Events News

VCN closed Friday, April 2nd and Monday, April 5th

VCN will be closed on Friday, April 2nd and Monday, April 5th. We will open on Tuesday, April 6th at 10am for support by email and phone.

Feel free to leave a detailed message at 778-724-0826 and someone will call you back.

Events News

Success Story: Patrick Clark

For close to 20 years, Patrick Clark has stayed connected to the VCN network and has been meaningfully giving his time in different capacities – as a help|desk volunteer, board member, and digital rights advocate to name a few.

Patrick’s invaluable work and enthusiasm continues to inspire the VCN team to better serve our community. We interviewed Patrick and asked him to share what his involvement with VCN has meant to him.

DSC00810Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 3.06.29 PM

How did you become involved with VCN?

Originally, many years ago when the organization was only about four months old I was invited to an introductory get-together and was immediately drawn in by the sincere desire to provide an insurer Internet access and education to the whole community regardless of an individual’s income or position in life.  The founders of VCN had seen the writing on the wall in regards to commercial [high cost] Internet in Canada and wanted to make sure that the voices of modest or zero income people were not left out.  I immediately then began a year-long term on the board of VCN.

What are your role(s) at VCN?

Two roles officially:

1. Volunteer and;
2. Board member, and now that I think about it, there is a third role, albeit unofficial perhaps,
3. Total Hard-Core VCN Fan And Supporter. I see good things coming from VCN and I sure do let people know about it whenever the opportunity sincerely arises.

How has being a part of VCN’s network impacted your professional work?

In the year and a half I’ve been involved with the office crew and manning the help line I have learned, and been exposed to, more information and opportunities than I could ever hope to have achieved on my own.  I learned a completely new content management system “WordPress” for quickly designing web pages.  I have been able to explore various Linux operating systems, and work on a wide variety of computers both old and new.  Most importantly, because everyone at VCN is so supportive the knowledge has been free-flowing. There is no hoarding of information.  If you have a question, you get a collaborative answer. It really is the best way to work.  Not only that, there is a real sense of community that encourages questions and discussion.  In short this has been a massive boost to my knowledge base, which has resulted in several contract jobs.  A critical point is also that volunteering at VCN is real world experience, because ultimately we are there to serve and support all the people who use the organization’s Internet network and services.

How has working at VCN influenced you personally?

I have been involved with a great number of nonprofit and advocacy organizations over the years. I was becoming a little jaded because, through no fault of their own, many groups succumb to “power positioning” and hierarchical structures, ultimately focused on maintaining the status quo. Once this happens the environment becomes very stale and subtly unhealthy. VCN has done the exact opposite. Collectively they have managed to inspire, not only the community at large, but everyone who works or is involved on regular basis. There is a real sense of sincerity in everything they undertake. It is the true cooperative adventure with a real community and spirit.

What have you taken away from your experience with VCN?

Aside from everything mentioned thus far, one of the things I have been inspired to get back into is actually building electronics. I don’t think that would have had the “nerve” to even consider such a project before my exposure to the technical aspects via VCN.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

What makes VCN rock, and indeed makes them unique among many organizations is that there is a sincere cooperative spirit to everything that is undertaken. Ego does not live with this group. I think perhaps all the core people are “kindhearted radicals” who have each had to fight battles and that has given them a real understanding of community spirit in the truest sense. In short, the VCN module might be summed up as: “How can ‘We’ make this work?” Truly inspiring–is it any wonder I love VCN!

Events News

2016 January Newsletter



Ada has been an active volunteer with VCN on and off the past 5 years. She worked with us while she advanced her knowledge in nursing and technology. Ada felt that professionally, she needed to keep up-to-date, keep her computer free from viruses and know where to purchase computer hardware at an affordable price.

VCN helped Ada by enhancing her basic technical knowledge in computer hardware and software to the point that she was able to take on a volunteer role, answering basic computer inquires, teaching others about the use of computers, and ultimately to design and create her own professional webpage.

When asked “Why volunteer for VCN’? She says: ‘VCN has the right resources and helps many individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations across Metro Vancouver, and does so in a charitable way. VCN requires some core staff, volunteers, generous donors, and grants to keep its charitable services up and running. I’m thankful to VCN for helping me save my computer from the recycle bin a few times!’

Read Ada’s full story here:


WordPress is one of the most popular and user-friendly website building tools today.

Regular maintenance of sites developed with WordPress is essential for stability and to remain free of security challenges. Keeping your website up-to-date with the current releases are key in preventing your website from vulnerabilities.

In recent months, VCN’s web|team has been busy restoring sites that have been hijacked by unfriendly code, or in situations where the original code contributor no longer updates their plugin or theme. It can then fail to have the site operate the way it was designed to. It’s vital that maintenance takes place as it can be very stressful to restore it once it is down.

VCN’s web|team does this work for smaller sites on our servers but larger sites really need more support. We provide these services at an affordable rate. Contact the VCN web|team for a quote:


The tax season is once again upon us. VCN will be issuing 2015 electronic tax returns starting in February. If you sent in a donation prior to January 1, 2016 expect a pdf in your email’s in bin soon! For contributions made to VCN through the CanadaHelps website, please check junk/spam folders for tax receipts.

Hard copy tax receipts are available upon request at [email protected].


On January 11th TELUS Vancouver Community Board and Covenant House Board Member Allan Seckell presented VCN Executive Director Tracey Axelsson with a cheque for $10,000 for the development of the Street Messaging System.

VCN will work to improve the architecture of the Street Message System to include new features. Funds will be used to further revamp the site to serve the needs of the community.

TELUS’ Grant Program focuses on supporting local initiatives working to positively impact local communities.


VCN’s vision to ‘bridge the digital divide’ has never been more essential. Our work began with offer local people a public amenity for each to freely access what is now the single most important economic instrument of our time – the Internet. It’s a fabulous success story!

But any bridge builder knows the work more precarious as it gets closer to the final gap. VCN knows this and works with low income and marginalized people every day who are in real danger of being left behind.

As VCN approaches its 23rd year of operation, help to keep VCN’s open and inclusive program going by keeping your membership dues paid, and donating what you can – including your time!

Please give:

Events News

2015 December Newsletter



As Canada welcomes 25,000 Syrian refugees across Canada by the end of March 2016, at the community level Canadians are rallying to provide immediate, essential services, and long-term settlement support new refugees.

Here at VCN, we are fully committed to ensuring a safe haven, successful settlement, and integration of Syrian refugees into Canadian society.

Currently offering service in seven different languages, VCN is seeking fluent Arabic & more Farsi speaking volunteers to join the team! Volunteers will offer technical support for refugees who are looking to build skills as well as helping connect refugees to much-need information and telecommunications technology to help thrive in their daily lives.

If you would like to get involved, please look at our website for more details



This holiday season, starting on December 21st to January 1st, VCN will be reducing help|desk hours and limiting technical support. VCN help|desk hours are as follows:

Thursday, December 24th                 10am – 2pm
Friday, December 25th                           Closed
Thursday, December 31st                  10am – 2pm
Friday, January 1st                              Closed

Hours will resume as normal on Monday, January 4th, 2016. Season’s tidings and happy holidays to you and your loved ones!


This year for Canada Helps’ annual Giving Tuesday Campaign plus donations from members of the community, VCN raised close to $2,000 in just 36 hours!

VCN is grateful for the outpour of support to sustain our work towards social justice and vital programs aimed at increasing digital inclusion of our most vulnerable and marginalized communities, including seniors, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, and the street-involved.

Thank you to Canada Help and their partners INTERAC and PayPal for matching donors’ contributions.

The online matching campaign will last until 31st December 2015. For this holiday season, make your donation go further by donating with your PayPal account or through the Canada Helps website:



VCN’s own Tracey Axelsson was featured in a new book So It Is: Vancouver created by Adam and Kev Photography.

The book tells the story of our city through remarkable people who live in Vancouver today.

Other notable names include Judy Graves, David Suzuki, Rick Hansen, Marc and Jody Emery, and the Boom Booms.

For a copy, visit their website:

Events News

2015 November Newsletter


With funds awarded by TELUS to advance the architecture of the Street Messaging platform, recoding of the website is well underway! Our mighty team is hard at work to incorporate feedback and features suggested by community workers and clients to improve the system.

Follow the project’s new twitter account @SMS_VCN for the latest news and updates!


Do you ever notice after perusing or purchasing an item online, pop up ads touting similar products would appear on Google or Facebook?

In this day in age, data mining plays a large and increasing role in market and consumer analysis. Data mining occurs when computers, high-level algorithms, cluster-analysis sift through and collect data to elicit patterns, relationships, future behaviours, and trends.

There are many positive purposes of data mining, with collected information used to improve healthcare, weather forecasting, and transportation. Companies are able to determine the future behaviour of customers, allowing companies to target their marketing strategies and provide the products people want.

While the benefits are many, data mining is often an opportunity for misuse. Some companies have been aggressive in data collection, with contention stemming from what is done with the information once collected.

Canadian privacy law requires companies and organizations to obtain consent for the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. Data processing poses risks when the data is used in ways that was unintended or unethically.

It is VCN’s policy not to collect data and to protect the privacy and information of all registered users. All client information is kept confidential and secure, unless VCN is legally obligated to release the information.



VCN has a monthly bill of $1100 to for our Internet Service Provision. The servers there host hundreds of organization’s websites that without us would fail to truly have the web presence they need to keep diverse messaging available in a commercialized realm. 

Support VCN’s work by donating here:



PM Trudeau and the Liberal Party have dissolved Industry Canada and consolidated federal efforts to foster science and technology innovation, appointing Ontario MP Navdeep Bains as Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

Industry Canada, which has administered VCN’s Youth Internship Program since 2009, could not confirm whether the department would continue to exist in its current form. Analysts say that the move will result in an advancement of federal research and development in Canada.

Since ushering in the new Liberal Party, the government has pledged to invest $900 million in Canada’s burgeoning tech community with a significant amount of funds earmarked towards small tech start-ups in various regions of the country.

Writer Ivan Semeniuk for the Globe and Mail writes, “With virtually all areas of industry under rapid transformation because of digital technologies such as data mining and additive manufacturing (3D printing), a revamped federal ministry could help spur innovation culture in Canada.”



On January 18-19, 2015, BC Council for Innovation will be holding a two-day #BCTECH Summit aimed at showcasing BC’s flourishing and dynamic technology industry. The event will offer cross-sector networking opportunities to exchange ideas aimed at reshaping how the industry does business.

Entrepreneurs, investors, industry buyers, researchers, students and government officials will be in attendance, and participants will exchange fresh ideas.

To register and for more information, visit their website


Events News

2015 October Newsletter


During this year’s Homelessness Action Week, October 12th to 19th, VCN accessed funding from the City of Vancouver to host a series of face-to-face consultations with leading professionals in the sector and residents of DTES Vancouver to share input on the Street Messaging System.

As the system continues to develop and moves from the beta-phase, it is critical to address the challenges faced by outreach workers, gather front-line experience, and seek ways to improve it. In attendance were representatives from Lu’ma, Greater Family Services of Vancouver, Pacific Community Resources, Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre, Carnegie Community Centre, Mission Possible, and H.A.V.E. Café.

Discussions from the meetings affirm a strong community support for the SMS and some really intuitive changes we will work hard to implement. We are please to announce that TELUS has granted VCN funds to code the expansion of the innovation across Metro Vancouver!


*Alternate name used.

As with many youth in the foster care system, Eagle Little Boy* experienced trauma, hardships, and obstacles during his childhood, which led to a dark past that involved “gang-life”, substance abuse, and crime to survive on the streets.

With the help of community supports like VCN, Eagle Little Boy has left all that behind him. Through Homeless Advocate Judy Graves, for the past several months Eagle Little Boy has been consistently dropping by the second floor of the Woodward’s building to access VCN’s computer terminals and help|desk.

In this safe space, Eagle Little Boy receives the help he needs to maintain and build relationships with family and friends. VCN staff and volunteers offer Eagle Little Boy technical as well as emotional support to help him thrive day-to-day. Eagle Little Boy has expressed that access to VCN’s services and computers have been influential to his recovery.

Click on this link to read his full story:



On October 8th, VCN staff and volunteers attended the 2015 iTech Conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The conference, organized by IT professionals for IT professionals, brought together people working in the field to share key lessons in the industry.

Breakout and Vendor Sessions included data centre, cloud,and Windows 10 information. VCN staff and volunteer learned about emerging technical trends that will help VCN improve its hosting services.



VCN attended the Tech4Good forum at the Innovation Hub on Wednesday, October 28 for an inspiring evening of engagement, innovation, and shared expertise for creating change.

The panel featured Renee Black (PeaceGeeks), Mike Simpson (BC Council for International Cooperation), Mack Hardy (Affinity Bridge), and Britt Neale (Appnovation).

Panelists discussed specific projects that local tech shops are already engaging with on human rights, the refugee crisis and gender-based violence. Conversations explored the ways in which Vancouver can become a recognized leader in tech for good through collaborations with the local tech community.



VCN Staff and Board have been working hard to grow and position the organization to continue to fulfill the roles and responsibilities VCN has come to hold and mission. As funding for social programs become hotly vied for short term projects and as donations become harder to rely on we need to attract more and new tech|team and web|team clients. The work that these teams do not only contributes to more sustainable VCN operations, it allows for individuals, organizations and businesses to access really great work at reasonable rates. The enterprise efforts are still driven by a community-good motive.



Are you in need of temporary laptop to get you by? Look no further!

VCN is leasing laptops for $25/year plus tax. The laptop will have a dual core CPU, 2GB RAM, 80GB hard drive and a 15.4″ screen. Windows 7 is installed. Supply is flying and limited. Call 778-724-0826 for more information or fill out the form at

Note: Setup is not included. Ask for a quote for setup, backup, and any other additional services.



VCN has a monthly bill of $1100 to for our Internet Service Provision. The servers there host hundreds of organization’s websites that without us would fail to truly have the web presence they need to keep diverse messaging available in a commercialized realm. VCN appreciates any amount, big or small, to help us continue our work in the community:



  1. Go to Settings application and Click Mail, Contact, Calendar menu.
  2. Select Add Account…
  3. Select Other
  4. Select Add account and write your information (Name, Email, Password)
  5. Select Next and Type information below : You don’t need to input Port number Or Security type unless there are menus
    POP/IMAP server  :
    Mailbox type : IMAP (could be IMAP4)Security type : TLS
    Port number : 143

NOTE: If you wish to use Telus or Shaw as your internet provider, please go to your provider’s website and follow their Outgoing Server settings.

When you use VCN outgoing server (Using the Outgoing Mail Server ‘’ first requires registering for access HERE)

    1. Server Name:
    2. Port: 587
    3. Connection security: STARTTLS
    4. Authentication method: Normal password
    5. User Name: Your VCN email address without

Events News

2015 September Newsletter




Thanks to a grant awarded to The Vancouver Community Network (VCN) from the City of Vancouver, we will be hosting ‘Snack and Chat’ sessions on the Street Messaging System (SMS) from October 12 – 15th.

These sessions will be an opportunity to further communications and outreach in the sector through sharing lessons learned from the beta-testing and feasibility study conducted with the SMS since its launch in September 2014.

We believe sharing input with leading professionals in the service field will help to overcome challenges faced by outreach workers. We will also share front-line experiences and develop ways to improve the SMS.

If you are a social service provider and would like to participate in the event, please contact us for more details at [email protected].



Telus has awarded VCN funds to code the Street Messaging System platform! Telus will work with VCN to make the free and easy messaging system available across Metro Vancouver.

The Telus Community Giving Grant funds projects with the goal of improving the lives of youth and their communities through the power of technology.

The system is quickly moving from the beta-phase to potentially global impact: a vision both the City of Vancouver and Telus share.



The Street Messaging System (SMS) delivers vital information via text messaging to your mobile about missing persons, food services, emergency shelter availability, health and wellness alerts, job and training opportunities.

VCN has created a new way to register. Simply text 778-819-6826, enter year of birth and gender. SMS is an efficient way to connect those who are street-involved and disadvantaged to services they need most. After this, you will receive texts that are 140 characters or less straight to your mobile. If you enter your e-mail address, you will receive these alerts to your e-mail account.



VCN is leasing laptops for $25/year plus tax. The laptop will have a dual core CPU, 2GB RAM, 80GB hard drive and a 15.4″ screen. Windows 7 is installed. Supply is limited.

Please note that setup is not included. Ask for a quote for setup, backup, and any other additional services. Call 778-724-0826 for more information or fill out the form at



VCN attended Vancouver’s Startup Week held from September 21 – September 27, 2015. Startup week offered an array of workshops with opportunities to learn the skills, resources and knowledge to overcome difficult obstacles within Vancouver’s tech sector.

The event was an opportunity for VCN to connect with entrepreneurs, international investors, corporate partners, some of Vancouver’s hottest tech companies and techies to share their stories, what they’ve learned from their business or project, and their successes or failures. BC’s newest companies competed for cash and other prizes from BC Innovation Council – New Ventures Competition.



VCN focuses our efforts on youth, the disadvantaged in the Downtown Eastside, and seniors, pushing for digital inclusion and social justice. VCN appreciates any donation amount, big or small, to help us continue our work in the community:



For the 2015 Federal Election, Open Media launched a campaign to create a participatory process and empower the voices of everyday internet users to advance Canada’s digital future.

The platform’s key digital rights’ pillars include privacy, access, and free expression. The campaign aims to form a crowdsourced plan called “Canada’s Digital Future Platform.”

The organization writes:

“This election let’s not do politics as usual – let’s reimagine our democracy and create a more policy-centric rather than partisan party-centric electoral system.”

Sign the Digital Future Pledge at and visit their website at for updates on party platforms regarding digital policies!



With the federal election approaching on 19th October 2015, it is important now more than ever to recognize the privacy rights of the Canadian people, and strong accountability and oversight for surveillance practices.

Bill C-51 is the Conservatives’ anti-terror legislation granting greater powers to police authority in order to protect Canada from terrorists. Concerns about this bill include loss of privacy, limitations to freedom of expression and a lack of sufficient oversight, which could lead to unlawful measures.

In June 2015, the Senate passed Bill-51 by 44-28, despite massive opposition from hundreds of thousands of Canadians and the country’s top privacy experts. The NDP voted against Bill C-51 while the Liberal party supported it; however, Justin Trudeau stated that he would fix the flaws if the Liberals win the coming election.

For more information on BILL C-51 and how you can add your voice to the growing campaign to repeal Bill C-51, visit:



Ever since Canada’s federal government stopped investing in affordable housing, the problem of homelessness has been getting worse. The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness/The Homeless Hub states that, “…over 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year.” In a prosperous country with a strong commitment to social justice, the existence of homelessness, poverty, and hardship is unacceptable.

According to The Homeless Hub, if the federal government invests $106.00 per Canadian annually, which works out to $0.88 per person weekly, we will see an end to chronic homelessness and will be able help others on the verge of becoming homeless.

The Homeless Hub has posted the Housing and Homelessness Election Guide 2015. This guide sets out recommendations on ending homelessness and presents each party’s platform on how it meets (or doesn’t meet) these recommendations.



Spamcop can be used with any email system, however VCN squirrel mail is set up to report spam to them as described below

  1. Click on “sign up page” or go to to register for a SpamCop account.
  2. Read the rules for using SpamCop. Abusing SpamCop will permanently block you from their service.
  3. Wait for an email titled “SpamCop authorization” to find your SpamCop username and password.
  4. Login at
  5. Look for the line “Forward your spam to: [email protected] or”.
  6. Copy or write down the AUTHORIZATION_CODE that is between “submit.” and “”. AUTHORIZATION_CODE is filler. It will be a letter and number combination that is unique to your account.
  7. Go to “Options” at the top on Squirrelmail/webmail.
  8. Click on “SpamCop – Spam Reporting”.
  9. Change “Spam Reporting Method” to “Thorough email-based reporting”.
  10. Click on the “Save Method” button.
  11. Enter your authorization code from step 5
  12. Click on the “Save ID” button.
  13. It should now say “SpamCop link is: Enabled” at the top. If it is Disabled click on “Enable it”.
  14. If you want reported emails to be deleted click on “Enable it” for “Delete spam when reported”.
  15. When you read an email there should now be a link named “Report as Spam to SpamCop”. Click on this link to report SPAM.
  16. Click on “Send Spam Report” to send the report.
  17. The “SpamCop AutoResponder” will email you back once it analyzes the email
  18. The email will have the subject “[SpamCop] has accepted N email for processing”.
  19. Click on the link after “Use links to finish spam reporting (members use cookie-login please!):”
  20. Click on “Preview Reports” to see what will SpamCop send out.
  21. Click on “Send Spam Report(s) Now” to send the reports.


Outlook 2002

  1. Go to “Tools”
  2. Click on “Rules Wizard”
  3. Under “Apply change to this folder:” select your VCN email
  4. Click on “New…”
  5. Select “Start from blank rule”
  6. Select “Check message when they arrive”
  7. Press “Next”
  8. Check off “with specific words in the subject”
  9. At the bottom click on “specific words” that’s underlined
  10. Under “Specify words or phrases to search for in the subject:” type “[SPAM]” without quotes
  11. Click “Add”
  12. Click “Ok”
  13. Click “Next”
  14. To move SPAM to a SPAM folder
    • Check off “move it to the specified folder”
    • At the bottom click on “specified”
    • Select the folder you want to move the SPAM to. If you don’t have a SPAM folder, click on “New…”
    • Under “Name:” type “SPAM” without quotes.
    • Click “OK”
    • Make sure the current folder is selected and click “OK” again
  15. Optional: To delete SPAM
    • Check off “delete it”
  16. Click “Next”
  17. Click “Next” again if you don’t want exceptions
  18. Under “Please specify a name for this rule:” type “SPAM” without quotes
  19. If you already have SPAM in your inbox, check “Run this rule now on messages already in “Inbox”
  20. Make sure “Turn on this rule” is checked
  21. Review the rule and click “Finish” when you’re done
  22. Click “OK”