11 November 2020 Ottawa - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to connect 98% of Canadians to high-speed internet by 2026, increasing from the previously pledged 95% benchmark. The federal government has also vowed to provide internet access for the remaining 2% by 2030, changes that are part of their announced Universal Broadband Fund. According to senior officials with the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, high-speed internet access applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until January 15th, 2021, to have projects completed by mid-November 2021.
Internet accessibility has become an increasingly pressing concern for many Canadians, especially post-secondary students. In light of the restrictions onset by COVID-19, many Canadian universities have been forced to deliver classes, labs, and tutorials entirely online. Because post-secondary students’ education necessitates strong internet access, the efficacy of broadband connectivity is more critical than ever.
UCRU Board Member Giancarlo Da-Ré commented on the statement: ”The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the lack of high-speed internet access amongst Canadian post-secondary students, an issue that is especially problematic for those in rural and northern areas. While UCRU applauds the government for its efforts to expand internet access, we remain committed to advocating for this investment to be implemented as soon as possible. Students are struggling right now to obtain an education, due to a dependence on internet access, maligned by poor infrastructure.”
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.