Google Canada commits $2.7 million to online safety & digital skills training for Indigenous communities

Toronto, ON – Today, Google Canada is announcing $2.7 million in Google.org grants to empower Canadians to stay safe online and to build more inclusive economic opportunities for Indigenous communities in Canada. Alongside today’s news, research from Public First was released revealing Google’s impact on the Canadian economy.

To help close the significant skills and education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in Canada, ComIT will receive a Google.org grant of over $1.3 million to continue their work to reskill Indigenous job seekers for new careers in technology. ComIT's Recoding Futures program was created in 2020 with the support of Google.org to provide IT training to Indigenous learners across Canada. The program runs virtually and covers topics like Design Thinking, HTML, CSS, Javascript .NET, Python, React and Node.

"ComIT is thrilled to receive continued support from Google to bring free technology training to Indigenous students across Canada, and increase Indigenous representation in the Canadian tech sector,” said Pablo Listingart, Executive Director, ComIT. “Since announcing the Recoding Futures program in 2020, over 1,600 Indigenous students have registered for the program, with over 800 students having completed or currently enrolled.”

Google is also announcing new grants from Google.org to support online safety and efforts to combat disinformation among underserved communities. According to research, Canadians under 25 years old spend an average of 7 hours online every day and 42% of Canadians experienced at least one cyber security incident during the pandemic, which has highlighted an increase in cyber threat actors and complexity for Canadians. Actua will receive a Google.org grant of over $670K to expand its Engage. Empower. Connect project that empowers youth from vulnerable groups with the skills, awareness and confidence to be cyber smart.

"We are incredibly grateful for Google.org's grant towards our cyber smart project that empowers youth to explore, create and connect safely online," says Jennifer Flanagan, CEO, Actua. "With the rapid acceleration in digital transformation, young people in Canada are online now more than ever. Google's commitment will help us equip diverse youth populations with the skills and confidence to critically assess online interactions, avert online threats, and safely use technology and participate in its design."

To help improve digital media literacy in Canada, MediaSmarts will receive a Google.org grant of over $670K to develop and implement a National Digital Media Literacy Education Training Program focused on supporting underrepresented communities. The program aims to help Canadians employ critical thinking skills when they use, create, and engage with content online.

“Thanks to this grant from Google.org, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to provide digital media literacy education for people across the country. We are excited to work with community partners to help give more people the opportunity to engage online as active and informed digital citizens” says Kathryn Ann Hill, Executive Director of MediaSmarts

Independent consultancy, Public First also released new research about Google's impact on the Canadian economy today. Public First estimates that in 2021, Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Google Cloud and Google Advertising tools helped provide $37B of economic activity for Canadian businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers. That’s the equivalent of about 1.5% of Canada’s GDP, more than forestry and aviation combined.

“Google Canada’s 2021 Economic Impact Report represents a digital tipping point for Canada and demonstrates the value and opportunity a digital presence brings to Canadian creators and businesses across this country,” says Sabrina Geremia, VP & Country Manager, Google Canada. “As the digital economy expands, we’re also continuing to commit to Canada’s future, including digital skills development, supporting online safety, and combatting disinformation.”

Key report findings:

In 2021, Google helped drive over 235M direct connections monthly, including phone calls, requests for directions, messages, bookings and reviews for Canadian businesses.

In 2021, more than 1.9 million Canadian businesses and sole traders received phone calls, requests for directions, messages, bookings, reviews and other direct connections to their customers from Google.

Public First estimates that in 2021, Google Search and Ads are supporting $1.7 billion in exports for the Canadian economy.

The report also looks at how Google’s products and services have helped Canadians find authoritative information, improve productivity, keep learning and find jobs. Full report can be found here.

About Google Canada

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a global technology leader, Google's innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world. Google Canada has offices in Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa with employees working on teams across Engineering, AI Research, Sales and Marketing.

About Google.org

Google’s philanthropy brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges combining funding, product donations, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone. We engage nonprofits and social enterprises who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a better world, faster — and we believe in supporting organizations leveraging technology and applying scalable data-driven innovation to move the needle.

About ComIT

ComIT is a registered charity that provides free training and professional development opportunities in information technology. Their courses are taught by IT professionals working at leading companies, with a curated curriculum built to ensure graduates are equipped to meet the needs of the immediate labor market. ComIT believes that the democratization of education and opportunity is Canada's path forward. Applications are now open for ComIT's Recoding Futures program. Interested applicants can visit ComIT.org to register.

About Actua

Actua is Canada’s largest science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) youth outreach organization representing over 40 university and college-based members. Each year, Actua’s growing network of member organizations engages over 350,000 young people in 500 communities nationwide in transformative STEM learning experiences that build critical skills and confidence. Actua focuses on engaging underrepresented youth through specialized programs for Indigenous youth, girls and young women, at-risk youth, and youth living in Northern and remote communities. Its major funding partners include the Government of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, RBC Foundation, the Suncor Energy Foundation, Protein Industries Canada, TD Bank Group, Toyota Canada Foundation, Enbridge, Microsoft Canada, NCR Foundation and Imperial. For more information about Actua, visit actua.ca.

About MediaSmarts

MediaSmarts, a registered Canadian charity, is Canada’s centre for digital media literacy. Their vision is that all Canadians have the critical thinking skills to engage with digital media as active and informed digital citizens.

About Public First

Public First is a global strategic consultancy that works to help organizations better understand public opinion, analyse economic trends and craft new policy proposals.

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