Industry Canada

Industry Canada

June 05, 2015 12:15 ET

Providing Refurbished Computers to Schools and Community Groups Across Canada for Free

Industry Minister announces new investment to expand Computers for Schools to more Canadians

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 5, 2015) - Industry Canada

While many children enjoy the opportunities that digital technology offers, not all have access to computers. With the Canadian economy becoming increasingly digital, access to technology is an integral part of a child's education. The Computers for Schools program has played an important role in increasing access to technology for Canadian youth, ensuring they can learn the skills needed to take advantage of a modern digital world.

Today, James Moore, Minister of Industry and Minister Responsible for British Columbia, announced new funds to expand Computers for Schools to non-profit organizations that support low-income Canadians and new Canadians with access to refurbished equipment and digital skills training.

He underscored the importance of this program for B.C.: since 2010-11 Computers for Schools has delivered over 36,000 refurbished computers and employed 93 local youth in internship positions throughout the province. The increased funding will allow Computers for Schools B.C. to distribute 19,500 computers over the next three years to schools and non-profit community organizations throughout the province.

Computers are donated from government, private business and individuals for use by schools, libraries, registered not-for-profit learning organizations and Aboriginal communities. The program has helped extend the useful life of computer equipment, reducing the overall environmental impact of electronic waste.

Providing young Canadians with the opportunities, information and education they need to succeed is essential for Canada's long-term economic prosperity. Eligible recipient organizations get access to computer equipment at no cost, giving Canadians who may not otherwise have exposure to technology the opportunity to develop critical literacy skills. Youth also benefit from paid, practical work internships where they can develop more advanced digital skills.

Quick facts

  • Since its establishment in 1993, Computers for Schools has refurbished and donated over 1.4 million computers nationwide.
  • In B.C., Computers for Schools has delivered approximately 144,000 pieces of equipment since 1993, including 9,051 pieces in 2014-15.
  • The program has provided 6,000 young Canadians with valuable experience working with digital technologies as part of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy.
  • For every dollar invested by the Government of Canada, Computers for Schools receives almost two dollars of in-kind contribution from Canadian partners and corporations.
  • The Computers for Schools program received $36 million over four years in Budget 2014, and Economic Action Plan 2015 committed $2 million over two years, starting in 2016-17.
  • The Connecting Canadians program, a Budget 2014 commitment, is providing $305 million over five years to extend and enhance access to high-speed broadband networks at target speeds of five megabits per second (Mbps) for an additional 280,000 Canadian households. The Government recently announced that it exceeded all targets in the first round of partnership approvals, bringing high-speed Internet access to more than 356,000 homes across Canada.

Quotes

"Today, access to a computer and high-speed Internet is essential for learning and communication. Our government wants to ensure that Canada's youth have the skills and education they need to access a wide range of employment opportunities. The funding announced today will create new opportunities for community groups to help low-income and new Canadians build their digital skills, train for jobs and fully participate in the digital economy.

- James Moore, Minister of Industry and Minister Responsible for British Columbia

"Many persons with disabilities are living on very low incomes and because of that, their access to computers is very difficult or nonexistent. Today's donation of computer technology from the Computers for Schools program to the Neil Squire Society will enable us to empower more Canadians with disabilities to be part of the digital community, a key component to fully participating in society. We are extremely grateful to both Industry Canada and the Computers for Schools program for this very important support."

- Gary Birch, Executive Director, Neil Squire Society

"Many Canadian homes still do not have a computer to support student learning outcomes or connect to the Internet. We welcome the news of this additional funding to partner with community agencies throughout the province in bridging the last realm of the digital divide."

- Mary-Em Waddington, Executive Director, B.C. Technology for Learning Society, which operates Computers for Schools B.C.

Related product

- Backgrounder: Computers for Schools

Associated links

- Industry Canada's Computers for Schools (CFS) program

- Industry Canada's Digital Canada 150 plan

- Canada's Youth Employment Strategy

- Federal Electronic Waste Strategy

Follow us on Twitter: @industrycanada

Backgrounder

Computers for Schools

Computers for Schools (CFS) is an Industry Canada-led program that collects and refurbishes donated surplus computers for distribution to Canada's schools, libraries, not-for-profit learning organizations and Aboriginal communities. CFS helps Canadian students gain greater access to computer technology so they can develop the skills needed to thrive in a digital economy.

Since 1993, CFS has delivered more than 1.4 million refurbished computers and employed more than 6,000 youth interns across Canada. CFS operates refurbishing centres throughout Canada where surplus computers are overhauled and prepared for distribution. Workshops are staffed by youth hired under the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy, volunteers (including current and retired telecommunications professionals), community members and students.

Economic Action Plan 2015 included a commitment of $2 million over two years to expand the CFS program to extend Canadians' access to refurbished computer equipment. Industry Canada will begin expanding the program in 2016-17 to include not-for-profit organizations that support low-income Canadians, new Canadians and other disadvantaged groups.

Each year, CFS workshops provide hundreds of young Canadians with paid, hands-on skills development opportunities through the Technical Work Experience Program. Youth interns have the opportunity to gain valuable experience toward future careers in the field of information and communications technology (ICT).

CFS also benefits the environment by ensuring that computer systems are refurbished and recycled, and by extending the useful life of computer assets. Non-working systems are disassembled, and functional parts are used to repair other systems. Remaining components are sent to provincially licensed recycling facilities.

Partnerships

Industry Canada administers CFS in partnership with the TelecomPioneers, a national volunteer association of current and retired telecommunications professionals, along with the provinces, territories and private and volunteer sectors.

Many organizations and private sector collaborators have contributed to the program's success. Partners include Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canadian National Railway Company, Manitoba Telecom Services, SaskTel and TELUS.

Computer donations

CFS accepts donations from all levels of government, the private sector and individuals. To minimize the time needed for refurbishment and to get the computers to the schools, libraries, not-for-profit learning organizations and Aboriginal communities as quickly as possible, CFS only accepts donated equipment in good working order.

CFS accepts IBM-compatible computers at the Pentium IV 3.2 GHz level, or Intel-based Macs, including the MacBook line, the Mac mini and the iMac. Schools and other learning organizations are asking for equipment of this type because this is the minimum level of technology required to handle the education software used in the classroom or to connect effectively to the Internet.

Accessories-such as LCD monitors, printers, modems, scanners, digital cameras and CD-ROM drives-may also be available upon request.

Youth and skills training

Each year, with support from the Canadian government's Youth Employment Strategy, CFS workshops provide hundreds of young Canadians with hands-on training and opportunities in ICT.

The Technical Work Experience Program provides students and recent graduates from information technology programs at colleges or universities with paid internships (to a maximum of 52 weeks) in CFS repair centres across Canada.

Under the supervision of CFS repair centre managers, young technicians repair and refurbish computer equipment, sort and test computer software, and prepare and package computers for shipment.

Volunteers

Volunteers are an essential part of the CFS success story: the TelecomPioneers is a co-founder of the program, and volunteers from telecom companies-including Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, Manitoba Telecom Services, SaskTel and TELUS-continue to ensure the program's success across the country.

The motto of the TelecomPioneers is "Answering the call of those in need." Its members provide a broad base of community service programs that inspire over 20 million hours of volunteer time each year.

Volunteers from the TelecomPioneers, as well as a range of volunteers from other organizations and local communities, help to staff workshops, undertake refurbishment activities and arrange deliveries of computers to schools, libraries, not-for-profit learning organizations and Aboriginal communities across the country.

Contact Information

  • Jake Enwright
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Industry
    343-291-2500

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada
    343-291-1777
    media-relations@ic.gc.ca