Industry Canada

Industry Canada

June 05, 2015 10:00 ET

Supporting Digital Learning in Canadian Schools and Communities

Over 67,000 refurbished computers delivered and 296 local youth employed in internship positions in Ontario since 2010-11

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 5, 2015) - Industry Canada

While many children enjoy the opportunities that digital technology offers, not all have access to computers. Since its launch over two decades ago, the Computers for Schools program has played an important role in increasing access to technology for Canadian youth.

As outlined in Economic Action Plan 2015, the Government of Canada will commit $2 million over two years, starting in 2016-17, to expand this highly successful program. It will provide non-profit organizations that support low-income Canadians, new Canadians and other community groups with access to refurbished computer equipment.

Today, Mike Lake, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, and John Carmichael, Member of Parliament for Don Valley West, underscored the importance of this program for Ontario: since 2010-11 Computers for Schools has delivered over 67,000 refurbished computers and employed 296 local youth in internship positions throughout the province. The funding provided in Economic Action Plan 2015 will further the previous Budget 2014 commitment of $36 million over four years, increasing support from $9 million per year in 2014-15 and 2015-16 to $10 million per year in 2016-17 and 2017-18. The increase will allow Computers for Schools Ontario to distribute over 41,000 computers over the next three years to schools and non-profit community organizations.

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 little or 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 Ontario, Computers for Schools has delivered 415,000 pieces of equipment since 1993, including 16,987 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.
  • Budget 2014 also proposed $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 up to an additional 280,000 Canadian households through the Connecting Canadians program.


"Today, being able to have access to a computer and connect to the Internet is essential to learning and communication. Our government is committed to ensuring that youth have the skills and education they need to access employment opportunities. Now, community groups will also be able to get the important equipment they need to help low-income and new Canadians build their skills, train for jobs and pursue their education. The Computers for Schools program is one of the many ways we are helping Canadians connect and succeed in the digital age."

- James Moore, Minister of Industry

"Canada has mapped a path forward for Canadians to take full advantage of the opportunities of the digital age. The Computers for Schools program is one of the many ways we are helping Canadians reach their full potential and capitalize on future opportunities. Increased access to technology skills and tools contributes to Canada's digital economic success."

- Mike Lake, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry and Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont

"Supporting Canadian families is an important and ongoing Government of Canada commitment. The new funding for the Computers for Schools program through Economic Action Plan 2015 will ensure that even more Canadians can access these much-needed digital tools and resources. I am pleased that students, families and organizations right here in Don Valley West and all across the province will continue to have access to these critical resources."

- John Carmichael, Member of Parliament for Don Valley West

"Empowering low-income learners with equitable access to renewed technology is key to increasing digital literacy, strengthening the knowledge economy and connecting Canadians. Industry Canada is taking a leadership role in reaching the 54 percent of low-income homes that do not have a computer."

- Shauna L. McCaffrey, Executive Director, Renewed Computer Technology, which operates Computers for Schools Ontario

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


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.


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 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

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada