Digital Equity Ottawa

Closing the digital divide.

What is Digital Equity?

Digital Equity is the ability of individuals and groups to access and use information and communication technologies. Digital inclusion encompasses not only access to the Internet but also the availability of hardware and software; relevant content and services; and training for the digital literacy skills required for effective use of information and communication technologies. (source)

Rural Canadian access to High Speed Internet

  • with high speed

  • without high speed

According to CRTC numbers from 2017, only 37 per cent of rural households in Canada had access to 50/10 Mbps, compared with 97 per cent of urban homes. (Source: CRTC)

Lower Income Household Internet Access

  • with internet

  • without internet

As of 2018, 83.4% of Ontario households in the lowest income quartile had internet access at home, compared to 94.5% for all Ontario households. (Source: Canadian Internet Use Survey)

Rural Internet Speeds

Rural Canadian internet speeds are on average ten times slower than urban speeds. COVID has widened that divide. In April 2020, rural speeds were 12 times slower. (Source: CIRA)

Covid-19 has revealed the scale of the digital divide

What can we do about it?

Digital Equity Ottawa is a new, collaborative initiative that is aiming to improve digital equity in 4 key areas.

Access to devices

Increase access to appropriate hardware and technical support to residents in need.

Access to affordable, reliable and fast internet for all

Expand access to the internet and broadband infrastructure for those facing barriers, including low income and rural residents.

Ability to Use:
Digital Literacy

Train residents in digital skills to increase access to services, equity in accessing virtual learning for high school graduation, employability and more.

Capacity of the non-profit sector

Increase the capacity of the non-profit sector to provide services digitally including for residents with low technical capacity.

Read and download the reports

Here are three reports we produced in collaboration with National Capital Freenet
in 2021 to explore digital equity challenges and opportunities, during the pandemic and beyond:

Have a client who needs hardware? Request technology here.


Infographics available for re-use

This initiative is possible because of support from United Way East Ontario.