3rd Annual Digital Access Day

November 12 – 13, 2020 | Virtual Event

Video of event:


Day 1 – November 12, 2020


Time (EST) Session Speakers
1:00pm Opening remarks
1:15pm – 2:30pm Connectivity in Canada

Over the past months, it has become clear that the Internet is not a luxury, it is a lifeline. Hundreds of thousands of people in Canada have been asked to isolate themselves and work and study from home. However, in many communities this is simply not possible due to having limited or no access to the Internet.

Indigenous communities and the North have been particularly hit hard by a lack of reliable Internet connectivity.

Complementary connectivity models, where local people are in the driver’s seat, can bring affordable, sustainable, and future-proof Internet access to all people in Canada.

  • Matthew Rantanen, Director of Technology, Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association
  • Sally Braun, General Manager, Western James Bay Telecom Network
  • Dave Keith, Director of Business Development & Operations, Lakeland Energy


  • Tyson Johnson, CEO & Executive Director, Cyber NB Inc.
2:30pm – 3:30pm Digital Access: A solution to advancing diversity & inclusion

The discussion will focus on how inclusive innovation can be used to address social challenges and spur economic growth. Addressing the theme of “digital access”, this panel will highlight works on advancing diversity and inclusion for under-represented groups in the realms of entrepreneurship, employment, and education via digital platforms. Panel members address research about the experience of women, immigrants, racialized people, Indigenous peoples, and other under-represented group with examples of several diversity initiatives. Digital divide has been an outstanding issue for under-represented groups who are often having lower socioeconomic status (SES). Aiming to close the gap of social segregation, the government has been providing financial and social supports for advancing entrepreneurship, employment and educational opportunities. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a differentially negative impact on the under-represented groups. However, there is also the voice advocating for using digital technology to better support the underrepresented groups and improve diversity for the development of an innovative economy. Panel presentations address the potential use of digital technology to substantially increase the access for the underrepresented groups to employment opportunities, entrepreneurship training, and educational opportunities to children. The panelist will introduce several initiatives that Diversity Institute participate in, including WEHK, ALiGN, and Study Buddy projects that the Diversity Institute, to discuss how digital access could offer a solution to advance diversity and inclusion in Canada.

  • Catherine Middleton, Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management
  • Huda Idrees, Founder & CEO, Dot Health
  • Jargris Hodson, Associate Professor, Royal Roads University


  • Dr. Wendy Cukier – Founder, Diversity Institute; Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management
3:30pm Closing Remarks

Day 2 – November 13, 2020

Time (EST) Session Speakers
1:00pm Opening remarks
  • Franca Palazzo, VP of Growth, Ipolitics & Executive Director ISCC
1:15pm – 2:15pm Toward a Trustworthy Internet

Government believes in fostering a trustworthy Internet and is therefore committed to ensuring that the Internet is safeguarded from content that is by definition illegal (e.g. hate speech).

All major social media platforms have committed to removing content that violates laws and/or their terms of service, yet the sheer scope and scale of the endeavor poses enormous challenges. In addition, the threats posed by nefarious actors continue to evolve.

The uncertain regulatory and policy environment is not helping.

  • Steve de Eyre, Director of Government Affairs Canada – TikTok
  • Heather Bakken, Publisher, iPolitics
  • Laura Tribe, Executive Director, Open Media


  • Susan Delacourt, Journalist, Author
2:15pm – 3:15pm Equitable Education in a Digital World

Education – A panel of educators and industry professionals reflecting on the COVID-19 experience. (Note: this will be after 2 ½ months of “back-to-school”, so it is difficult to predict if it will have gone well or poorly). Where (tasks, lessons, grades, communication, etc.) has technology had a positive impact, and where can’t technology replace the physical and human aspects of learning? The digital divide includes infrastructure, but also knowledge and skills (digital literacy), culture (religious aversion to technology), cost, access to devices, and time/space to connect with technology.

Using the ICTC / Tech Manitoba research work as a primer, this will be a national look at the gaps between available digital resources, accessibility, adoption, and the impact on learning now and in the years to come.

  • Nathan Snider, Manager, Research & Stakeholder Engagement, ICTC
  • Adrienne DiFonzo-Veneziano, Learning Development Specialist, Compugen Inc.
  • Ken Sanderson, Executive Director, Broadband Communications North
  • Kirsten Thompson, Divisional Coordinator ICT, Mountain View School Division
  • Dr. Rob McMahon – Associate Professor – University of Alberta
  • Wayne Kelly, MRD PhD (c) Project Coordinator, Rural Development Institute, Brandon University


  • Joel Templeman, Education Specialist, Tech Manitoba
3:15pm – 3:30pm TED Talk – CIRA Canadian Shield

Q & A: Protecting Canada’s Internet

In this Q & A, Mark Gaudet from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority will discuss why cybersecurity is a critical element of internet access that cannot be overlooked by schools, healthcare institutions and everyday Canadians.

  • Mark Gaudet, business leader, cybersecurity products, CIRA


  • Spencer Callaghan, communications and content manger, CIRA
3:30pm – 4:00pm Mitigating IOT Security Threats for Consumers

This session will provide the insights gained from the ISCC’s Mitigating Consumer IoT Cybersecurity Threats Project from Jeremy Depow, project Co-Chair. We will also speak with Natasha Dsouza, Product Manager for IoT Security from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority on their efforts to secure end to end communications in a world with trillions of connected devices via an Secure IoT Registry. An interactive discussion with participants will follow introductory remarks. Topics of discussion will include the reality of consumer cyber hygiene, how the COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted increased threat vectors, the geopolitical environment, and mitigation efforts in the evolving digital landscape.

  • Natasha D’souza, Product Manager – IoT Security, CIRA
  • Jeremy Depow, Consultant & Co-Chair, IoT Project



  • Brent Arnold, Partner & Technology Sub-group leader, Gowling WLG Canada
4:00pm Closing remarks



Thank you to our sponsors