Telus announced this morning its Mobility for Good program is now available across Ontario. At a press event this morning at Telus Harbour in Toronto, the wireless carrier and the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada (CAFC) jointly detailed a new smartphone program for youth transitioning out of foster care.
The program will assist up to 7,200 qualified youth in Ontario, offering up a free smartphone and a fully subsidized Telus plan for two years, to let them “stay connected with friends, potential employers and peers, helping to prevent social isolation during a vulnerable stage of their lives as they transition to independent living.”
“For youth transitioning out of care, a smartphone is a lifeline to helping them achieve independence,” says Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, in a statement to iPhone in Canada. “TELUS’ commitment to provide these youth with a life-changing and potentially life-saving connection not only helps to bridge the digital divide in Canada, but it will enable these young people to search for somewhere to live, look for job opportunities and stay in touch with friends and support networks, which is so important when you are living on your own for the first time without the support of a permanent family.”
Transitioning youth will receive a free Telus plan offering unlimited Canada-wide talk and text, plus 3GB of data. Telus says bills will appear in the youth’s name to help build positive credit and also help in the education of managing finances.
The Telus Mobility for Good program first launched last year in B.C., expanded to Quebec earlier this month, and now has reached Ontario. Telus and CAFC noted more provinces across Canada are set to join the Mobility for Good program, later this year.
Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO said in a statement, “Through the expansion of our successful program, TELUS and Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada will ensure thousands more young Canadians begin their independent lives feeling safer, more connected and better prepared for their future and the opportunities and challenges it entails.”
According to Telus and CAFC, there are nearly 2,300 youth as young as 18, annually, which age out of Canada’s child welfare system. With the Telus Made for Good program, it assists youth with support to make the transition to independence easier.
“After transitioning out of foster care at 16, I had to figure out how to live on my own and the one thing that kept me going was being able to stay connected with others through my cellphone,” says Chantal VanLeeuwen, a Mobility for Good recipient. “I now see first-hand as a child protection worker that every youth who transitions out of care faces the challenge of requiring a cellphone and thanks to the Mobility for Good program, they will get a helping hand to connect with the support needed to build their independence.”
Telus has a similar program called Internet for Good in 2016, which offers $9.95 per month internet to low-income and single parent families in BC and Alberta, who receive financial or disability assistance.
More information about the Telus Made for Good program is available here.