Forum › Forum › Questions for candidates / Questions pour les candidat·e·s › The digital divides in Canada are unsettling. These inequities impact many of our citizens. Our social and economic development suffer because of this. Ignoring this issue is reckless. What would you do to democratize Canada’s internet? › Reply To: The digital divides in Canada are unsettling. These inequities impact many of our citizens. Our social and economic development suffer because of this. Ignoring this issue is reckless. What would you do to democratize Canada’s internet?
MemberSeptember 21, 2023 at 10:51 pm
This is a very broad and meaningful question that could easily become a full evening’s conversation. From economics, accessibility, social responsibility, and educational access to literacy, immigration and beyond, this is a hugely important consideration in Canada. It’s good to be discussing this at CIRA and considering all factors – including the many organizations in Canada that work on improving the overall standing. As digital divide is impacted by multiple areas, I believe we need to focus on the following two areas to start:
Education: Invest more in the education of all of our young people to ensure they are equipped equally with the skills and knowledge on how to use the internet safely and in a meaningful fashion. Additionally, make sure parents are well equipped with the tools and resources to help their children safely and proactively navigate the internet. As the senior populate (65+ years) is becoming increasingly engaged and connected online*, I would explore ways of making sure they have the resources, education, and accessibility they need to succeed in participating online. Think of COVID and grocery delivery for example. Those who were not online could not benefit from services that could be booked online to reduce exposure. Of course, with this senior group, education on safety and fraud schemes remains of huge importance.
Broadband access: A large number of households have smart phones but not broadband. We need to discuss measures on how we can make broadband more affordable and accessible to as many people in all of Canada as possible – specifically remote, Indigenous and other underserved communities.
*See Stats Canada August 14, 2023 report on internet connectivity, “In terms of age category, the largest increases were among older Canadians, with over 8 in 10 (82.6%) seniors (those aged 65 years and older) used the Internet in 2022, up 6.3 percentage points from 2020. For those aged 75 years and older, the increase was even larger: up by 10 percentage points to 72%.” Resource: https://www.statcan.gc.ca/o1/en/plus/4288-canadian-seniors-more-connected-ever