Industry Canada’s Community Access Program (CAP) gives thousands of Canadians free access to the Internet in places like schools, community centres and libraries. The aim of the program is to provide effective access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), such as the Internet and even basic computer access, to those who otherwise face barriers to access.

In Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, VCN hosts the program that awards CAP funding between 102 Non-Profits. VCN also administers the Youth Initiative Program (YIP) which provides employment opportunities and work experience in order to facilitate Canadian Youth in their transition into the labor market. Twice a year, Youth Interns are trained and placed in different CAP sites to assist the computer labs and offer the organizations support. The program also supports a small Tech Team to support these CAP locations providing technical support.

The strength of CAP and YIP is in their provision of computer training, support, and resources to help community members to develop the skill set necessary utilizing ICTs and to provide assistance in navigating government websites and electronic forms effectively.

According to Statistics Canada, the following groups are in highest need of services offered by CAP: Aboriginals, older Canadians, Canadians with low income or low education, Francophone, new immigrants, and people in rural areas. Therefore, the focus is primarily to assist in ‘Bridging the Digital Divide’.

In the 2009-2010 CAP year the successes of CAP and the YIP interns were documented in the YIP online magazine.

Check out all the CAP sites in your community.