Guelph Library Receiving Federal Funding through the Healthy Communities Initiative
March 4, 2022
Lloyd Longfield Pictured with Steve Kraft (Photo taken pre-pandemic)
As Canadians continue to adjust to the realities of COVID-19, local governments and community partners across the country are adapting their spaces and services to keep residents safe and healthy, support economic recovery, create jobs, and build vibrant, resilient communities.
Today, the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, along with the Guelph Community Foundation and MP Lloyd Longfield are announcing $25,000 in funding to support a critical project in Guelph as part of the second round of the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative. Through the $31-million Initiative, the Government of Canada, alongside Community Foundations of Canada, is building safer spaces and ensuring a higher quality of life for people across the country, by helping communities adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19. There are over 650 projects taking place across the country, including in every province and territory.
In Guelph, The Guelph Public Library will receive $25,000 to expand its wireless offering to provide free, inclusive internet access across our community. The pandemic has shown the need for connectivity to work remotely, to connect with social supports and to access online learning. Lack of access to the internet has affected more than 11% of Guelph households that are struggling with necessities, let alone the cost of internet services. (statistics provided by the feedback from the Guelph and Wellington County’s Vital Focused Report funded by the Guelph Community Foundation).
As our world accelerated the shift to online during the pandemic, those without internet access faced significant barriers. While increasing the capacity for our community to be connected, we can reduce barriers such as e-learning, access to government supports, social interaction and inclusivity, while remaining safe and healthy. Also key to our community’s well being is ensuring that seniors have access to services such as online banking and virtual events to overcome social isolation. The Guelph Public Library and the Community Foundations of Canada are supporting the collection of data to ensure connectivity for those most affected.
The funding announced here will provide 30 WiFi hotspots and 30 WiFi-enabled tablets that will be made available for loan through the Guelph Public Library to ensure our community remains connected and has the use of technology for those who do not have access to it directly. The Guelph Public Library will ensure successful implementation of this initiative and will monitor the project’s success.
“The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative is supporting projects across the country that build more inclusive communities and ensure a higher quality of life for Canadians. Investments like the one announced today in Guelph are vital to strengthening communities and ensuring no one is left behind as a result of the digital divide. This includes seniors and others in our region facing increased isolation”
- Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph
“This funding will have a significant impact to help close the digital divide. Access to internet will help build a community where people are not left behind. Affordable access to online learning, the ability to work from home and banking are essential. Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation’s leadership as a regional partner was instrumental in delivering this program.”
- Chris Willard, Executive Director at The Guelph Community Foundation
“The Guelph Public Library is honoured to have been chosen as a recipient for the Government of Canada’s Healthy Communities Initiative. With this support, we will continue to bridge the digital divide in our community to ensure Guelph residents are able to connect to the essential services and resources they need. Providing access to inclusive internet strengthens our community’s connectivity and in effect, creates a resilient and thriving community.”
- Meaghan H. Forestell-Page, Guelph Public Library Supervisor of Programming, Outreach & Digital Services
- The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative was created to help communities adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and create safe ways for residents to access services and enjoy the outdoors. The Initiative is designed to fund eligible projects between $5,000 and $250,000 that fall under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions.
- Community Foundations of Canada was selected through an open call for applications to implement a national project. Together with its partners, including the Canadian Urban Institute, it is working with pan-Canadian networks to manage the funding process and serve the distinct needs of communities across Canada, including equity-seeking groups interested in applying.
- A variety of community-led organizations were eligible to apply, including local governments, charities, Indigenous communities, and registered non-profit organizations.
- Over 650 projects are taking place across the country as part of the Healthy Communities Initiative, including in every province and territory.