Community Access Program

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The Community Access Program (CAP, also seen as C@P) is an initiative of the Government of Canada which aims to provide Canadians with affordable public access to the Internet and the skills they need to use it effectively. The program is administered by Industry Canada as part of their youth initiative.[1]

History of CAP[edit]

In 1994 the Community Access Program began. Initially, Industry Canada focused on rural communities, where Internet access was less available. Once the rural communities were equipped with computers and Internet access, Industry Canada focused on what is referred to as the “Digital Divide.” According to Statistics Canada 2001, the following groups are in highest need of services offered by CAP: Aboriginals, older Canadians, Canadians with low income or low education, francophone, new immigrants, and people in rural areas. Therefore, the focus is primarily to assist in 'Bridging the Digital Divide'.

CAP Sites in urban areas were then opened to help reach these people. The program plays a crucial role in bridging the Digital Divide; contributing to the foundation for electronic access to government services; encouraging online learning and literacy; fostering the development of community based infrastructure; promoting Canadian e-commerce; and providing training with Assistive Technology. In order to make better use of the computers and equipment funded by CAP, Industry Canada also initiated the Community Access Program - Youth Initiative (CAP YI). CAP Sites could apply for funding to hire Youth Interns to come and work in their CAP Sites to train the public in computer and Internet use and technology.

The CAP program was terminated on March 31, 2012 as funding for the program was not renewed. Industry Canada stated that the program had reached its objective, and cited challenging fiscal times. Some provinces have maintained their program thanks to large financial contributions from the provincial government, municipalities and libraries. [2] [3] The CAP YI (Youth Initiative) program continues to receive funding. [4]

CAP Logo
Industry Canada Logo

CAP YI[edit]

The Community Access Program (CAP) Youth Initiative (YI) is coordinated by Industry Canada's Community Access Program and is funded through the Youth Employment Strategy (YES) of Canada which is overseen by Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). CAP's youth initiative aims to provide employment opportunities for young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30 - primarily students, recent graduates, or the under-employed or unemployed.

CAP YI participates help individuals, community organizations and small businesses improve their knowledge and effective use of the Internet and related information technologies through computer training. CAP YI is:

  • To support the sustainability and long term viability of CAP Sites by providing work experience for young Canadians in CAP Sites across Canada;
  • To increase the use of information and communications technology (ICT) across Canada to promote economic and social development at the community level; and
  • To allow young people to gain valuable skills related to ICT thereby positioning them for longer-term employment


Industry Canada's Community Access Program (CAP) gives thousands of Canadians affordable access to the Internet. CAP sites are located in public locations such as schools, community centers, and libraries. They may provide access in locations that are geographically remote (e.g. on parts of Cape Breton Island[5]) or serve populations subject to the digital divide.[6] Sites are established and maintained by community networks, generally in partnership with Municipal and Provincial Governments. There are CAP sites located in all of the provinces and territories of Canada.[7]

Ontario C@P[edit]

In Ontario the CAP program is divided into 9 networks that are usually grouped by location. The Ontario Library Association has maintained the same names and networks to make things simpler. The number of CAP sites in each network varies.

A CAP site in St. James Town, Toronto

Nova Scotia C@P[edit]

The Nova Scotia Community Access Program (commonly known as Nova Scotia C@P, or just C@P) is based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nearly 400 urban and rural public locations such as schools, libraries and community centres are set up to provide computer access, support, and training. The majority of them also act as free wireless hotspots. The CAP attempts to accommodate a variety of community users, from making available assistive technology such as large-size monitors to providing a Francophone network.[8]

On December 4, 2012, Nova Scotia's CAP was certified as an At-Large Structure by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and will be a part of the North American Regional At-Large Organization (NARALO).[9]

CAP Networks[edit]

These may be Library Boards, School Boards, Boards of Trade, Economic Development Boards, Municipalities, Community Free Nets, Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), Industry Canada and other federal and provincial departments and agencies. By combining strengths, assets and resources from all their partners and participants, Community Resource Networks can address local and regional issues and concerns that they must deal with in Canada's new knowledge-based economy.

A CAP Network can have geographic basis, for example, defined by the borders of a county, city, school board jurisdiction, tourist or economic development region or a combination of these. Or it can be defined by a shared interest or purpose.


  1. ^ "What is CAP?". Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  2. ^ "Community Access Program". Voices-Voix. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "Ottawa cuts CAP public web access funding". CBC News. CBC. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "What happened to the Community Access Program (CAP)?". Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Government of Canada. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "CAP sites on Cape Breton Island". Retrieved 2008-05-27. [dead link]
  6. ^ "West Lincoln Public Library". Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  7. ^ "Community Access Program - Home Page". Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  8. ^ Weeren, Marie. "Community Access Program". Nova Scotia Life. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 
  9. ^ "ICANN Mailing List, Message 172". ICANN. Retrieved December 9, 2012. 

External links[edit]