Post by Kevin Peesker, President Microsoft Canada
The pandemic has amplified the digital divide in Canada with the biggest brunt borne by those within underserved communities. As we approach our economic recovery post-pandemic, we must do so in a manner that elevates all Canadians. It is critical for every person to have access to secure, reliable and connected devices to work, learn and develop the skills necessary for today’s economy. This requires new initiatives and more collaboration across both public and private sectors—no government or industry can solve this challenge on its own.
To help fuel a more inclusive post-pandemic recovery, Microsoft Canada has initiated the CEO Pledge, in joint effort with Computers for Success Canada, to help close the digital skills gap by providing devices to those in underserved communities. Organizations that sign-on to the CEO Pledge will commit their organization’s end-of-cycle devices to Computers for Schools Plus (CFS+), a program from the government of Canada that refurbishes devices for use by schools, libraries, not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous communities and eligible low-income individuals. By combining the best in technology with the participation of leading Canadian organizations, we can better serve people and create opportunities for individuals across the country.
“The organizations that have signed on to the CEO Pledge are leading by example. Their commitment will improve access to technology for Canadians at risk of digital exclusion while creating a more sustainable future for everyone,” said Toby Harper-Merrett, Executive Director, Computers for Success Canada.
The CEO Pledge is the latest in Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to prepare Canadians for the digital economy by providing access to skills training and other digital infrastructure investments. Some recent announcements from Microsoft include: a global skilling announcement providing free access to online training tools from Microsoft, LinkedIn and GitHub; free accelerated Azure Fundamentals workshops facilitated through Seneca College, in collaboration with RBC; and Microsoft’s partnership with the Digital Technology Supercluster, NPower Canada and Blueprint to provide skills training to unemployed and underemployed young adults from communities underrepresented in the digital economy.
Twenty-three organizations from across Canada have joined Microsoft in the CEO Pledge including TELUS, Bell Canada, TD Bank Group, Scotiabank, Sunlife and Enbridge Inc.
This moment is an important step toward creating an innovative future that will sustain job growth and ensure that underrepresented groups have access to the technology they need to acquire skills for the jobs of the future. We are thrilled that so many leading organizations across industries are joining us on this journey and look forward to welcoming additional brands in the coming months. For more information on the CEO Pledge and how to commit, see here.