The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that some community members have been significantly affected by the ‘digital divide’. The digital divide refers to the gaps between people who can access and use modern information and communication technology and those who cannot. The “digital divide” can look like low-quality and reliability of Internet service, high setup or increasing monthly costs, cost of devices, and/or limited types of connections depending on where they live or work. The digital disproportionately affects; People living with low-income; People who are homeless; People in rural areas; People on first nation reserves.
Having access allows us to get on with our lives and participate in our community
The digital divide existed before COVID-19, but the pandemic has exacerbated the effects both due to increases in poverty caused by loss of income, as well as the increased need to interact virtually to connect with family and friends, access social services, health care and crisis supports and to go to school and work. Additionally, some populations have a more heightened need for devices and connectivity due to safety reasons such as living in an abusive or violent situation or living with homelessness.