The Connecting Families initiative is investing $13.2 million over five years, starting in 2017-2018 to help bridge the digital divide for Canadian families who may struggle to afford access to home Internet. With this funding, Computers for Success Canada will develop a secure online portal that will enable eligible Canadian families to access high speed Internet service packages for $10 per month from participating Internet Service Providers.
The Connecting Families initiative will help connect up hundreds of thousands of Canadians to the Internet and will distribute up to 50,000 computers to eligible households through the Computers for Schools program. These efforts will ensure that more Canadian families and youth have access to the valuable resources available on the Internet and give them access to the tools they need to be successful and thrive.
Making a difference
In Budget 2017, the Government of Canada introduced its Innovation and Skills Plan, which focuses on people and addresses the changing nature of the economy. In order to keep pace with these changes, it is important to equip Canadians with the tools, skills, access and experience they need to fully participate in the digital economy.
The Connecting Families initiative is a part of a suite of digital skills, accessibility, and Internet affordability programs that aim to bridge Canada's digital divide. This initiative will enable and encourage the participation of more Canadians in the digital world, including those not fully comfortable with digital technology, so they too can benefit from innovation and the opportunities it brings.
The importance of access
Daily aspects of Canadians' lives are increasingly touched by digital technology, and access to high-speed Internet has become an essential service and a key driver for improving our economic and social well-being.
More than ever, Canadians need access to fast, reliable and affordable Internet to learn, work, socialize and access Government of Canada services. Many schools require that students access Internet resources for homework projects, post-secondary institutions often provide learning and course materials online, families and friends are increasingly socializing through web-based communication tools, and the Internet is being used to search for jobs, access government services, book important appointments and find new information.
Despite the importance of high-speed Internet, almost half of Canadian households with an annual income of $30,000 or less do not have access. The Connecting Families initiative brings together public, private and non-profit sectors to ensure that more Canadian families have access to the Internet.
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