TELUS and the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada have partnered to keep vulnerable Canadian youth safe and connected to vital resources with expanded TELUS Mobility for Good™ program.
The program for young people who have aged out of foster care went into effect last Tuesday, it was announced in Yellowknife.
The TELUS Mobility for Good™ program first launched in British Columbia in 2017, followed by Ontario, Alberta and select regions in Quebec in 2018, and New Brunswick and Manitoba in 2019.
It has now expanding to Saskatchewan, northern Canada, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and P.E.I.
The program will help youth in the region stay connected with access to a free smartphone and fully subsidized plan from TELUS for two years. It includes unlimited nationwide talk and text and up to 3GB of monthly data usage.
“The expansion of our Mobility for Good program into northern Canada is reflective of TELUS’ long-standing commitment to leveraging our world-leading technology to improve the social, educational and economic outcomes of our fellow Canadians,” said Darren Entwistle, TELUS’ president and CEO.
“This is particularly critical as we collectively navigate the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our TELUS team is pleased to extend this vital lifeline to more youth across the country, enabling them to begin their independent lives feeling safer, secure and more connected to the people, resources and opportunities that matter most to our future leaders and change-makers.”
Every year, thousands of youth age out of Canada’s child welfare system and are no longer eligible for the government support they had been receiving while in care.
More than 5,400 youth are already enrolled nationwide.
While TELUS is providing the service for free, the bills will appear in the youth’s name to help them build positive credit and gain the skills required to manage their finances in the future.
According to a 2019 survey by the foundation, 85 per cent of youth who participate in TELUS’ Mobility for Good program have found the program helped them connect with family and friends and their support network.
It has also assisted in relieving financial stress and accessing resources in times of crisis.
This has become even more critical as financial and socioeconomic pressures have intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The transition out of care is overwhelming mentally and financially,” said Suzie Brooks, former youth in care.
“A guaranteed cell phone plan ensured I had access to a vast amount of resources for two years, which helped ease my transition out of care.
“I had so many other responsibilities and felt so alone handling them, so the TELUS Mobility for Good program helped me when I needed it most.”
Valerie McMurtry, the foundation’s president and CEO, said her organization is “working together with TELUS to provide our country’s most vulnerable young people with a lifeline that will enable them to search for a place to live, seek job opportunities, and stay in touch with friends and vital support networks.
“We are incredibly grateful to be able to expand this offering to even more youth in the North.”
Youth who are currently transitioning from care, or have already transitioned from care and are aged 18 to 26, can apply for the program at http:telus.com/mobilityforgood.
“The Mobility for Good initiative will provide Yukon youth who are aging out of care with a much-needed resource,” said Pauline Frost, the Yukon’s minister of Health and Social Services.
“These phones will help them connect with education, housing and important health and social services as they transition to adulthood and gain independence.
“We are proud to collaborate with Mobility for Good and hope that this support will help youth attain their dreams and goals. Thanks to TELUS for bringing this program to the North.”
TELUS takes in $14.7 billion in annual revenue and has 15.2 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video and security.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of connectivity, especially for our country’s most vulnerable populations,” said Tammy Roberts, the executive director of the Foster Family Coalition of the N.W.T.
“For youth leaving foster care, a smartphone is critical to helping them achieve independence, and we are thrilled to welcome the TELUS Mobility for Good program into the province so even more youth can stay connected to what matters most to them.”