The City of Toronto recently announced a partnership with OnX and Cisco to bring free client Wi-Fi to nine city-run shelters and homelessness program sites. Through the partnership, clients at the shelters will be able to access free Wi-Fi 24 hours a day.
“This important initiative is part of the city’s work to help provide greater inclusive access to services for those who need it the most. Free 24/7 Wi-Fi internet access on-site will allow clients to more easily communicate online and access the information and services they need,” said Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21 St Paul’s), City of Toronto Poverty Advocate.
Many of the clients in the city’s shelter and homelessness programs have access to a mobile device but do not have a data plan to access the internet. They rely heavily on free public Wi-Fi to access support, services and benefits, search and apply for jobs and housing opportunities, and stay connected with loved ones and social networks.
“In today’s world of rapidly changing technologies, access is everything. Yet those who are unable to share in ever-evolving information are at a disadvantage. It’s called the digital divide and the city is committed to preventing it from widening,” said Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 10, York Centre), Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee.
“In tandem with our key partner Cisco, OnX is very proud to be part of this meaningful program that we believe will have a positive impact on the lives of clients at shelters in the city of Toronto,” said Paul Khawaja, President OnX Canada. “I am proud of the work we have done and grateful for the opportunity to further contribute to the community as a whole.”
The nine sites are Robertson House, Bellwood House, Women’s Residence, Fort York Residence, Family Residence, Birkdale Residence, Birchmount Residence, Adelaide Resource Centre for Women and the Streets to Homes Assessment & Referral Centre. Robertson House, a shelter for women and children, will be the first location to receive free public client Wi-Fi.