June 16th, 2020

Ford must provide Northerners with equitable access to education by investing in broadband

QUEEN’S PARK – The Ford government must begin providing thousands of students in Northern Ontario with reliable internet at home so they can complete their studies, said MPP Guy Bourgouin, after Education Minister Stephen Lecce praised government online resources without acknowledging the lack of broadband in northern and rural communities.

“The minister of education spoke of virtual resources ‘to keep students engaged’, yet Northern Ontario students and teachers don’t have access to the technology to make that happen,” said Bourgouin, NDP MPP for Mushkegowuk-James Bay.

Over 120,000 Northern Ontarians lack access to reliable broadband, of which 70 per cent reside in Northeastern Ontario, said Bourgouin.

“While the minister of education speaks of ‘equitable access to education’, students in the remote James Bay coast have to carefully use the limited internet that is shared with health clinics, public services and households,” said Bourgouin.

“For this government to showcase virtual resources when thousands of students in Northern Ontario lack the technology to make use of them is contradictory at best.

“Can the premier explain to students in Northern Ontario that do not have reliable internet at home what ‘equitable access to education’ means?”