Advocacy group ACORN Canada says some low-income Canadians are having to take money from their rent and food budgets to pay for the Internet.
The group, which represents low- and moderate-income families, surveyed nearly 400 of its members and found more than 80 per cent of them consider home Internet prices to be “extremely high.”
More than half said they took money from other budget items, like food, rent or recreation, to pay for Internet access because they consider it an essential service. In most cases, money was shifted food purchases to cover Internet bills.
ACORN says the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission should work with business to provide high-speed Internet service for $10 a month to families below Canada’s low-income measure.
It also wants the Canadian government to create a program to subsidize computers for low-income earners.
In 2013, 13.5 per cent of Canada’s population, or 4.6 million people, qualified under the low-income measure, according to Statistics Canada. That year, the LIM threshold for a family of four was $41,866 after taxes.