News Release Article from  Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Government of Canada Invests in Delivering Computers to Syrian Refugees

Computers for Schools program will help refugees settle into life in Canada

March 14, 2016 – Toronto, Ontario – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, today announced that 7,500 refurbished computers will be provided to Syrian refugees in Canada. These computers will be distributed by resettlement organizations with assistance from Computers for Success Canada—Ordinateurs pour l'excellence Canada (CFSC-OPEC) through the Computers for Schools (CFS) program. Digital skills training will also be provided through CFS program partners.

Under the CFS program, refurbished commercial-grade computer equipment is made available at little or no cost to those who may not otherwise have access to technology and opportunities to learn digital skills.

To help provide these computers and technical support to Syrian refugees and the resettlement organizations, the CFS program is getting a one-time boost of $1.25 million.

In addition, the CFS program is proud to be working with national partners from multiple sectors to bundle complementary services for recipients. Partnerships with Microsoft, MediaSmarts, CN, CIBC, Facebook and the Canada Research Chair in Sociocultural Issues of Digital Technologies in Education will provide a more robust donation of computers and services, offering more benefits for recipients.

Quotes

"Economic growth in the modern economy depends on our ability to adapt, adopt and integrate digital technologies into our daily lives—both at work and at home. This investment in the Computers for Schools program will help provide computers and technical support to refugee resettlement facilities, host communities and refugees themselves. I am proud that the Government is making this investment. This is an important step to settling into life in Canada."

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

"Resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees has been a true national effort—a large-scale collaboration among different levels of government, non-governmental organizations, service provider organizations and the private sector. I am very pleased that Computers for Success Canada is contributing to the national effort in this important way. Providing technology and skills training will be invaluable to the success of Syrian refugees as they integrate into a society where computer knowledge is very important."

– The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

"Computers for Success Canada is honoured to coordinate this exceptional Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada initiative to provide Canadians with greater access to technology and opportunities to learn new digital skills and to help Syrian refugees settle in and grow the economy. We are proud to highlight partners including Microsoft and CN that have made exceptional investments in support of this project."

– Toby Harper-Merrett, Executive Director, Computers for Success Canada—Ordinateurs pour l'excellence Canada

"For over a hundred years, as CN played its role as a true backbone of the Canadian economy, it has also played a key role in getting newly arrived immigrants to their new homes across Canada. CN also has a long-running partnership with Computers for Success Canada, helping to move computers to people in need. We are proud to bring those traditions together in this partnership as we work to provide refugees with the tools they need to succeed in their new lives in Canada."

– Paul Deegan, Vice-President Public and Government Affairs, CN

"As Canada Research Chair in Sociocultural Issues of Digital Technologies in Education, I am pleased to be involved in the CFSC-OPEC initiative to provide computer equipment to refugees. To fully participate in Canadian society, digital skills are a must, and that requires high-quality access to technology and the Internet. However, there are gaps in access to these tools, and not everyone in Canada can benefit equally from digital technology. Initiatives for refugees like the one being undertaken by CFSC-OPEC contribute greatly to reducing the digital divide, which will benefit all Canadians."

– Simon Collin, professor, Canada Research Chair in Sociocultural Issues of Digital Technologies in Education, and Director of the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante – Université du Québec

"MediaSmarts is really pleased to be part of this important initiative to provide computers to Syrian newcomers. As we welcome these new Canadians, we want to ensure that both parents and their children have the tools to use the technology safety and wisely. Inclusion has many aspects, including being able to familiarize yourself with Canada's digital environment."

– Cathy Wing, Co-Executive Director, MediaSmarts

"CIBC is committed to helping newcomers to Canada get off to a strong financial start. With our CIBC Syrian Refugees Program, we're providing newcomers with a special banking package that includes no-fee banking for up to two years and a credit card with no income or credit history needed. And, through our long-time support of the Computers for Schools program, we're proud to enable greater computer access, making it easier for our clients to bank and settle into their new life in Canada."

– Rob Assimakopoulos, Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, CIBC

"Microsoft believes that technology is a powerful tool that enhances education outcomes and brings economic opportunities within reach. We are therefore delighted to partner with Computers for Success Canada and the Government of Canada to ensure Syrian refugees have the tools they need to succeed as new Canadians."

– Dennis Lopes, Head of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs, Microsoft Canada

"Making technology accessible to everyone is key to achieving a more open and connected world. Facebook is proud to partner with Computers for Success Canada—Ordinateurs pour l'excellence Canada in delivering computers and education to Syrian refugees. Facebook is helping to promote CFSC-OPEC's program to Canadians and to make Think Before You Share, MediaSmarts and Facebook's digital literacy guide, available in Arabic with each refurbished computer."

– Kevin Chan, Head of Public Policy, Facebook Canada

Quick facts

  • Canada has resettled 25,000 Syrian refugees in four months and will resettle 10,000 more by the end of 2016.
  • The national distribution of computers will be coordinated by CFSC-OPEC, a national non-profit organization focused on supporting the CFS program across Canada.
  • The CFS program is providing refugees with greater access to computer technology to develop the skills needed to thrive in a digital economy.
  • The 2015 federal budget committed $2 million over two years to expand the CFS program to support not-for-profit organizations that assist new Canadians, low-income Canadians and other disadvantaged groups.
  • Additional donations to the CFS program to support Syrian refugees are planned in cities across the country in the coming months.

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Follow the Minister on Twitter: @MinisterISED

Contacts (media inquiries only)

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca


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