In 2016, the Government of Canada declared access to broadband internet a fundamental right for all citizens. Despite this declaration, roughly 18% of the population in Canada has limited connectivity and many communities are entirely without cellular access. This is particularly true in Inuit Nunangat, where bandwidth is limited, internet connection is at times sporadic, competition between Internet service providers is scarce, and investment in infrastructure is currently lacking.
These limitations mean that Northern communities are not granted equal access to online resources, are excluded from contributing to and competing in the Canadian economy in an equitable manner and are not provided an equal voice that is essential for active participation in a democratic society.
At a local level, this also means that communities have fewer tools at their disposal for establishing effective communications pathways. This affects the ability for communities to easily collect and disseminate information necessary for self-determination, to manage and mitigate safety challenges and public health risks, and to understand and promote community vitality and wellness.