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Canada Budget 2017: Low-Income Internet Support a “Cruel Joke”

OTTAWA – The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) today decried the federal government’s Budget 2017, Building a Strong Middle Class, as providing only $13.2 million over 5 years to support low-income Canadians’ access to broadband – an amount over 100 times lower than suggested by PIAC and other public interest groups in evidence presented last year to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

“This Budget is a cruel joke for low-income Canadians struggling to afford broadband internet for education, health, employment and other key services,” said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC. “Acknowledging such a fundamental problem with a token amount and having the gall to call it an ‘Affordable Access program’  is insulting,” he added.

PIAC intends to continue its work advocating for affordable broadband access for all Canadians – a message it recently took, with the help of Consumers International, to preparatory meetings of the G20 digitalization ministers in Germany.

The CRTC recently rejected taking a role in solving this problem and instead called upon the federal, provincial, municipal, and first nations governments of Canada, along with internet service providers and community support groups, to address affordability of broadband for low-income Canadians.

 

For more information:

John Lawford

Executive Director and General Counsel, PIAC

Tel: 1-613-562-4002 ext. 25

Cell: 1-613-447-8125

jlawford@piac.ca

 

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