In the News
Residents in Mississauga–Malton say they’re paying too much for internet and cellphone service.
This election, it’s one of the major issues they’re thinking about when they cast their ballot. The riding’s 118,000 residents are diverse, they’re different ages, they work different jobs, but the common thread for all of them is the cost of internet and cellphone service.
In many cases, it’s become an affordability issue where families are forced to cut other costs from their budget to make room.
Toronto Star: Internet access for all should be a promise made by all political parties in the upcoming federal election
Way back in 2001, former federal industry minister Brian Tobin argued that the government should spend $4 billion to make sure households across the entire country had access to the internet.
That would have been a bargain basement deal considering this country’s telecom regulator, the CRTC, estimates that it would now cost tens of billions of dollars to do so. But, sadly, the Chrétien government of the day didn’t bite.
Now, eight years after a UN agency called for all governments “to develop a concrete and effective plan of action to make the internet widely available, accessible and affordable to all segments of the population,” that still isn’t the case in Canada.
Indeed, according to a study released recently by the advocacy group, ACORN Canada, the high cost of internet access is still leaving low-income families behind.
ACORN members launch the report on Barriers to Digital Equality; Call for Affordable Internet for All
On Tuesday, August 13th, ACORN members held a series of events across Canada to launch our new report: Barriers to Digital Equality in Canada. The report comes out of our Internet for All campaign. Collected through a survey of around 500 low and moderate income household members across Canada, the data highlights critical concerns that, if they remain unaddressed, will further deepen the digital divide in the country. The report was supported by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) Community Investment Program.
Click here to read the report
Having internet access is proving to be a costly addition for many low-income families and ACORN Canada, a charitable organization is urging the federal government to act.
It presented a report called “digital equity” which it says should become a federal priority.
In the report, “Barriers to Digital Equity in Canada,” ACORN Canada says Canadians need online access to apply for jobs, complete schoolwork, download government forms, pay bills and connect with family and friends, and it argues that internet access has become a basic human right.
Globe & Mail: Anti-poverty group calls for cheaper internet access for low- and moderate-income Canadians
Tabitha Naismith often forgoes buying herself a much-needed pair of shoes or a new bra in order to pay the $95 a month it takes to keep the internet on at the social-housing unit she shares with her two young girls in the Newton neighbourhood of Surrey, B.C.
The single mother says she recently switched telecom providers and is now saving $35 each month from what she used to pay, but these fees still make up a tenth of the $997 in monthly disability assistance she and her small family live on. Still, the sacrifices are worth it, she says, especially with her eldest daughter about to enter Grade 2.
"I go online to show her educational videos, help her with her math skills, help her with her reading and research when she has questions like, ‘Mom, what’s this?’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t know!’” Ms. Naismith said. “A lot of people say the internet is a luxury; it’s actually a basic human right as far as I’m concerned.”