Internet Matters

New program aims to strengthen the digital literacy skills of Canadians

In honour of Financial Literacy Month in November, ABC Life Literacy Canada is pleased to announce the launch of its newest program, ABC Internet Matters, sponsored by the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA). The program provides introductory digital literacy education for Canadian seniors who are not using the internet and adult learners who have a gap on the digital curve.

ABC Internet Matters empowers Canadians who are not comfortable using the internet with the knowledge they need to get started. Through the program, seniors and adult learners across Canada develop a deeper understanding of what the internet is, how they can access it affordably and securely, and how it can help them do the things that are important to them, their families and community. Drawing from Adult Learning Theory, the program material is delivered through a comprehensive bilingual workbook made available at no cost by ABC partner organizations and service providers across Canada. The learning continuum extends online through a complementary web portal at featuring additional modules and an electronic version of the workbook available for download. The tangible workbook and web portal help build the confidence and foundational skills of seniors and adult learners to start using the internet and engage in further online learning opportunities.

“The number of adult learners and seniors with access to the internet is growing significantly, but many of them don’t have the appropriate digital literacy skills to use the internet safely,” says Mack Rogers, Executive Director, ABC Life Literacy Canada. “We’re grateful for the support of the Canadian Bankers Association to develop and share ABC Internet Matters resources, helping this vulnerable population gain vital skills during a time when technology has proven to be more important than ever.”

Canada’s population is ageing and, as life increasingly moves online during the pandemic, a generation unfamiliar with some technology faces a digital divide. Nearly 7 million Canadians are aged 65 years and above, accounting for 18 per cent of Canada’s population, and that number is expected to increase to more than 9.5 million by 2030. While internet access has reached near-saturation levels among Canadians aged 15 to 64, its diffusion into the senior population is far less extensive, as roughly 30 per cent of seniors do not use the internet. This “digital ageism” could lead to informational disadvantages for Canadian seniors, particularly for immigrant seniors with language barriers.

“The CBA is proud to sponsor the ABC Internet Matters program, which is directly aimed at improving seniors’ capacity to stay safe, informed and connected in an increasingly networked world,” says Neil Parmenter, President and CEO, Canadian Bankers Association. “The impact of COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital services in all facets of life, including banking services, and this program helps bridge the digital divide among senior Canadians.”