Ottawa and Regional Municipality of York investments will bring high-speed Internet to Georgina Island and Udora

News release

Indigenous peoples and rural Ontarians to benefit from increased connectivity

December 16, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario

Ontarians know that high-speed Internet access is no longer a luxury; it is essential for everyone, including those living in rural and remote regions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much we all rely on high-speed Internet, and this need is sure to be even greater in the future. Now more than ever, it is essential that people have access to reliable, affordable high-speed Internet at home so they can work, learn, and communicate with loved ones.

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced that Udora and the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, in the Regional Municipality of York, will soon benefit from improved access to high-speed Internet thanks to a broadband project funded by the Government of Canada and York Region. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2021, with connectivity expected shortly thereafter.

The project will bring high-speed Internet to Georgina Island via an underwater fibre optic cable, providing reliable, high-speed broadband access to 462 households in the Regional Municipality of York.

Funding for the project was provided as follows:

  • $2 million through the Government of Canada’s Connect to Innovate program
  • $3 million through the Regional Municipality of York

Quotes

“High-speed Internet service is key to the success of residents in rural regions of Ontario. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us how important it is to be able to access the digital world—now more than ever. By investing in this project through the Connect to Innovate program, we are continuing to bridge the digital divide so Canadians in Ontario’s rural regions can also benefit from all the advantages the digital world has to offer.”
- The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

“York Regional Council is committed to improving access to high-speed Internet in all of our communities, especially those that are underserved like Georgina Island and Udora. Through the Connect to Innovate program, the Government of Canada has graciously allocated $2 million in funding for this project. Together with York Region’s $3 million investment, we can better connect our communities at a time when many are working and attending school from home.”
- Wayne Emmerson, Chairman and CEO, York Regional Council

“We know how important high-speed Internet access is to driving innovation and job creation and to improving the quality of life of our residents. This substantial investment will help expand York Region’s dark fibre network and allow the Chippewas of Georgina Island and Udora residents to benefit from all the economic, educational and social benefits high-speed Internet can offer.”
- Margaret Quirk, Chair of the Board of YorkNet and Mayor of Georgina

“The Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation are excited about gaining high-speed Internet access in our buildings. We have had so many challenges doing day-to-day business from our community because of the slow Internet connection. With the pandemic measures and the lockdowns we have had to put in place on our First Nation, Internet is most crucial for our youth for schooling, our businesses and connections with the outside world. As we advance in today’s society, it’s becoming more and more apparent that, in order to continue to move forward, we need to keep progressing and be up to date with technology.”
- Chief Donna Big Canoe, Chief of Georgina Island First Nation

Quick facts

  • On November 9, the Government of Canada launched the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF). This investment of $1.75 billion will help connect rural Ontario communities to high-speed Internet, faster.

  • Through UBF investment, the federal government has taken immediate action by launching a $150 million Rapid Response Stream to fund shovel-ready projects that can bring high-speed Internet to communities within the next 12 months.

  • The Government of Canada has also entered into a $600 million agreement to secure high-speed Internet access for Canada’s most remote areas—including the Far North—through Telesat’s low Earth orbit satellite constellation.

  • The Connect to Innovate program aims to improve high-speed Internet service in rural and remote communities across Canada.

Associated links

Contacts

Marie-Pier Baril
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
613-295-8123
marie-pier.baril@cfc-swc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca

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