COVID19 has revealed deep inequalities in access to technologies among Canadians. 34% of Canadians earning under $30,000 a year do not have a home Internet connection, and many others rely upon public Wi-Fi and cell phones to access essential services and information. This situation opened up significant challenges for language and settlement organizations to maintain contact with their constituents, ensure their well being and safety, and to re-start language and other services online. Dr. Suzanne Smythe and Dr. Amea Wilbur interviewed over 25 language and settlement workers during the important time.
In this interactive session from October 5, 2020 blending dialogue and questions with participants, Dr. Smythe, Dr. Wilbur and guest speaker Marcela Mancilla-Fuller presented key themes from the conversations and insights from related research among newcomer communities during COVID times:
- What improvisations and innovations did settlement and outreach workers adopt to reach out to newcomer communities?
- What have been the successes and surprises bringing learning and services online?
- What new pedagogical and social inclusion challenges persist?
- Who continues to be excluded from these learning opportunities and what are the implications of this for equity and justice among low income and racialized communities?