Letter to Minister Monsef on Rural Internet

Today I sent a letter to the Honourable Maryam Monsef, the Minister of Rural Development, urging her to do more to help rural Canadians access affordable high-speed internet.

The struggles of accessing high-speed internet connection are well known by most constituents in Simcoe–Grey. Many cannot access quality internet in their homes, or if they can, it is costing ridiculously high amounts. You can read the full letter below.

Dear Minister Monsef,

The COVID-19 pandemic has made working from home a reality for many people. Online learning is now commonplace. Video calls and streaming have become vital in order to stay safe. For many in my riding of Simcoe–Grey, this has been especially challenging because high-speed internet is not widely available.

The lack of high-speed internet has been one of the issues that my constituents have often contacted me about during the pandemic. some said they risked COVID-19 and went to the office because their rural internet connection is not reliable. Families told me they parked their car outside the village library to use the free wifi, which is faster than their home connection. Others said their kids use their cell phone for school because the connection is more reliable. Sadly, several parents have said their children have fallen behind in school because their connection is too slow, or they cannot afford the overage fees every month.

Many of my constituents live only kilometres from larger centres like Barrie or Vaughan yet experience internet speeds from the 1900s. I do know that your government has a commitment to connect all Canadians to high-speed internet by 2030. While this was a noble goal prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I think we can now agree, Minister, that it is no longer acceptable for Canadians outside our major cities and towns to be told to stay home, to work from home, and to go to school from home while suffering through antiquated internet speeds. Your government needs to take action now. Rural Canadians cannot wait 10 more years.

I call on your government to take real and meaningful action to connect all Canadians to high-speed internet.


Terry Dowdall