Rogers Communications today announced it has expanded its phone and plan program to connect more Canadian women and their children with digital lifelines and support to escape violence and abuse. Rogers is tripling its support from last year, by donating thousands of phones and plans to more than 325 women’s shelters and transition houses in Rogers wireless coverage areas during this third wave of the pandemic. As the severity and frequency of domestic violence and demand for safe shelter space continues to rise following initial pandemic lockdowns a year ago, Rogers is expanding its efforts to drive awareness and safe connectivity to support the most vulnerable, including the recently announced network expansion along British Columbia’s Highway of Tears to enable more safe connectivity.   

Last spring, at the start of the pandemic, Rogers launched a national program with Women’s Shelters Canada to provide hundreds of phones and plans to more than 100 shelters and transition houses, in addition to using the reach of its platforms and channels to help increase awareness of the domestic violence crisis. With growing waitlists for women’s shelters and transition houses, frontline crisis workers say these devices will continue to save women’s lives by keeping them safely connected to critical resources, particularly during lockdowns. The phone donation program is provided in collaboration with Motorola and LG.

Access to devices, plans, and network coverage is vitally important, now more than ever. Rogers recently announced it is expanding wireless network coverage, including 5G, in British Columbia to close gaps along two key corridors, including Highway 14 and Highway 16, known as the Highway of Tears. For decades, this highway has been the tragic location of many missing and murdered women, particularly Indigenous women, who were unable to call for help due to coverage gaps. By the time construction of these new towers is complete along Highway 16 late next year, the project will provide more than 250 km of cellular highway coverage between Prince George and Prince Rupert, improving safety for everyone, including women whose lives may depend on being able to make an emergency call.

As part of its efforts to ensure access to connectivity, Rogers also recently announced an expansion of its low-cost high-speed Internet program Connected for Success to hundreds of thousands of Canadians in its Internet coverage area in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Those receiving income or disability support, the maximum childcare benefit, residents of RGI housing or seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement are eligible for the program. The Rogers team is excited about future plans in Western Canada, including the opportunity to expand Connected for Success nationally to all communities where the company offers Internet service.

Quotes:

“Isolation and the economic impacts of the pandemic have led to an increase in violence and abuse across the country and too many Canadian women are facing this dual storm.  Rogers is proud to partner with Women’s Shelters Canada to provide phones and plans as digital lifelines to women in crisis, while we continue investing in expanding our networks to improve safety by closing critical communication gaps across the nation.”- Sevaun Palvetzian, Chief Communications Officer and lead for corporate responsibility at Rogers

“Women’s shelters and transition houses across the country – and the women and children they serve – will greatly benefit from Rogers’ expanded programs. We’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated both the violence women and children face and the financial difficulties of the shelters that support them. This program directly enables women to safely stay in touch with loved ones, apply for jobs, and access counselling and other resources, all of which helps them - and their children - to live lives free from violence.”- Lise Martin, Executive Director, Women’s Shelters Canada

"As we enter a third wave of the pandemic, many Indigenous women living in remote communities are facing increased challenges in escaping violence and abuse. Providing these women with a new phone when they arrive at our shelters will prove to be a valuable tool in keeping them safely connected to family and friends, as well as vital services. Rogers' expanded "digital lifeline" program and planned network expansion are sure to benefit many Indigenous women and children seeking refuge in our shelters."- Sheila Swasson, President, National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence

Video:

Bally Basi is the Community, Social and Justice Programs Manager for the Prince George and District Elizabeth Fry Society. She shares her powerful story in this video about the impact of safe connectivity for women escaping violence and abuse.

About RogersRogers is a proud Canadian company dedicated to making more possible for Canadians each and every day. Our founder, Ted Rogers, purchased his first radio station, CHFI, in 1960. We have grown to become a leading technology and media company that strives to provide the very best in wireless, residential, sports, and media to Canadians and Canadian businesses. Our shares are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI). If you want to find out more about us, visit about.rogers.com.

For more information:Rogers Communications, media@rci.rogers.com, 1-844-226-1338