Province of Ontario Partners With Airbnb on New Pilot Project

Ontario is recognizing the economic potential of the sharing economy by partnering with Airbnb to launch a new pilot project.

The pilot project will raise awareness about homeowners’ and consumers’ rights and responsibilities when offering or booking online accommodations, informing users about:

  • How to follow tax laws such as reporting rental income
  • Consumer protection rights under contracts, such as cancellations or refunds
  • Accessibility requirements, such as allowing service animals on rental property
  • Other regulatory and safety obligations, such as having a functioning smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector

“We believe this partnership with Airbnb will go a long way to raise awareness for both consumers and potential hosts of their rights, and responsibilities,” David Orazietti, Minister of Consumer and Government Services said. Airbnb will educate its hosts through an email notification during tax season to remind them of their tax obligations. The province and Airbnb will collaborate to create a webpage with content specific to Ontario regulations and link to the Ontario government website for detailed information on topics such as consumer protection, accessibility requirements and more.

Toronto Airbnb suite: Photo credit: Airbnb
Toronto Airbnb suite:
Photo credit: Airbnb

The sharing economy has significant potential to create jobs and drive growth, productivity and innovation. Research shows the benefits of the sharing economy include cost savings and greater choice for consumers as well as increased access to capital for small startups. Ontario is the first province in Canada to partner with Airbnb to ensure consumers and hosts know their legal rights and responsibilities.

Progressive Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament (M.P.P.) Tim Hudak has proposed a similar piece of legislation.  In October, 2015 his private member’s bill Opportunity in the Sharing Economy Act was ordered to the standing committee on finance.  The legislation looks at setting up a framework so that services such as Airbnb, and Uber could legally operate.