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Overcoming Digital Divides

Workshop Series

The digital divide is about more than the lack of internet infrastructure in rural parts of Canada. It includes gaps in every corner of Canada in internet and device affordability, quality and digital literacy. These divides are tied to socioeconomic factors leaving some communities in Canada more disconnected than others.

How can federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous governments advance policy solutions for full digital inclusion? What community and industry programs and policies can help to close these divides?

We explored these challenges and looked to advance concrete solutions in the Overcoming Digital Divides Workshop Series with Ryerson Leadership Lab, Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the First Nations Technology Council. 

In these six workshops, we highlighted digital divides across Canada, in hopes that by recognizing the interrelated issues of internet access, adoption and quality and workshopping solutions, we can work together to shape our technology governance and digital policies.

Identifying who is excluded from digital services and what we can do about it is the first step to unraveling the deep inequities that fuel and sustain digital gaps across Canada.

Read a short framing paper put together by our partners that lays out the context, evidence and importance of these discussions:

Past events

Youth and Digital Skills

A significant portion of young people report not being taught crucial digital literacy skills, and there are still a significant proportion of low-income students without access to sufficient technology at home.

Public Internet Access

Barriers to internet adoption make a significant portion of Canadians reliant on free public internet access. Secure and accessible public internet can foster greater civic, social and community engagement.

People with Disabilities and Accessibility

The federal and provincial governments have taken some steps to improve internet accessibility and adoption among Canadians with disabilities, but there still remain substantial gaps with many facing barriers in accessing digital services.

Older Adults and Digital Literacy

Older adults are less likely to use the internet than younger people in Canada, and many report that information technologies do not improve their quality of life or save time. The issue is more pertinent than ever under the pandemic.

Low-Income Communities

Low-income communities continue to experience lower internet access, affordability and quality. Canadians are at an all-time need for increased access to internet, computer and tablet devices for e-learning and remote work.

Indigenous, Rural and Remote Communities

Indigenous, rural and remote communities are less likely to have home internet at sufficient speeds. And Indigenous voices are too often left out of our conversations on expanding internet connectivity.

Series recap