The impact of Ontario’s digital divide
February 27th, 2020 by Alan Cherwinski
Recently, AlphaPlus completed a research overview based on analysis of the Canadian Internet Use Survey (CIUS) and other information. The overview looks beyond average household internet connections and highlights the way in which income, age and level of education contribute to the digital divide. This ongoing and entrenched digital divide has a direct impact on LBS learners and others who could benefit from learning and training programs.
Through our research, we discovered that individuals with no (or limited) household internet connections rely more often on pay-as-you-go plans and public Wi-Fi to access the digital world. Some even sacrifice basic needs to get online. Our review of the available data and information also indicates that people with no or limited internet access have fewer devices.
Overall, limited access for low-income individuals means they engage in fundamental activities like online banking and accessing government services at half the rate of those with the highest incomes.
Our research shows that 39% of Ontarians with the lowest incomes (compared to only 1% with the highest incomes) are unable to gain the knowledge and consumer benefits as well as the social and personal benefits typically associated with seamless internet access. Limited access also prevents people from fully participating and voicing their views and opinions.
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