Ontario Partners With Airbnb on New Pilot Project

Province Supporting Economic Potential of Sharing Economy

Toronto, ON (Feb. 19, 2016) – 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.

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.

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.

Harnessing the benefits of the sharing economy while protecting Ontario consumers and workers is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. This four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet.
  • According to an estimate by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), global revenues from five of the key sharing economy sectors (accommodation, transportation, finance, services and labour, and music/video streaming) are projected to grow to $335 billion US by 2025 from $15 billion US today.
  • In October, the province established a Sharing Economy Advisory Committee to oversee the government’s approach to this emerging sector and harness the opportunities it presents.
  • There are currently more than 11,000 hosts in Ontario that list their properties on Airbnb.
  • A typical host in Ontario makes about $280 a month in additional income, and last year alone, more than 375,000 people visited Ontario via Airbnb.

“Studies show that the entire tourism industry is growing and opportunities are being created in communities across the province because of innovative companies like Airbnb. It is through strategic partnerships like this that we will deliver on our government’s number-one priority of growing the economy and creating jobs for Ontarians,” said Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance.

“Our government is committed to ensuring that consumers understand their rights and take all the appropriate precautions before making online arrangements. 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,” said David Orazietti, Minister of Government and Consumer Services.

“Airbnb is proud to partner with Ontario and ensure our host and guest community have the tools and information they need to understand their rights, responsibilities and tax obligations for home sharing. With this pilot, the province has reaffirmed their commitment to harnessing the power of new economic opportunities created by the sharing economy,” said Aaron Zifkin, Country Manager, Airbnb Canada.

SOURCE: Ministry of Finance, Government of Ontario