Intervention: Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) (Intervenor 247)

Document Name: 2015-134.223985.2394490.Intervention(1fblm01!).pdf
Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario

Fédération des enseignantes et des enseignants de l’élémentaire de l’Ontario 136 Isabella ****, Toronto, Ontario *** ***

Telephone: *-***-***-**** Toll free: 1-*-***-***-**** Fax: *-***-***-****

July 13, 2015
The Secretary General

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Ottawa, ON *** ***

Re: File number: 8663-C12-201503186

I am writing on behalf of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) to add the organization’s voice to those calling for free Internet access across Canada. ETFO represents 76,000 teachers and other education professionals who work in Ontario’s ****-language public schools.

The Federation applauds the Commission for its current review of Canadians’ access to the Internet. Ensuring universal access clearly fits with the Commission’s goals, including the objective “to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the social and economic fabric of Canada and its regions.”

Educators are increasingly relying on technology in the classroom. Student access to computers and the Internet is integral to daily learning activities, both at school and outside of school hours when students are expected to complete assignments and to conduct longer term research in higher grades. In elementary classrooms, students are increasingly doing group work that involves working collaboratively outside of school hours through the online platform Google docs.

Students who can’t access the Internet at home are missing out on the extensive resources available to support their intellectual development. They are also cut off socially from the diverse network of online communications that has become the norm for today’s youth. Students whose families cannot afford to pay for Internet services are therefore at a considerable disadvantage on many levels.

Lack of access to the Internet at home also means that parents don’t have the opportunity to participate in online learning with their children, an activity that can promote literacy and numeracy development and other skills. It also means that parents aren’t able to monitor their children’s online activities, leaving their children vulnerable to risky behaviour.

The General Secretary, CRTC - 2 - July 13, 2015

Through various help lines, the Internet is an important source for young people seeking counselling for how to deal with bullying and mental health issues. Those young people who can’t readily access the Internet are less able to get the assistance they need.

Alternatives to home Internet access are not universally available. Students who live in remote and rural areas often do not have easy access to libraries or other locations that provide free Internet. While some may be able to compensate through cell phone usage, wireless costs are also prohibitive and therefore limit this option for many.

Children living in poverty face many barriers to living full and healthy lives. Providing free access to the Internet is an important step to ensuring that they at least have equal access to a digital resource that is central to learning and to their social world. I urge the Commission to move to ensure that all Canadians have free access to the Internet.

Sincerely, Sam ****, President SH:VM:VO

Copy: **** Duncan, Executive Director, ACORN

Intervention: Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) (Intervenor 247)

Document Name: 2015-134.223985.2394491.Intervention(1fbln01!).html

Copie envoyée au demandeur et à tout autre intimé si applicable / Copy sent to applicant and to any respondent if applicable: Non/No