To address the challenges presented by the sharing economy, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) led a workshop in March 2017 that developed an ISO International Workshop Agreement (IWA)1) in collaboration with CSA Group, an accredited standards development organization, and Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA), which is part of the federal government.  

SCC facilitated the workshop that resulted in the new ISO International Workshop Agreement – IWA 27:2017, Guiding principles and framework for the sharing economy – which provides solutions for an effective and efficient sharing economy. Stakeholders from 15 countries, representing consumer organizations, government, industry and academia, came together to adopt, by consensus, specific guidelines that are proposed in the new IWA.

IWA 27 offers a framework for decision making and action to address key social, environmental and economic impacts and opportunities of the sharing economy. It will help governments keep pace with change, aid policy development and better protect consumers and industry.

“SCC recognizes the tremendous value of the sharing economy, and the importance of facilitating and leading the international discussion in this area,” said John Walter, Chief Executive Officer of SCC and ISO President-elect. “The IWA demonstrates what can be accomplished when experts come together from around the world to develop standardization solutions in new and innovative areas.”

The sharing economy has grown significantly in the last decade and many companies are implementing this new style of business. Two notable examples are Airbnb and Uber, which are leading change in their respective industries solely based on sharing. But this new economic model comes with challenges, including tax, health and safety, and privacy, labour laws, to name a few.

The IWA 27 aims to:

  • Articulate high-level principles for the sharing economy
  • Foster the sharing of knowledge and best practices on meeting challenges that arise from sharing-economy business models
  • Support the development of innovative responses to these challenges across multiple service sectors
  • Propose standardization solutions that can be used to address a rapidly emerging market need or public policy requirement, and as a precursor to an International Standard

The new IWA can be used to guide the operations of people working in the sharing economy. It may also serve as the basis for a future national or international standard.

IWA 27 can be purchased from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store


1) An International Workshop Agreement (IWA) is an ISO document produced through an international workshop rather than through the full ISO technical committee process. Market players and other stakeholders directly participate in developing an IWA and do not have to go through a national delegation. An IWA can be developed swiftly (published in less than 12 months) to address a rapidly emerging market need or public policy requirement.