Tuesday, August 04, 2020 - 11:00 AM

Donation Enables the City of St. John’s to Put Free WIFI in Key Areas

Vulnerable populations have been struggling with the impacts of COVID-19 since the very beginning of this pandemic, and the City of St. John’s is pleased to detail how a donation from the Canadian Medical Association Foundation (CMAF) will enable our community to better protect and assist those who need it the most.

Two free public wifi areas will be established in Victoria Park and Bannerman Park, in close proximity to non-market housing locations and street outreach services; the zones are both located on bus routes and walkable from shelters, transitional housing, housing developments and outreach service locations.

“I want to thank the CMAF for this donation and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for their support in facilitating this critical initiative,” said Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O’Leary, council lead on affordable housing. “The COVID-19 Community Response Fund for Vulnerable Populations will help our city, and indeed cities all over Canada, to urgently help the most vulnerable by supporting local and community-level action.”

There has never been a more important time than now to be able to access digital connection. Many information sources and services have moved online, and social interactions and connectivity have also become more virtual. Many vulnerable populations rely on public internet, but due to COVID-19 closures, libraries, coffee shops and cafes are no longer accessible.

Service providers have been attempting to fill the digital gap and help individuals stay connected by distributing devices, but data cards are quickly running out. They are costly to replace and challenging to coordinate purchasing and distributing processes.

“Municipalities have been working hard to keep Canadians safe during these trying times, and this funding will allow us to continue to provide a vital service to our residents,” said the Deputy Mayor. “We are pleased to receive this donation of $60,500 and staff are working to put these free WIFI zones in effect as quickly as possible.”

For more information on the national initiative, visit COVID-19 Community Response Fund for Vulnerable Populations.