community access sites

Communications infrastructure a key economic driver

February 10, 2014

 Alternative Federal Budget 2014. Communications Chapter.

 Excerpt only.  Click here for full version 

For full version  of AFB see:  Alternative Federal Budget 2014

According to statistics released in 2013 by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada needs to ramp up investment in this sector. Currently in 9th place with 72.2% of households connected to the Internet -- one up from the previous year, Canada is behind the leader South Korea (97.5%) and all 5 of the Scandinavian countries but still ahead of the U.K. (69.5%) and the U.S. (68.2%) However, in terms of actual speed of broadband connections and price of these connections, Canada is lagging much further behind – placing 19th among the same list of countries. Countries high on the list of speed and pricing are also rapidly increasing their adoption of fibre optic networks. Here again, Canada is falling steadily behind – at 0.6 fibre subscriptions per 100 inhabitants as compared to the U.K. with 1.7, Sweden with 10.9, and South Korea leading the way with 22.3 per 100 inhabitants. In order to participate fully in the Information Age, Canada needs to move beyond the current 20th century policy strategy towards communications infrastructure.  ..... more

A National Communications Strategy is an Economic Building Block

June 4, 2013

Alternative Federal Budget Communicaions Chapter 2013

Summary only.  Click here for full version of Communications chapter   

For full version  of AFB see:  Alternative Federal Budget 2013 p.48

 Canada continues to fall behind peer nations in the strategic area of information and communications policy and infrastructure. A recent report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Measuring the Information Society 2012 ranked Canada 32nd out of 155 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills. In the top five countries were Korea, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland. According to the ITU, all top-30 countries are "high-income countries, underlying the strong link between income and ICT progress."  It is becoming increasingly clear that a national communications strategy is an essential part of long term economic planning.

Community Access Program chopped

August 27, 2012

 This story originally appeared on  -- August 16, 2012

 The Community Access Program (CAP), was created by Industry Canada in 1995 to provide free or low-cost access to Internet in rural regions of Canada. CAP operated in over 3,000 sites across Canada, offering computer literacy trainings and Internet-user skills in public libraries and community centers. It has provided access to Internet for youth, seniors, members of low-income communities and residents of rural and remote regions.

What Happened

On April 5, 2012, Industry Canada sent a letter announcing that funding for the Community Access Program (CAP), amounting to about $15 million, was scheduled to end on March 31, 2012 and would not be renewed. Industry Canada stated that in the context of "challenging fiscal times," funding for CAP was terminated because the program had "successfully achieved its objective." However, the digital divide in Canada has been proven to persist and library associations and community centers that operated CAP have decried the funding cuts.

Digital literacy documentary -- available on-line

September 14, 2011
Through stories from nine community access (C@P) sites in the Halifax region, this documentary explores digital divides and the value and ever-changing potential of community access to the Internet and information technology.

Filmed on location in Nova Scotia in Halifax, Moser River, Terence Bay, Sheet Harbour, Jeddore, Tantallon, and Lake Echo.

Alternative Federal Budget 2011 - Communications (in brief)

March 16, 2011

Recognizing “effective” connectivity as an essential service
To return Canada to a leadership role in the availability and use of new communications technologies, “effective” broadband, supporting a wide range of communications applications, must become a vital part of federal policy and programs.

The AFB believes that access to 1.5 Mbps. broadband should became part of the "basic service" definition for telecommunications providers in Canada.

Developing a national broadband plan

Community access sites score high in digital economy consultation

July 14, 2010

Industry Canada's on-line digital economy strategy closed today with community access sites receiving a strong endorsement from the public both in the "ideas" forum and in the more formal submissions.

 Under "digital skills", 2 of the top 3 entries, were recommendations to support and extend this initiative.  Another was submitted to the "innovation" section. Links to CAP supporting submissions are provided below:

Op-ed: Community Access One Pillar of a Digital Economy

April 6, 2010

Community access one pillar of a digital economy

By Marita Moll

On March 16, after three days of intense public pressure following a decision to cut funding to most of Canada’s community access sites (CAP), Industry Minister Tony Clement declared it all a misunderstanding.  The program was reinstated.  It wasn’t quite as dramatic as the backlash over the proposed changes to the wording of the national anthem, but it was a cliff hanger for the thousands of people who use these sites daily for everything from engaging in independent studies, connecting to government programs,  or setting up small businesses to market local products. 

Support for CAP sites reinstated

March 16, 2010

In an astonishingly fast about turn, the federal government has rescinded the letters it sent out to community access sites informing them that they would no longer be funded unless they were more than 25 km from a public library. 

Industry Minister Tony Clement said it had been a funding envelope error.  The sites will  to be funded through the Rural Broadband Strategy program "while the Community Access Program is wound down."  It's a mixed message, for sure. 

Harper government pulls support from community access sites

March 12, 2010

On Mar. 9, administrators of community technology/access sites reported receiving a letter from Industry Canada announcing that their funding was about to be cut off.  "Our support....will target CAP sites that do not have access to a publicly funded library within a 25-kilometre radius."

The government suggests that it is merely about "access", but knows full well that these sites provide much more than that.