Accumulative barriers that limit opportunities

Not having affordable access or any access to high-speed, unlimited and reliable internet means people must face accumulative barriers that limit their opportunities to learn, acquire additional digital knowledge and skills and fully participate in digital environments. Those with limited digital access

Time spent online is curtailed since it requires planning, effort and careful calculation of costs. For those privileged enough to pay for high-speed, seamless access across multiple devices, it’s difficult to imagine the frustrations and stress of not having this access. We created data-informed informational graphics to tell this story. 


Understanding the challenges with limited access

As part of our report on the digital divide we developed a day-in-the-life scenario to help people recognize the effort and challenges involved in accessing the digital services and technology many of us take for granted. The poster is a great way to introduce the topic with partners who might not be aware of the daily challenges many learners face.

Share this poster! You're welcome to copy and share this poster as part of your digital inclusion efforts. When you open it in a new tab you'll see options to download, print and share.

Mini-infographic comparing limited and seamless access

Share this graphic! You're welcome to use the graphic as part of your own digital inclusion efforts.

Get the graphic

Digital exclusion is also socio-economic and civic exclusion 

Public access is not a means to digital inclusion and digital literacy. At best, it is a stopgap. Worse—as demonstrated during the pandemic when public access became unpredictableit is debilitating. Limited online engagement also means people have fewer opportunities to develop their digital repertoires. Digital usage and activity barriers fueled by a lack of affordability accumulate, preventing people from accessing vital services and fully participating in social, economic, learning and civic online spaces. Voices are not heard, benefits are not realized and new inequities compound as businesses, services and supports shift rapidly to online-only and online-first interaction and transaction. 

Already marginalized people and communities are further marginalized without having access to all elements of digital inclusion. Technology can indeed promote socio-economic mobility but without full inclusion, it can also further stratify. Once people are online they can encounter spaces, communities and content most often designed, maintained and operated by people who don't reflect the perspectives, interests and concerns of the majority of its users, including speakers of different languages. An initiative called Whose Knowledge is trying to change that by working with under-represented groups, including women, racialized groups, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQI communities and others from the Global South to represent multiple perspectives and knowledge. 

Ensuring inclusion and equity

In Ontario and across Canada, the following organizations are dedicated to full inclusion and equitable representation in digital spaces and digital careers: