As staying home and working remotely become a new way of life for global residents, issues surrounding connectivity and access to basic internet are prevalent. Fewer than 10 percent of First Nations homes in BC have internet access, which makes it impossible for most of the local Indigenous population to join a work meeting on Zoom, apply for CERB funding or participate in online schooling, among other necessary day-to-day actions. The lack of an online community can also contribute to feelings of social isolation, severely impacting mental health. The following conversation shares the First Nations Technology Council’s findings on hardware and internet access, digital skill training needs and immediate challenges in Indigenous communities; and explores advocacy work and policies required to address current failings.
Find the final article in ICTC’s British Columbia spotlight series below.
A Spotlight series on British Columbia
The impact of COVID-19 and broadband access on First Nations communities: A conversation with Denise Williams
By Faun Rice, June 30 2020
Preview: “Recent news cycles have turned to the durability of remote work and life: as of June 2020, one in five remote workers in Canada expect that they’ll be working from home indefinitely (see article for source). Telework, however, is an opportunity afforded by broadband access, and the CRTC suggests that less than half of rural and remote households have access to high-speed internet (see article for source). In June 2020, First Nations Technology Council (“Technology Council”) CEO Denise Williams sat down remotely with Information and Communications Technology Council analyst Faun Rice to talk about the impact COVID-19 has had on Indigenous peoples living in BC. Immediate impacts on First Nations communities extend far beyond the ability to work remotely and include access to education, healthcare, and benefits.”
Read the full article
Published in partnership by the Information and Communications Council (ICTC) & the Vancouver Economic Commission.
Photo: Gingolx, Nisga’a Nation, taken by Faun Rice.