradigm of peer-to-peer lending that enables the sharing, borrowing or bartering of underutilized assets in exchange for goods, services or money. Technology plays a key role as it enables the creation of platforms and networks that can reach massive scale within a short period of time.

This project was presented as part of the Ontario-Toronto Burden Reduction Working Group.