TORONTO, Oct. 31, 2022 /CNW/ - Visa announced the launch of its Digital Empowerment pilot program in Canada with the donation of 400 computers to local Toronto non-profit organizations that seek to help newcomers to Canada access hardware, digital, and financial literacy training. The program is delivered in association with Human-I-T, a non-profit organization that provides digital literacy services to communities across North America.
"It is integral we give back to the communities where we live and work by advancing access to the necessary tools
and resources needed for success," said Stacey Madge, president and country manager, Visa Canada. "Through this program, we are working toward inclusion for all and building greater digital financial equity through education, upskilling, and technology." According to Statistics Canada, approximately 6% of Canadians did not have access to the internet at home in 2020, with 26% reporting the cost of internet service and 13% the cost of equipment to be obstacles.1 Canadian newcomers face specific challenges when it comes to access to computers, tablets, Wi-Fi, and affordable internet.2
Visa's Digital Empowerment program seeks to bridge this gap and confront digital financial inequity. Through this program, recipients receive one laptop computer, financial literacy education, and foundational digital literacy training from Human-I-T. They also receive 12 months of IT support and access to low-cost broadband services.
"As a purpose-led company with global reach, our aim is to bring our purpose to life by uplifting everyone, everywhere," said Michelle Gethers, chief diversity office and head of corporate responsibility, Visa. "The expansion of Visa's Digital Empowerment program to Canada will ensure people gain access to equipment and obtain digital skills to increase their participation in the workforce and economy."
The launch of Visa's Digital Empowerment program kickstarted with an event at the MaRS Waterfront Innovation Centre
in Toronto. In attendance were the Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Yung Wu, CEO of the MaRS Discovery District, Gabe Middelton, CEO and co-founder of Human-I-T, Stacey Madge, and Michelle Gethers. Representing some of the participating organizations were Achēv, PS43 Foundation, Refugee Women's Network, and COSTI. At the event, 50 recipients from the Toronto community received their device and onsite digital training led by Human-I-T.
"Digital equity is the gateway to unlocking one's full potential. Our collaboration with Visa empowers individuals and households to get and stay connected," said Gabe Middelton, CEO and co-founder of Human-I-T. "As one of the country's leading digital inclusion practitioners, Human-I-T is proud to showcase the impact that creative collaboration and innovation can bring to communities left on the wrong side of the digital divide."