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Connectivity a critical digital lifeline for women in crisis as domestic abuse rates increase during COVID-19

May 19, 2020

News Releases

Rogers providing phones with free voice and data plans to help B.C. women in crisis, in partnership with women’s shelters in Metro Vancouver, the Okanagan and on Vancouver Island

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 19, 2020 – Rogers today announced partnerships with women’s shelters across British Columbia, including in Metro Vancouver, the Okanagan and on Vancouver Island, to provide connectivity to support our most vulnerable citizens during this global health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed urgent needs among Canada’s at-risk communities, including women and children who may be facing the reality of being at home with an abusive family member.

“With a deep commitment to serve the communities where we live and work, Rogers is committed to finding ways to help provide an essential digital lifeline and critical supports for British Columbians who need it the most,” said Rick Sellers, President of the B.C. Region, Rogers Communications. “Whether calling emergency services, accessing support, or staying in touch with loved ones, the donations are aimed at helping vulnerable women with their immediate and crisis needs.”

Rogers is providing complimentary devices along with six months free voice and data plans to  B.C. women’s shelters including the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Atira Women’s Resource Society and Helping Spirit Lodge Society in Vancouver, Dixon House in Burnaby, Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society in Surrey, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver, the Victoria Women’s Transition House Society in Victoria and the Okanagan Nation Transition Emergency House in Penticton. 

“With these devices, women are able to call family and friends, which for some might seem like an everyday event,  but for marginalized women seeking refuge from pervasive violence, frequent abuse, and harsh conditions, having access to a phone is key for their sense of safety and belonging,” said Kate Gibson, Acting Executive Director, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.  “The donated phones and plans mean women can find secure housing with the assistance of the Centre’s staff and the impact of having that freedom to make choices and connect with family is empowering.”

“We are grateful to Rogers for reaching out and thinking of the women and children who access Atira’s programs with this incredible donation,” said Caithlin Scarpelli, Director of Atira Women’s Resource Society.  “These phones will allow women to have access to emergency services and call-in lines such as the one Atira recently set up for women that need support during this uncertain and difficult time.”

“The isolation required to respond to COVID-19 has made it difficult to communicate, access services or ask for help without a cellphone,” said Mitzi Dean, B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity.  “We must do everything we can to care for women and children in crisis and getting devices into the hands of vulnerable women during the pandemic will help save lives.”

If you are a woman living in an abusive home, or you know someone who is, you can call your local shelter’s 24/7 crisis line for advice and support.  Find your local shelter and its crisis line on www.sheltersafe.ca.  

Rogers is also partnering with Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland to provide donations of devices and tablets with six months of free service to ensure the families and “Littles” who rely on this critical connection get the digital tools and service they need. Fido is providing local Pflag Canada chapters with tablets and free wireless data to enable virtual peer-to-peer support meetings in support of the LGBTQ2S community. Tablets will be distributed to five chapters in B.C., including Vancouver, Surrey, Abbotsford, Nanaimo and Penticton. 

A new awareness video about Rogers partnership with Women’s Shelters Canada will be shown across Rogers Sports & Media properties reaching millions of Canadians. To learn more about all the ways Rogers is helping to support Canadians through this critical time, please visit here.

About Rogers
Rogers is a proud Canadian company dedicated to making more possible for Canadians each and every day. Our founder, Ted Rogers, purchased his first radio station, CHFI, in 1960. We have grown to become a leading technology and media company that strives to provide the very best in wireless, residential, sports, and media to Canadians and Canadian businesses. Our shares are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI). If you want to find out more about us, visit about.rogers.com.

For further information:
Rogers Communications, media@rci.rogers.com, 1-844-226-1338
Kate Gibson, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, actinged@dewc.ca, 604-681-8480 ext. 229
Caithlin Scarpelli, Atira Women’s Resource Society, media@atira.bc.ca, 604-681-4437 ext. 114