Lukawiecki, J., Khan, A., & Bedi, G. (2022). Newcomer families in Canada and the digital divide. Guelph, ON: Community Engaged Scholarship Institute.
This study, in partnership with the Local Immigration Partnership in the Guelph-Wellington area in Southwestern Ontario looks at a number of newcomer services impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on ESL and digital literacy training. The report includes a brief review of academic literature looking at newcomers’ use of technology. It then describes services available throughout the region and describes the challenges as agencies adapted to providing them online.
One of the major conclusions from the report is that there are significant differences in in newcomers’ experience of the digital divide depending on language levels, gender, education, previous employment and/or professional status. It also notes areas where online services eliminated some barriers for newcomers.
The report makes recommendations about how to meet newcomers’ digital needs better through activities like providing them with devices and Wifi connections when needed, improved staff training, enlisting newcomers with language and digital literacy proficiency as “navigators” for others, mobile home services to ready clients for work interviews and frequent communication with clients using a variety of methods.