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Digital Divides: Low-Income Communities

Low-income communities continue to report lower rates for internet access, affordability, and quality. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, people living in Canada are at an all-time need for increased access to internet, computer, and tablet devices for e-learning and remote work. 

What can be done to ensure low-income households can secure needed digital resources and reliable internet connectivity to excel during this trying time? What policy solutions can help enhance low-income communities’ access to quality internet?

Join us to hear directly from community representatives and experts about what is impeding internet access in low-income communities. We will look to answer these important questions and how Canada can further ongoing private and public programming to bridge these divides.

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


Wednesday, April 07, 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

Toby Harper-Merrett

Executive Director, Computers for Success Canada

Toby is a public-good professional with expertise in information and communication technology for development. A graduate of The University of Manchester's School of Environment, Education and Development, and Stanford University, Toby has contributed to research, policy and programs internationally and across Canada. Toby is especially interested in addressing the challenges of under-served and at-risk communities. Since 2015 he has been Executive Director of CFSC-OPEC, a not-for-profit organization supporting Government of Canada digital equity and economic development programs.

Erin Knight

Access Campaigns Lead and Digital Rights Campaigner at OpenMedia

Erin (she/her) is a Digital Rights Campaigner at OpenMedia where she works to help make the Internet affordable and accessible to all. Born and raised in rural Manitoba, Treaty 2 territory, Erin is Métis with family roots in the San Clara, Turtle Mountain, and St. François Xavier areas. Erin studied as a Loran Scholar at the University of Calgary; she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies and a Certificate in Sustainability Studies. Apart from her work on the Digital Divide, Erin is also the founder and co-chair of the Foundation for Rural Youth Empowerment (FRYE), an organization that aims to ensure equitable access to post-secondary education for rural youth across Canada.

Dionne Pelan

Computer and Drop-in Programs Coordinator, UBC Learning Exchange

Dionne is a non-traditional educator with over 15 years’ experience teaching and leading community based digital literacy activities using effective adult education approaches.  She takes an asset based approach to help cultivate relationships and build capacity between a diverse ranges of stakeholders. She is constantly inspired by the resiliency and strength of the communities in which she lives and works.

Viveca Ellis

Interim Community Organizer, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition

Reading List

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