Daily aspects of Canadians' lives are increasingly touched by digital technology, and access to high-speed Internet has become an essential service and a key driver for improving our economic and social well-being.
The Government of Canada originally announced Connecting Families in Budget 2017 to help bridge the digital divide for Canadian families who struggled to afford access to home Internet. This initiative relies on Internet service providers (ISP) that participate voluntarily and without government subsidy. The Connecting Families initiative brings together the public, private and non-profit sectors and has helped tens of thousands of low-income Canadian families access the Internet. Since the launch in November 2018, over 82,000 low-income households have benefited from the initiative.
A step forward
On April 1, 2022, the next phase of Connecting Families was launched. Connecting Families 2.0 introduced significantly faster speeds and increased the data usage amount. At 50/10 megabits per second (Mbps) for $20 a month, the download and upload speeds are five and ten times faster, respectively, than in the first phase of Connecting Families. The data allotment also doubled, from 100 GB to 200 GB of usage per month. This new phase also broadened eligibility from families receiving the maximum Canada Child Benefit (CCB) to include low-income seniors receiving the maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). The existing $10 Internet plan offering under Connecting Families 1.0 will also remain available.
Computers for Success Canada (CFSC), a national not-for-profit organization, will continue to maintain and operate the secure online portal for use by eligible households that have received a letter from the Government of Canada.
The Connecting Families initiative aligns with Canada's Digital Charter, a principles-based approach to building trust in the digital world. The first principle of the Charter is focused on ensuring that all Canadians have equal opportunity to participate in the digital world and the necessary tools to do so, including access, connectivity, literacy and skills.