Community Access Program (CAP) has been renewed. However, the funding only lasts till March 2008 and $1.5 million was cut from the budget.
This proves the lack of commitment this government has to those in need, and to ensuring that all citizens have access to what is fast becoming necessary technologies.
Thank you to all who signed the petition. I hope we will see this program reinstated in full in the not too distance future.
From the NDP
OTTAWA – NDP Literacy Advocate Denise Savoie (Victoria) cautiously welcomed yesterday’s long-delayed announcement that the Community Access Program (CAP) has been renewed, albeit only until March 2008 and with a $1.5 million cut.
“This is a victory for the community groups who deliver and believe in this program, and it’s good news for those vulnerable Canadians whose access to online literacy and job skills resources was hanging in the balance,” said Savoie. “But once again it is only a short-term reprieve instead of a long-term commitment. It is consistent with the Conservatives’ half-hearted, piecemeal approach to literacy programs.”
The program, which expired on March 31st, supports the provision of Internet access to low-income, unemployed and homeless Canadians at over 4,000 community sites across Canada. Yesterday, Industry Minister Maxime Bernier formally announced that funding would be provided for the 2007-08 fiscal year. The call for applications went out quietly to past recipients in late April to early May, with a May 31st deadline and a warning that contribution agreements could take up to three months to issue.
“That’s seven months’ worth of funding before the program expires again in March,” said Savoie, who also noted that the program’s budget was cut for the second consecutive year. Last October’s Supplementary Estimates (A) confirmed a $6 million cut from 2005-06, to $20.5 million in contributions for CAP. This year, the department says the budget is set at $19 million.
“This Conservative government is clearly not committed to literacy for vulnerable Canadians,” said Savoie. “They have undermined literacy programming at every turn, with delays, cuts, and one-year extensions instead of providing stable, transparent funding for the long term.”
Savoie questioned the secrecy surrounding the renewal of the program.
“The whole process was inexplicably hidden from public view,” said Savoie. “I hounded the Minister for months in the House to publicly confirm that CAP would be renewed. But the formal announcement didn’t happen until after the application deadline. Why did the Conservatives leave these vulnerable groups in the lurch?”