4 October 2020 Ottawa- Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan to invest $2 billion to connect roughly 750,000 homes and small businesses to broadband internet.
Accessibility of internet services has become a growing concern for many students pursuing post-secondary education. Many Canadian universities have moved permanently online for the 2020-2021 school year. Despite the importance of high-speed Internet, almost half of Canadian households with an annual income of $30,000 or less do not have access to high-speed internet. Given that the majority of students’ annual income falls under $30,000, students are at a higher risk of not having access to affordable internet, despite post-secondary institutions' reliance upon online learning.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how the digital divide further decreases the accessibility of post-secondary education. Canadians need access to fast, reliable and affordable internet to learn, work, socialize and access government services. By investing in internet accessibility, the Government of Canada is decreasing barriers to post-secondary education.
UCRU Chair Mackenzy Metcalfe commented on the investment: “Internet connectivity is vital to Canada’s post-secondary education. After including reliable internet access in UCRU’s 2021 Federal Budget submission, UCRU is pleased that the Government of Canada is prioritizing connectivity for Canadians.“
The Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities is a pragmatic, evidence-driven advocacy alliance of nine student associations dedicated to high-quality, affordable and accessible education, and represents over 250,000 undergraduate university students across Canada.