Internet Tax Widely Opposed By Canadians, But GST On Netflix Not So Bad

Canadians are opposed to the federal Liberals instituting a new tax on Internet and mobile services to pay for Canadian content, but a plurality would be okay with paying sales tax on their Netflix service, a new poll finds.

The poll from IRG, carried out for consumer advocacy group OpenMedia, found 70 per cent of respondents were opposed to a new tax on internet and cellphone bills, with 51 per cent strongly opposed. Only 14 per cent backed it.internet

During consultations last fall, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly heard from media industry representatives who argued for a tax on the Internet to cover the cost of funding Canadian content. Revenue for CanCon is drying up in an era when traditional Canadian media is competing in a global Internet.

A majority of Canadians back the idea that the federal government should create a new source of revenue to pay for CanCon, the IRG poll found. Fifty-three per cent agreed, with 20 per cent opposed.

Canadians are more responsive to the idea of extending GST/PST or HST sales taxes to streaming services such as Netflix. Forty-seven per cent say they would agree to this, with 29 per cent opposed.

Foreign-based streaming services are technically subject to sales tax on their Canadian sales, but no system has ever been established to collect the tax.

A briefing prepared for Heritage Minister Melanie Joly last month suggested expanding the sales tax to cover Netflix. It argued that not charging a sales tax on foreign content services like U.S.-based Netflix is unfair because it places domestic competitors at a disadvantage.

It also “represents a significant loss of potential tax revenue for government,” the briefing stated.

Joly held consultations last fall where she heard from media industry representatives who argued, among other things, for an Internet tax or at least a sales tax on streaming.

But the Department of Finance has been adamant that no such taxes are in the works. A spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau told HuffPost Canada last month that expanding the GST to Netflix “is not part of our plan.”

Speaking before the Canadian Media Producers Association last week, Joly said she heard from Canadians that they want all media providers to be treated equally, but they don’t want to see their Internet bills go up.

“We have to bear in mind that Canadians are anxious about their cost of living,” Joly said, as quoted by the CBC.

This article was original posted on the Huffington Post Canada Website. Please read it here.

Cutting the cord Part 1

Christmas is the time to load up on gadgets and tech and I am no different but this time I’m doing something I never thought I would do. I’m cutting my cable.

I currently have TV and Internet with Telus coming it at 109 per month. While I don’t dislike Telus or its service I just don’t watch TV enough to keep it running. Other than live sports such as Canucks games, I watch Netflix and other programs that can be downloaded and watched after the fact.

I found a recent CBC article tells us about ways you can save money on TV, Phone, and Internet legitimately. It’s a great read and one that inspired me to consider giving up my TV service.

I’ve already gotten rid of my home phone because I have a cell phone plan that allows me to do so. It’s a generational thing too I think because I’ve become used to the mobile phone and actually enjoy the silence of not receiving home phone calls. Many of them laterally came from solicitors and telemarketers anyways.

A friend suggested an Android TV Box as the way to go. He eliminated his cable package, saved around 80 dollars a month and bumped up his internet speed one notch to compensate. I’ll have watch my monthly download cap which is 200GB on Internet 15 from Telus. I’m going with Internet 25 at around 80 per month with 350GB download. Telus offers unlimited internet for an extra 15 per month.

A Google search also showed me there are a lot of resources out there that can be used to help you find ways to watch TV without using cable. Tom’s Guide seems to be one of them. Great advice here. I’ll put up another post later in the week and report on my findings as well as tell you about my purchase of my Android TV Box.

Promote Your Business on YouTube

Even if you don’t use YouTube every day, you probably have a general sense of how it works. Put simply, it’s a website that lets people upload self-produced videos and display them either on YouTube or embedded on their own websites and blogs. But beyond being just a place to store videos, YouTube also has a variety of tools that let people get social with their videos and use them for all sorts of purposes. And for business owners, it can be a great resource.

Making introductions

In many fields of business, clients want to feel a personal connection with the people they work with. When you’re working with people long-distance, phone and email can go a long way toward forging that connection, but what about potential clients who arrive at your website and have not reached out to you yet?

By creating a short video introducing yourself and discussing what you do and embedding it on your website, you can make these potential clients feel as if they have met you. Your video lets them know you’re not some faceless entity somewhere on the other side of the world, but an actual person. This makes them feel secure in reaching out to you for your services.

Offsite promotional videos

Not too many people are going to be interested in videos that are simply about promoting your business. But one thing that web users love is a well-made how-to video that enlightens them on a subject or teaches them a tool they didn’t know about. In your area of expertise, you no doubt have much wisdom to share with the world. YouTube gives you a chance to use it.

Of course, many of my clients are initially uncomfortable giving out for free what they usually charge for. For instance, if you’re a web-design consultant and your job involves sharing your expertise with paying clients, you might be reluctant to put this expertise out there for all to see.

But there’s an easy solution to this: Don’t share everything. Just teach people enough to raise their interest and establish yourself as an authority. It’s similar to writing informative articles or blog posts. Give a quick summary of the topic, and encourage people to get in touch with you for more information and one-on-one help.

If you include a good title and description with your videos and make them searchable, then you should get at least few hits from people searching Google and YouTube with their questions. And if you get lucky, one of your videos might even go viral.

Production values

Keep in mind that, just as a poorly designed website causes people to instantly click the back button in their browsers, a poorly produced video causes people to click stop and move on. So for your videos to be effective in promoting your site, make sure the lighting is good and the sound is clear. If you can afford to hire a professional videographer, consider doing so. Otherwise, make some practice videos before uploading anything. Show them to a few trusted friends or colleagues for their feedback, and upload them only when you feel the product is worthy of your business.

Small Business Coach and Marketing Strategist, Jennifer Davey, is the author of the “14-Step Formula for Getting Clients, Building Business and Making More Income”, Grab a FREE copy of her Report “What you Need to Know to Be Successful at Getting Clients” visit:



Tech Predictions for 2012

Tech Predictions for 2012

Welcome and Happy New Year everyone. The New Year brings many things including reflection, renewal and the need to keep growing.

If you’ve been with us since the beginning and that was only 10 months ago, then you know or maybe don’t that we have come along quite well as Vancouver Gadgets. 2012 promises to bring more excitement in the world of technology and gadgets. If only we had our own time traveling Delorean so we could jump forward 12 months and look at the end of 2012, we would seem that much smarter in predictions for the coming year.

Predictions are a double-edged sword as they can be both dangerous and exciting at the same time. To be sure there are some trends that will emerge that will catch us by surprise and lead us to think well I didn’t see that one coming. What makes a new year exciting is that element of the unknown as well the knowledge that some of the old standby’s will still be around as well.

This recent article got me thinking about some trends for 2012. Now to be sure this is only one list but we have thought of a couple of our own based on our review and research of our own social media feeds and a variety of sites.

Social Media in 2012

This has been a buzzword for a few years now and we all know what it means or do we?

It’s also been called Web 2.0 among other things but it really comes down to using web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue. Does that make sense? Ok then consider this definition by Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein who call it “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”

This is another article I read today and it made me think. Perhaps its time we started to deconstruct this great trend which came about a few years ago. I’m all for the KISS principle (Keep it Simple Stupid) and with so many acronyms floating around it bears a little demystifying doesn’t it? In short Social Media is about connecting and interacting. Pretty simple really. Companies and corporations want to use it to sell you products and you want to use it to connect with long lost friends and high school ex girlfriends.

Social Media isn’t going anywhere in 2012 but the rubber will have to hit the road eventually or will we see another repeat of the .com crash and Y2K bug flame-out that characterized the start of the new millennium.

The World is Flat?

We all know about previous debates about the world being flat but we aren’t talking about the earth in this case.

Flat screen TV’s and not smartphones will experience the most growth over the next few years. “Production will increase globally, up 1,063% from 2010, followed by tablets (750%), digital photo frames (600%) and ereaders (550%). The number of non-smartphones and smartphones is expected to increase by 17% and 194% worldwide, respectively.

Tech Predictions for 2012
Tech Predictions for 2012

Both digital photo frames and tablets outrank smartphones which may be as a result of so many of us already having a smartphone I’m not sure. I can’t see myself hauling around a flat screen wherever I go but who knows stranger things have happened. Who could have imagined a phone that does everything for you just a few short years ago.

Wired Beyond Belief

Global Internet traffic is expected to quadruple between 2010 and 2015, according to data provided to Mashable by Cisco. If that makes your jaw drop consider this stat as well. By that time, “nearly 3 billion people will be using the Internet — more than 40% of the world’s projected population.” On average, there will be more than two Internet connections for each person on Earth, driven by the proliferation of web-enabled mobile devices.

Device usage and numbers will also increase significantly over the next few years as there will be an average of 5.8 devices per person in North America, 5.4 in Japan and 4.4 in western Europe.

So there are a few thoughts to get 2012 under way. Keep your eyes peeled to us and to the online world. If 2011 showed us anything, things aren’t going to be dull or boring.

Making the Switch from Eastlink Delta Cable to Shaw


Last week
A Shaw sales representative stopped by my house last week. He had an amazing deal for me: TV, Phone and Internet for $28.95 per month for the first year plus two 500 GB DVRs and 2 digital boxes. Sounds too good to be true. Maybe it is. My monthly bills from Eastlink Delta Cable have been hovering around $135 per month for all three services. I had a good selection of channels and the customer service was impeccable; an actual person picked up the phone after a few button presses: no waiting in long phone queues. There was only the problem, so said the representative, that my existing phone number could not be ported over to Shaw’s services as it was linked to an old exchange. Continue reading Making the Switch from Eastlink Delta Cable to Shaw

Policing Cyberspace: Can Anything Be Done About DDoS Attacks?

A recent article I found through the Globe and Mail’s technology RSS Feed made me think about how governments police cyberspace. As the Globe article noted “Increasingly worried about criminal hacking and state-on-state electronic warfare, governments are rushing to come up with cyber security strategies. But with the Internet crossing borders and empowering non-state groups from criminals to activists, nation states appear to be inherently stuck behind the curve.”

This made me wonder what if anything do we have in place in Canada to police not only against attacks but regulate cyberspace. When I studied Communications policy while completing my BA in Communications, we did review all major acts that govern and regulate other types of communication technology and their associated mediums. This included the Broadcasting Act, Telecommunications act amongst others. Now to be sure that was 12 years ago and the internet was a fraction of what it is today. At that time the internet seemed to me to be a fad rather than a serious medium to contend with however the internet has grown to become so much more.

The Canadian Radio, Television, and TeleCommunications Commission (CRTC) is one of the major administrative bodies that deals with communications in Canada so it seemed likely that the CRTC would take up the reins.  A recent visit to the CRTC’s website and search for its mandate found that it “ensures that both the broadcasting and telecommunications systems serve the Canadian public. The CRTC uses the objectives in the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act to guide its policy decisions.”

But nothing on the internet? Nothing. Nadda. Zip.

Or so I thought.

So after a quick browse over to the Government of Canada’s website, I searched their A to Z index and found the following information as part of Public Safety Canada’s Information portal.

The Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre (CCIRC) “monitors the cyber threat environment around the clock and is responsible for coordinating the national response to any cyber security incident. Its focus is the protection of national critical infrastructure against cyber incidents.” It has affiliations with partner organizations in Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK. It publishes security publications and includes an RSS feed to important updates related to security publications.

While I haven’t checked out other countries information online it would appear that Canada is making an effort and a pretty good one to police cyberspace and provide people with some assurance that we are doing something to at least to protect citizens and companies who use cyberspace.

The article does note that even though countries do have policies in place cyberspace could become the next place for war. This is an interesting premise to be sure. Cyberspace could be the next domain of the United Nations? Surely that may be necessary as international organizations will have to become involved as attacks easily cross borders and could pit nations and their infrastructures against one another.

It’s not clear how countries would begin this process but it seems that it may be necessary to work our way towards a cyber peace treaty. Cyberspace has opened up so many possibilities about how we communicate and it has effected our lives in a profound way in the last 10 plus years.

Cyberspace may not be the final frontier but it is the next frontier for many and it should be a safe and productive place for everyone.

Featured image courtesy of Double USA