Backgrounder Article from  Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Computers for Schools Support for Canada's Syrian Refugee Resettlement Efforts

Computers for Schools (CFS) is a national program led by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). The program refurbishes donated computers and distributes them to schools and not-for-profit organizations that assist new Canadians, low-income Canadians and other disadvantaged groups, including refugees. Since its establishment in 1993, CFS has refurbished and donated over 1.4 million computers nationwide.

Through Computers for Success Canada—Ordinateurs pour l'excellence Canada (CFSC-OPEC) and its CFS program, ISED is providing computers and assistance in developing digital skills to facilitate refugees' resettlement and integration into Canada. The Government of Canada recently approved up to $1.25 million for CFS to provide computers and technical support to refugee resettlement organizations.

The donations are being made through resettlement agencies across the country. One such partner is Toronto's CultureLink, a settlement organization with over 25 years' experience in developing and delivering settlement services to meet the needs of diverse communities. It helps newcomers look for work, navigate the school system, and develop skills for bright and successful futures. The organization also supports refugees and brings together new and established Canadians. Renewed Computer Technology (a CFS program affiliate) will provide CultureLink with over 500 computers for Syrian refugees resettling in the Greater Toronto Area.

In addition, CFSC-OPEC has partnered with several organizations to bundle complementary services, resulting in a more robust offering for resettling refugees:

  • The Canada Research Chair in Sociocultural Issues of Digital Technologies in Education is providing expertise in program design.
  • CIBC is offering a low-cost banking package for new Canadians.
  • CN, a long-standing ISED partner, is providing cartage for donated computers across the country.
  • Facebook is offering MediaSmarts online safety information in Arabic.
  • Microsoft is donating Windows and Office licences for every computer destined for Syrian refugee households from coast to coast.

CFSC-OPEC is a non-profit organization focused on supporting the CFS program across Canada. Through CFSC-OPEC, CFS affiliate organizations benefit from marketing and communications, partnership development, and strategic planning services at the national level.

For more information on ISED's CFS program, visit the Computers for Schools site. For more information on how you can get computers to help refugees, visit the CFSC-OPEC site.

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Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Economics and Industry

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