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.
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.
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.
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
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.