Friday, 13 April 2012

[creative-radio] Canadian Government Action Plan for Open Government Data? Harper Government Deletes Community Access Program

Canadian Government Action Plan for Open Government Data? Harper Government
Deletes Community Access Program


April 7, 2012

Harper Government Deletes Community Access Program

Late evening on April 5th Community Access Program (CAP) sites across
Canada received a letter from
Industry Canada Director General Lisa Setlakwe that the Program "has
achieved its objectives" and funding has
been terminated, effective immediately. The letter goes on to say the
Federal Government is committed to
"prioritizing expenditures". It does, however, suggest that youth
employment money may be available for
internet access sites that continue to exist after the cuts. How a CAP site
can hire and supervise youth when it
has no funding to operate is not explained in the letter.

Asks Eric Stackhouse, Nova Scotia CAP Association Chair, "How can we have
accomplished the objective of
connecting Canadians to the Internet when all our usage numbers are the
same as they always were, or
increasing? We send these numbers to them yearly, so they know that".
Stackhouse explains that officials at
Industry Canada don't seem to understand what the objectives were. "I know,
I was there when the Program
was first started. It was to connect Canadians to the Internet and
technology but also to train them in its use so
they could benefit from it. The access is still needed, the numbers show
that, and as anyone knows, technology
is constantly changing and you need new skills each and every day." He
points to such groups as seniors and
older workers as particularly vulnerable and who need skills to do
everything from day to day banking,
contacting the Federal Government, finding the right tax forms, or learning
how to connect with their families.

"As far as prioritizing expenditures" Stackhouse continues, "the Federal
Government saved billions in civil
service salaries when it transferred almost all of its services from
in-person to online; this was successful due in
no small part to the minor amount of money provided to CAP. We act as the
local access point where people
can get help. Government web sites still say, if you need access or
assistance, go to a CAP site. Now
Government want others to cover that cost." $650,000 is received from
Industry Canada each year, far less than
was originally received back in the 1990's.

The Association is particularly disappointed in the way the Federal
Government chose to make this
announcement. Volunteers, community members, and staff, who have worked
hard over 17 years to help fellow
citizens were informed by form letter, late in the evening before Good
Friday, their efforts were not needed. The
Association has asked numerous times in the past two years to speak with
Industry Canada representatives
about the future of CAP but no replies were received.

The Nova Scotia CAP Association encourages all people who make use of CAP,
and those who understand that
community places to learn about technology are still needed, contact their
Member of Parliament. A map of the
Nova Scotia CAP communities and the contact information for MPS is on the
web at If you
need access or assistance drop by one of the 209 CAP sites across Nova

For further information:
Eric Stackhouse, Chair
Nova Scotia CAP Association
(902) 331-0402

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: michael gurstein <>
Date: 12 April 2012 22:02
Subject: [CommunityInformaticsCanada] Canadian Government Action Plan for
Open Government Data
To:,, civicaccess
discuss <>

This seems to me to be a reasonable set of first steps but the problem is
when this is combined with the elimination of the Community Access Program
(see [above]) a significant proportion of the population (those without
personal access to the Internet) will be excluded from having easy low cost
access to this data/information.


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