Canadians need access to high-quality Internet services at affordable prices. Through the Connecting Families initiative, the Government of Canada, in partnership with 14 Internet service providers (ISP), is supporting affordable high-speed Internet for those who need it most.
Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors, and the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, announced the launch of the second phase of the Connecting Families initiative.
In partnership with 14 participating ISPs across the country that are voluntarily contributing to the initiative by offering $20 a month high-speed Internet services, the Government of Canada will help connect hundreds of thousands of low-income families and seniors to affordable high-speed Internet.
In line with Canada’s Connectivity Strategy, which aims to provide all Canadians with access to Internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 Mbps upload, Connecting Families 2.0 introduces significantly faster speeds and increased data usage. For $20 a month, Internet speeds will be five and ten times faster respectively than previously offered. As well, the data allotment is doubling, from 100 GB to 200 GB of usage per month. This new phase will also broaden eligibility from families receiving the maximum Canada Child Benefit (CCB) to include seniors receiving the maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). Access Communications, Bell Canada, CCAP, Cogeco, Hay Communications, Mornington, Novus, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Tbaytel, TELUS, Videotron and Westman Communications are participating in Connecting Families
Today’s announcement builds on the Government of Canada’s progress toward ensuring that 98% of Canadians have access to high-speed Internet by 2026, and 100% by 2030. As we work to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic and grow the economy, the Government of Canada will continue to help build strong communities and a more competitive and resilient Canada for everyone.
“Being connected is important to maintain professional, social, economic and cultural networks within the digital economy. However, many low-income Canadians are still facing barriers that prevent their full participation in the economy. By working closely with Internet service providers across the country, we are increasing accessibility and providing all Canadians with affordable and reliable Internet.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Seniors depend on the Internet to stay in touch with loved ones and access vital services. Providing low-income seniors with affordable access to high-speed Internet service will make a tremendous difference in their everyday lives. We’re grateful to leading Internet service providers for their partnership in making the Internet more accessible to all Canadians.”
– The Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors
“Being connected to the Internet in this day and age is no longer a luxury. Simply put, it’s a necessity. That’s why this initiative is so important: it’s helping Canadians get connected to high-speed Internet for $20 a month. This will not only help families and seniors stay connected to their loved ones but also allow for so much more, like access to online learning and health care services, which has been especially challenging in rural communities. Our government will continue to support initiatives like this for the betterment of rural Canada.”
– The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development
- Participating Internet service providers (ISP) to date include Access Communications, Bell Canada, CCAP, Cogeco, Hay Communications, Mornington, Novus, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Tbaytel, TELUS, Videotron and Westman Communications.
- With Connecting Families 2.0, eligible participants will have an added Internet offering: 50 Mbps download speeds (or if less than 50 Mbps, the fastest speed available to households in that region) and 200 GB of data usage each month at the discounted rate. No equipment or installation fees will be applied. The existing $10 Internet plan offering under Connecting Families 1.0 also remains available.
- Eligible households will receive a letter from the Government of Canada. This letter will contain an access code that is needed to sign up for Connecting Families through a secure online portal. The access code will be valid for the entire duration of the initiative, provided the household continues to be eligible; however, access to the discounted Internet offering will depend on availability.
- ISPs participating in Connecting Families have provided significant contributions, representing millions of dollars in support, to help bridge the digital divide for low-income Canadians.
- Computers for Success Canada (CFSC) 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.
- Today’s announcement builds on several other steps the government has taken to improve telecom services for Canadians, including the historic ENCQOR 5G partnership for next-generation technology, the Connect to Innovate program, the $2.75 billion Universal Broadband Fund and the CRTC’s $750 million Broadband Fund.