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Digital Divides: Indigenous, Rural and Remote Communities

While the urban-rural divide has been long explored, Indigenous, rural and remote communities are still disproportionately less likely to have internet at sufficient speeds. Indigenous voices have often been left out of conversations on expanding internet connectivity. 

Are recent public investments and policies sufficient to achieve digital inclusion of Indigenous, rural and remote communities? What Indigenous-specific needs must be addressed to secure digital inclusion?

Join us on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 9:00am PT to hear from representatives from Indigenous communities to discuss how Canada can pave and accelerate a clearer path toward meaningful digital inclusion.

The discussion will focus on workshopping policy solutions with all participants to improve internet access and speed across Canada. 


Thursday, March 25, 2021

9:00 AM (PT)

Online event

After registration, you will receive the information to log-in to the conversation one day before the event.


All our workshops will have closed captioning in English. If you have any questions about accessibility, please contact

Other considerations

This session will be recorded and will be shared with registrants after the event with the event transcript.

Guest speakers

Jennifer Manitowabi

Connected North

Jennifer Manitowabi is a mother of three and lives in Lac Seul First Nation in Northern Ontario, Treaty 3 an Ojibway Nation. She holds a Masters of Education in Indigenous Studies and aspires to return to university to pursue doctoral studies. Jennifer has worked as a teacher, a principal, an education director and an executive director for Northern Nishnawbe Education Council that assists 21 northern Ontario First Nations to reach post secondary achievements. Jennifer is a lifelong learner and misses travelling the most during the current season.

Susan Stanford

Assistant Deputy Minister, Technology Connectivity and Distributed Growth, BC Government

With a passion for community digital empowerment, Susan leads a talented team at the centre of connectivity expansion to more rural and Indigenous communities throughout the province. In addition to connectivity, she has led strategic deal management of a $1-billion telecommunications deal, technology and innovation programs and strategic initiatives with Health Authorities, Provincial Crowns and other levels of government. Prior to taking on this role, Susan provided business leadership on the development and launch of the BCTech Strategy that promotes economic development through commercialization and the growth of BC’s high tech sector.

Shazia Sobani

VP Customer Network Implementation, TELUS

Shazia is a strategic and collaborative leader, passionate about transforming the business and challenging the status quo, who consistently takes the time to mentor and guide those around her. In her 15 years with TELUS, she has held a variety of roles and accountabilities including churn management, pricing strategy and proactive sustainment of wireline network assets. In her current role as Vice President Customer Network Implementation, she is focused on accelerating fast and high quality broadband connectivity to boost community based economic and social outcomes with an intention to minimize the digital divide.

Denise Wiliams

CEO of First Nations Technology Council

Denise leads a theory of change that aims to ensure Indigenous peoples are leading in Canada’s technology and innovation sector and in building new connected economies. With a passion for contributing to initiatives that influence real change and the advancement of Truth and Reconciliation, she proudly serves as a governor with the Urban Native Youth Association, MakeWay, Vancouver Foundation, Hollyhock Learning Institute, Innovate BC and Simon Fraser University as the Chair of university relations, and where she earned her MBA in 2015.

Reading List

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