Debates of the Senate  
  1st Session, 39th Parliament,Volume 143, Issue 40.
    Wednesday, October 25, 2006
 
Computers for Schools
  Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, last week I had the pleasure of hosting a reception for MPs and senators to meet the regional partners involved in the Computers for Schools program. This program was co-founded in 1993 by Industry Canada and the Telecom Pioneers, the largest industry-related volunteer organization in the world.

Computers for Schools is a national, federal government-led program that operates in cooperation with the provinces and territories and the private and volunteer sectors. This program collects, repairs and refurbishes surplus computers donated by government and private sector sources. The refurbished computers are distributed to schools, libraries and not-for-profit learning organizations throughout Canada.

CFS is a major provider of computers to schools. One in every four school-based computers comes from Computers for Schools. Computers for Schools leverages $4 for every $1 invested by the federal government. Let me repeat that: It leverages $4 for every federal dollar.

Computers for Schools is helping to bridge the gap in rural, northern and remote communities. Close to 40 per cent of its computers are allocated to rural communities. It is an important and effective solution for the re-use and recycling of electronic equipment. It has diverted over 7,000 tonnes of potentially harmful electronic waste from Canadian landfills. Without Computers for Schools, the Canadian government would be spending millions of dollars to ethically dispose of its electronic waste. CFS provides more than 110,000 computers each year to its clients and has produced more than 750,000 computers since its inception in 1993. Approximately 1,000 youth are provided with hands-on work experience in Computers for Schools workshops each year. This work experience in CFS workshops, over 200,000 hours annually, helps young Canadians succeed in their chosen careers in information technology.

Computers for Schools is a strong supporter of social integration for disadvantaged youth. Eight CFS workshops have been dedicated to the training of Aboriginal youth in computer refurbishing and job skills. Two are integrated into high schools, and two are located within federal penitentiaries, as part of rehabilitation programs for inmates. The Computers for Schools program has won many national and international awards.

Honourable senators, Computers for Schools is a world leader in computer refurbishing programs. I trust, therefore, that honourable senators will agree with me that the Computers for Schools program should continue to be funded, as not only is it a financially wise investment, it is a much needed investment in the future employment and computer literacy of our youth.