Vulnerable Residents to Receive Free Internet Access from City of Toronto
The City of Toronto is rolling out free internet access to vulnerable residents living in low-income neighbourhoods.
This includes temporary one-year access for 25 large residential apartment buildings in various low-income neighbourhoods, with the first 10 buildings to receive access in early May.
Mayor John Tory says the City has a new partnership with telecommunications and tech companies, who will grant free access for residents in lower-income neighbourhoods, seniors in long-term care homes, and clients in many City-operated shelters.
This move comes as COVID-19 restrictions have forced more essential activities online and, in turn, those who can’t afford internet access continue to face barriers to receiving public health information, pandemic support services, and emergency income supports, while having difficulty staying connected to family and friends.
“During this difficult time, it’s imperative that our most vulnerable residents have access to the supports they need and are still able to feel a sense of connection while physically distancing in order to protect themselves,” said Mayor Tory. “I want to thank all of our technology and telecommunications partners for helping to make this possible by making donations to help those most in need.”
City councillor Joe Cressy says vulnerable residents “experiencing challenges” have also been given free cell phones and data plans so they can “stay connected to services and mental health providers.”
The phones have been distributed through FOCUS Toronto service agencies and the Toronto Mental Health Support Plan.
“For those who have access to digital devices and the internet, the public health directive to ‘stay home’ may be frustrating and exhausting, but it is manageable. Sadly, that’s not the case for everyone,” said Cressy.
“In Toronto, we continue to work to ensure our COVID-19 response leaves nobody behind.”