In the News

Capital Current: Should Internet be free in Canada? ACORN campaign pushes for universal connectivity during COVID-19

Ray Noyes has been feeling particularly isolated during the pandemic. The Ottawa man, who has bipolar disorder and lives on the $1,200 the Ontario Disability Support Program pays out each month, doesn’t risk leaving his house because he is vulnerable to COVID-19.

Unable to afford internet access, he is cut off from many of his usual supports.

“My doctor is working from home, and so I’ve only been able to see her or to have visits with her by phone,” he said. “If I had the internet, we could at least see each other, which would be helpful. I have a counselor who is in the same situation.

“But living without the internet, and I also don’t have cable TV, I’m relying on the radio to hear the news.”

Noyes is not alone.

ACORN Members do Social Distancing and Virtual Internet for All Actions as Liberal Government Leaves us in Debt and OFFLINE!

ACORN members from across the country from most provinces including Alberta, BC, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia got together virtually as well as did social distancing actions to demand Internet for All as the need for the internet is greater than ever!

We did a national zoom action where more than 70 members participated. We went through the history of ACORN Canada’s Internet for All Campaign and then discussed how to put pressure on politicians and big telecom companies to ensure that our demand is met. The zoom action ended with sign making and then members holding up their signs reinforcing the message that we need affordable internet. 


Capital Current: ‘Do I pay the rent, do I take the internet?’ Protesters demand free online service

ACORN Canada held rallies across the country on June 16 demanding free internet for all low-income Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Internet for All campaign is also pushing for the expansion of the Connecting Families Program — a federal fund providing high-speed internet to eligible families for $10 per month — to include anyone who falls below the low-income line.

CBC News: Pandemic drives demands for universal affordable internet and cell plans

Without guaranteed and affordable internet access, Lekan Olawoye fears some Canadians could be left behind economically as the pandemic's physical distancing measures remain in place for months to come.

"It's absolutely imperative that right now, in 2020 ... people have access to this, especially when you are thinking about historically underrepresented groups, like black professionals," said Olawoye, the outspoken founder of the Black Professionals In Tech Network.

"If you want a job, you need to be able to do webinars and live interviews."

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted renewed calls for widespread affordable internet and wireless services. Alongside calls for a guaranteed basic income, some are calling for guaranteed universal, affordable internet access.

Policy Options Politiques : Fournier un accès Internet aux ménages à faible revenu

À une certaine époque, avoir un accès Internet était un luxe, un « plus », mais ce temps est révolu depuis longtemps. En ce temps de COVID‑19, l’Internet nous procure un lien vital vers une foule de services, travail, école, épicerie, pharmacie, banque, prestations d’urgence, rendez-vous médicaux, pour ne nommer que ceux-là.
Une connexion Internet peut faire la différence entre la vie et la mort. Le fait d’avoir à se déplacer pour se procurer des biens et des services essentiels, au lieu de les commander de chez soi en toute sécurité, peut compromettre notre sécurité et celle de nos proches.
Pourtant, les services Internet sont encore inabordables pour un grand nombre de Canadiens. Près de 9 % des enfants et des adultes au Canada ― c’est-à-dire 3,2 millions de personnes ― vivent aujourd’hui dans la pauvreté. Dans certaines régions rurales, éloignées ou nordiques, le prix de la connexion demeure prohibitif, si bien que même les ménages à revenu moyen ne peuvent se l’offrir.