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. 

Under these conditions, this program will be all but destroyed -- and 15 years of good will and good work in communities will be destroyed with it. 

So what will the immediate impact be?  An administrator from Saskatchewan sums up the damage:

1. Lost employment opportunities.

2. Lost opportunities for youth employment

3. Lost opportunities to encourage youth to explore careers in science, technology andmath through direct exporure to ICT at the CAP sites and through the programming offered there."

4. Lost opportunities for computer training and development.

5.  Lost opportunities for the development of the effective use of technology.

6. Lost opportunities for community development.

7. Lost opportunities for the ability to reach global markets from wherever you live.

8. Lost opportunities for local technical support.

9. Lost opportunities for multi-community networking through the CAP network.

10. Lost infrastructure funding from which to leverage programming and other dollars from economic developments.

11. Lost E-learning opportunities for rural and First Nation citizens.

12. Lost volunteer base interested in technology and community advancement.

13. Increased costs for rural and First Nation residents who must use two-way high speed satellite for connectivity.

14. Increased out migration of yough as higher paying jobs and opportunities to learn at home will disappear.

15. Lost opportunities for marginalized, immobile or seniours to access high speed with assistance from the CAP site staff.

16. Lost access to high speed for touristis, visitors, or people passing through rural areas, that would like to stay connected.

17. Lost opportunities for access to on-line post secondary courese for rural and First Nation residents.

18. Lost opportunities to access on-line government services.

19. Lost opportunities to acccess on-line business services or DIY information.

20. Lost opportunities to conduct on-line research for perosnal or business needs.

21. Lost opportunities to stay connected with family and friends."

If you took the time to put a dollar value to each of these lost opportunities, it would far outweigh the meagre $14 million spent on CAP for all of Canada -- 40 cents for every man, woman and child in this country.  This loss will be felt across the country and it will come with a very hefty long term ramification.