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Harper Government Delivers Computers and Digital Skills Training to Communities Nationwide

Providing young Canadians with hands-on computer experience and skills training to succeed in the digital age

PORT COQUITLAM, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/06/14 -- Industry Canada

Hundreds of thousands of young people will be given access to digital learning opportunities that they otherwise would not have had, thanks to an investment by the Government of Canada.

Industry Minister James Moore today announced the renewal of the Computers for Schools Program, an initiative that repairs, refurbishes and then donates computers to schools, public libraries and Aboriginal communities to give students access to the equipment and skills they need to succeed in the digital economy.

This investment will put approximately 280,000 computers in schools across Canada and create around 1,000 training opportunities for young people in all areas of digital technology.

The Computers for Schools Program will connect Canadians and support economic opportunities, key elements under Digital Canada 150, the Government's plan for Canada's digital future. The program also promotes the reuse of surplus computers donated by federal, provincial and territorial governments and private businesses. Computers refurbished through the program are provided free of charge to schools, libraries, registered not-for-profit learning organizations and Aboriginal communities.

Quick facts

--  Since its creation, the Computers for Schools Program has refurbished
    and donated over 1.3 million computers to schools and not-for-profit
    learning organizations across Canada.
--  In partnership with Canada's Youth Employment Strategy, Computers for
    Schools has given over 6,000 young Canadians valuable experience in
    working with digital technologies.
--  The work performed by information technology interns and dedicated
    volunteers helps extend the life of the computers by three to four
    years, diverting waste from landfill sites across Canada.


"To succeed in today's economy, students need access to the Internet and the opportunities that our digital world can provide starting at a young age. This investment will give hundreds of thousands of young people access to the digital world. Our government's top priority is creating jobs and economic growth. This program is essential to prepare young Canadians for the opportunities of our digital economy."

- Industry Minister James Moore

"My colleagues across Canada and I are thrilled with the renewed mandate, which allows us to continue our work to support schools, provide youth training and preserve our environment. We are able to achieve enormous benefits for Canada in a myriad of ways simply by delivering an effective reuse program. Computers for Schools has had much to celebrate throughout our 20-year history of working together, and we look forward to greater success over the next four years."

- Mary-Em Waddington, Executive Director, B.C. Technology for Learning Society

"The Computers for Schools Program is a win-win in so many ways. Thousands of computers are kept away from the landfill and repurposed to benefit youth in our community. Youth live in a digital world, and giving them access to computers at school will go a long way toward improving their educational experiences and success in the future."

- Greg Moore, Mayor, City of Port Coquitlam

"Ecole Maple Creek Middle School has benefitted immensely from the Computers for Schools Program. With support from the Parent Advisory Council and Computers for Schools, we have been able to purchase enough computers to operate two computer labs as well as add computers in the classroom despite our limited budget. These computers directly assist our students by giving them access to sources of information, helping them learn research skills, giving them tools for presentations and word processing, and providing those who need extra support with assistive technology programs."

- Bill Trask, Principal, Ecole Maple Creek Middle School

Related product

- Backgrounder: Computers for Schools

Associated links

- Industry Canada's Computers for Schools Program

- Industry Canada's Technical Work Experience Program

- Youth Employment Strategy

- Digital Canada 150

Follow us on Twitter: @industrycanada


Computers for Schools

Computers for Schools (CFS) is an Industry Canada-led program that collects and refurbishes donated surplus computers for distribution to Canada's schools, libraries, not-for-profit learning organizations and Aboriginal communities. CFS helps Canadian students gain greater access to computer technology so they can develop the skills needed to thrive in a digital economy.

Since 1993, CFS has delivered more than 1.3 million refurbished computers and employed more than 6,000 youth interns across Canada. CFS operates refurbishing centres throughout Canada where surplus computers are refurbished and prepared for distribution. Workshops are staffed by youth hired under the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy, volunteers (including current and retired telecommunications professionals), community members and students.

Each year, CFS workshops provide hundreds of young Canadians with paid, hands-on skills development opportunities through the Technical Work Experience Program. Youth interns have the opportunity to gain valuable experience toward future careers in the field of information and communications technology (ICT).

CFS also promotes environmental benefits by ensuring that computer systems are refurbished and recycled, keeping them out of landfills. Non-working systems are disassembled, with functional parts used to repair other systems.


Industry Canada administers CFS in partnership with the TelecomPioneers of Canada, a national volunteer association of current and retired telecommunications professionals, along with the provinces, territories and private and volunteer sectors.

Many organizations and private sector collaborators have contributed to the program's success. Partners include Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canadian National Railway Company, Manitoba Telecom Services, SaskTel and Telus.

Computer donations

CFS ensures that every computer provided to beneficiaries is user ready and complete with a monitor, mouse, keyboard and operating system software. To minimize the time needed for refurbishment and to get the computers to the schools, libraries, not-for-profit learning organizations and Aboriginal communities as quickly as possible, CFS only accepts donated equipment in good working order.

CFS accepts IBM-compatible computers at the Pentium IV level or better and Macintosh computers at the PowerMac G4 level or better. Schools and other learning organizations are asking for such equipment because this is the minimum level of technology required to handle the education software used in the classroom or to connect effectively to the Internet.

Accessories-such as working LCD monitors, printers, modems, scanners, digital cameras and CD-ROM drives-may also be available upon request.

Youth and skills training

Each year, with support from the Canadian government's Youth Employment Strategy, CFS workshops provide hundreds of young Canadians with hands-on training and opportunities in ICT.

The Technical Work Experience Program provides students and recent graduates from technology programs with their first job experience. This program hires students and recent graduates from information technology programs at colleges or universities and provides them with paid internship (up to a maximum of 52 weeks) in CFS repair centres across Canada.

Under the supervision of CFS repair centre managers, young technicians repair and refurbish computer equipment, sort and test computer software, and prepare and package computers for shipment.

They also provide technical support to local schools and school boards. In addition to gaining practical, marketable work experience, each young technician is encouraged to search for full-time work throughout his/her employment with the program.


Volunteers are an essential part of the CFS success story: the Pioneers are a co-founder of the program, and volunteers from telecom companies-including Bell Aliant, Bell Canada, Manitoba Telecom Services, SaskTel and Telus-continue to ensure the program's success across the country.

The motto of the Pioneers is "Answering the call of those in need." Their members provide a broad base of community service programs that inspire over 20 million hours of volunteer time each year.

Volunteers from the Pioneers, as well as a range of volunteers from other organizations and local communities, help to staff workshops, undertake refurbishment activities and arrange deliveries of computers to schools, libraries, not-for-profit learning organizations and Aboriginal communities across the country.


CFS's security policies and standards are based on the Treasury Board of Canada's Operational Security Standard: Management of Information Technology Security (MITS). Each computer donated to CFS is completely refurbished, and the hard drive is wiped clean in accordance with the approved policies and guidelines of the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) for Protected A and B documentation. CFS, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and CSEC worked collaboratively on the development of the disk wiping software used by CFS.

For more information on the CFS program, please visit the CFS home page.

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