411 Seniors, in partnership with STAR Institute at Simon Fraser University and UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, produced a policy brief on older adult’s access to information and technology, written by Karen Lok Yi Wong, a registered social worker at Providence Healthcare in Vancouver. Twenty-eight service providers of community-based senior service agencies across BC where interviewed to learn why some older adults have less access to Information and Community Technology (ICT).
In Canada, only 68% of older adults have access to information and communication technology (ICT) (Davidson & Schimmele, 2019). To understand why some older adults have challenges accessing ICT, Simon Fraser University and 411 Seniors Centre conducted a study in British Columbia, interviewing service providers of community-based seniors service agencies (Wong et al., 2021). The findings suggested three reasons:
- Obstacles to access to the Internet;
- Barriers to access to equipment;
- Limited knowledge of using ICT.
Based on the findings, this brief suggests three policy recommendations for the government’s consideration:
- Subsidize access to the Internet and equipment for low-income older adults;
- Provide continuous funding to support the Tech Buddy programs;
- Include additional funding for interpretation and translation to enable older adults from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds to learn technology.