Telecom giant Telus says it will provide free smartphones and wireless services to Indigenous women in Ontario who are at risk or are surviving violence.
An expansion of Telus’ Mobility for Good program, the project is in partnership with Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) and Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto (NWRCT).
The program will supply smartphones and talk, text, and data plans to Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people. In Canada, Indigenous women and girls represent 24 percent of female homicide victims, despite only compromising four percent of the country’s female population. They are 12 times more likely to be missing or murdered than other women in Canada.
“Through the pandemic and continuously, the community faces barriers, disconnection, and through provision of devices, we can maintain interactions,” Pamela Hart, NWRCT’s executive director, said. “It is more than a phone or device, it’s connection to community, learning, culture and sometimes, a lifeline.”
The Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk first launched in 2021, helping Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people in Alberta and B.C. The program has supported almost 1,000 people so far, and Telus says it has plans to expand the program across Canada.