Digital equity organizations welcome $2 billion in broadband investments, but worry it will go to major telecoms

Fixing Canada’s digital divide requires a government that prioritizes broadband access — and stronger organizations tackling digital disparity

Why It Matters

Poor internet access is a major issue in Canada that receives little attention from the philanthropic sector. The COVID-19 pandemic is showing just how vital it is to a healthy society. Internet infrastructure may require significant government investment, but non-profits can play an important role in ensuring internet access for all.

How do you physically distance without the internet?

As COVID-19 case counts skyrocket, Canadians turned inward once again. Medical professionals called for virtual Thanksgiving celebrations. In Ontario, the provincial government tightened public gathering restrictions on the Toronto and Ottawa regions after a slew of fresh cases in recent days. Online shopping — even for necessities — is as popular as ever. 

Without the internet, physical distancing becomes simple isolation. And while middle-class Canadians in urban centres are able to access broadband internet connections — defined by the CRTC as 50 megabit download speed and 10 megabit upload speed — the same is not true for many rural dwellers. For remote or impoverished communities, the inability to access a decent internet connection means telecommuting, remote learning, and virtual doctor’s app

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