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Digital Lifelines for Atlantic Canadian Women in Crisis: Rogers Expands Phone Program to Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses Across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador

May 18, 2021

News Releases

Phones and plans to 30 shelters and transition houses across the region to help women and their children, including Indigenous women, escape violence and abuse

Rogers enabling safe, critical connectivity for women in crisis as shelters see a spike in frequency and severity of violence during the pandemic

MONCTON, May 18, 2021 – Rogers Communications today announced it has expanded its phone and plan program to connect more Atlantic Canadian women and their children with digital lifelines and support to escape violence and abuse.  Rogers has increased its support from last year, by donating phones and plans to 30 women’s shelters and transition houses in Rogers wireless coverage areas in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador during this third wave of the pandemic. As the severity and frequency of domestic violence and demand for safe shelter space continues to rise following initial pandemic lockdowns a year ago, Rogers is expanding its efforts to drive awareness and safe connectivity to support the most vulnerable.

Last spring, at the start of the pandemic, Rogers launched a national program with Women’s Shelters Canada to provide  hundreds of phones and plans to more than one hundred shelters and transition houses, including those across Atlantic Canada, in addition to using the reach of its platforms and channels to help increase awareness of the domestic violence crisis.  With growing waitlists for women’s shelters and transition houses, frontline crisis workers say these devices will continue to save women’s lives by keeping women safely connected to critical resources, particularly during lockdowns. The phone donation program is provided in collaboration with Motorola and LG. 

Today’s announcement includes support for women’s shelters in Atlantic communities like Amherst, Antigonish, Bathurst, Bridgewater, Campbellton, Charlottetown, Colchester, Edmundston, Fredericton, Halifax, Kings, Hants West, Miramichi, Moncton, Sainte-Anne-de-Kent, Saint John, Shediac, St. John’s, St. Stephen, Sydney, Truro, Woodstock, and Yarmouth.

As part of its efforts to ensure access to connectivity, Rogers also recently announced an expansion of its low-cost high-speed Internet program Connected for Success to hundreds of thousands of Canadians in its Internet coverage area in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.  Those receiving income or disability support, the maximum childcare benefit, residents of RGI housing or seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement are eligible for the program. 

If you are a woman experiencing abuse, please visit sheltersafe.ca to connect with the nearest shelter or transition house that can offer safety, hope and support.

Quotes:

“At Rogers, we are committed to helping the most vulnerable Atlantic Canadians stay connected to critical resources when they need it the most.  The pandemic and lockdowns have led to many women in crisis being unable to safely call for emergency resources to help them escape from their abuser.  By providing phones and plans, while helping amplify voices of those on the frontline of the domestic violence crisis, we are committed to helping those most in need.”

  • Matt MacLellan, President of Atlantic Region, Rogers

“To women leaving abusive relationships, these phones represent connection. A connection to family and friends they may have been cut off from, a chance to call a potential landlord, an opportunity to reconnect with the shelter they have left, a desperate call to the police, or a reconnection to their own goals and dreams. These connections are lost in a controlling and abusive relationship.  If you’ve been controlled and likely not able to reach out for help and support, having a phone after you leave can represent growth towards the life you need to be healthy.”

  • Debrah Westerburg, NB South Central Transition House and Second Stage Coalition

“The member organizations of the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia are pleased to deliver Rogers phones to women who are vulnerable to violence. In an unsafe home, anything can be used as an instrument of control and abuse, and for women in this terrible situation, having their own phone is vital to be able to reach out for support safely. We appreciate this generous gesture for victims of abuse and the non-profit organizations who serve them, and trust it signals the start of a deeper sustained relationship with these organizations and the life-saving work they do.”

  • Shiva Nourpanah, Transition House Association of Nova Scotia

“These phones are very valuable for us.  Most people are under the mistaken impression that everyone has a phone these days and the means to pay for a plan.  These donations mean that we have the ability to equip a woman in crisis, who would otherwise live in isolation, with the means to reach out for emergency and support services when they need to.”

  • Danya O’Malley, PEI Family Violence Prevention Services

“These devices empower women to connect with safety and essential services that otherwise they may not have access to. A cell phone is a literal lifeline when used in a moment of crisis.”

  • Dan Meades, Transition House Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

“As we enter a third wave of the pandemic, many Indigenous women living in remote communities are facing increased challenges in escaping violence and abuse. Providing these women with a new phone when they arrive at our shelters will prove to be a valuable tool in keeping them safely connected to family and friends, as well as vital services. Rogers’ expanded ‘digital lifeline’ program and planned network expansion are sure to benefit many Indigenous women and children seeking refuge in our shelters.”

  • Sheila Swasson, President, National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence

“In a largely rural province like New Brunswick, access to dependable and secure communication is vital for those who may need to leave a relationship or require access to a phone in an emergency situation, for work, school, health, or access to the justice system,” said Tammy Scott-Wallace, minister responsible for Women’s Equality for the Province of New Brunswick. “I applaud Rogers Communication for their investment in this worthwhile initiative.”

  • The Honourable Tammy Scott-Wallace, Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture and responsible for Women’s Equality, Government of New Brunswick

“We know that women face systemic barriers to economic security and safety. COVID-19 has made these issues even more apparent.  By standing together, all of us – government, community partners, and the private sector such as Rogers – can help provide supports for women and their families, and ensure the needs of those who are vulnerable are met.”

  • The Honourable Kelly Regan, Nova Scotia’s Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women 

“For women and gender diverse individuals living with violence, access to a mobile phone can be essential to help address isolation and allow them to safely reach out for the supports and services they need.  I commend Rogers Communications for their continued support of transition houses and the women they support.”

  • The Honourable Pam Parsons, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

“The traumatic impacts of family violence affects all of us. If we want to be effective in ending violence against women and children, we all need to play a role and do what we can. As Prince Edward Island’s Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, I would like to commend Roger’s Communications for their donation to women’s shelters across the country and here at home in PEI.” 

  • The Honourable Natalie Jameson, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, Government of Prince Edward Island

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 more information:
Rogers Communications, media@rci.rogers.com, 1-844-226-1338