5th Annual Digital Access Day 2022


November 29, 2022 8:00 am EDT - EDT

Closing the gap on the divide

Applying for a job, banking, finding a place to live and engaging with the government all require access to the internet, even more so in a post-pandemic world.

Yet, many across Canada and worldwide still need access and the digital divide mirrors existing inequities.

Closing the gap could be the key to addressing some of the most pressing social and economic issues of our time.

Join us for the 5th Annual Digital Access Day and hear from thought leaders from the government, industry, academia, and communities most affected.

Together we will explore issues of digital resiliency in Canada’s supply chain, affordability, cybersecurity, and competition.



November 29, 2022

We believe the internet helps address serious social and economic needs. But too often, the digital divide mirrors existing inequities. Our current experience with COVID-19 shows that the transition in these extraordinary circumstances is far from smooth.  More specifically, people without access to ICTs are even more disadvantaged than before. In many cases, the lifeline provided by technologies is only available to those who can access them.

The 5th Annual Digital Access Day is bringing together thought-leaders from NGOs, the tech sector, government, universities, and those most affected by the digital divide to talk about good work already underway, identify what else can be done, and measure progress.

Join via livestream

WEBCAST NOV 29: 5th Annual Digital Access Day 2022 – ISOC LIVE NOTICEBOARD



Time (EST) Session Speakers
9:00 am Welcome Franca Palazzo, Executive Director, Internet Society Canada Chapter
9:10 am Remarks: Presenting Sponsor Francis Careau, Co-founder, oxio
9:15 am No Sector Left Behind: Ensuring Digital Resiliency in Canada’s Supply ChainEven before the COVID-19 crisis began, the pace of technological change was a challenge for many business and supply chains. The pace of change has accelerated since the pandemic began with the result that everything is more digital. More and more, supply chains rely on data, analytics, and digital tools to increase efficiency and profit. As technology and digital use increase, so too must security to protect those digital assets. Further, consumers, businesses, and trading partners are increasingly looking for data as part of tracing a product and its components from production to the consumer to be able to authenticate, and trust, what they purchase. The ability to keep pace with this change and mitigate evolving risks will impact who is most likely to thrive as we continue to shift more and more to a digital economy. This panel will delve into the current challenges, the future of digital, and how all stakeholders from government to industry stakeholders, particularly in critical infrastructures like food supply chains, can contribute to building resilience in an ever-changing digital landscape.


Moderator: Janet Silver, Senior Director, Advocacy & Communications, Syntax Strategic


Vidya ShankarNarayan, Assistant Deputy Minister & CIO Information Systems Branch Co-Champion Diversity & Inclusion Agriculture & Agri Foods Canada

Erik Valiquette, Co-founder and CEO, Blockchain Supplychain Association

10:15 am Health Break
10:30 am Forewarned is Forearmed. To be prepared is half the victory: Giving Canadians the cybersecurity tools they need Cybersecurity skills and technologies are becoming an ever-vital part of personal and enterprise networks. Cyber attacks can be devastating for an organization’s operations and reputation. Unfortunately, when attacks occur on healthcare and other public institutions, they can have dangerous consequences. Too few Canadians and Canadian organizations have the proper cybersecurity tools and technologies to keep their data, devices and networks safe and secure. It is important for vulnerable sectors and Canadians to have access to cyber security tools and technologies in order to have a robust cybersecurity ecosystem across the country. In this panel, we’ll discuss the barriers to expanding access to cybersecurity technologies and how Canada can become a leader in cybersecurity through cross-sectoral collaboration.  Moderator:Brent Arnold, Partner, Trial & Appellate Litigator, Data Breach Coach, & Technology Sub-Group Leader (Comm Lit), Gowlings WLG


Tanya O’Callaghan, VP CIPA    Canadian Internet Registration Authority


Chris Smith, Portage CyberTech TBC


Shawn M., Director General, Cyber Operations Division, CSIS




11:30 am Lunch
1:00 pm Achieving Digital Equity- What does it look like?

Digital equity and inclusion face major barriers across Canada.

Achieving digital equity will bridge other equity gaps such as economic, health, and education.

What does digital equity look like? The scope of digital equity has remained mostly limited to broadband access and skills required to interact with digital technology. We believe this scope needs to expand, particularly to include opportunities for growth and leadership in the digital world. We need to improve digital equity for organizations, and we need to build a digital ecosystem—including policies, business practices, and norms—that enables all people and organizations to succeed in the digital world.

Moderator:Jillian Leblanc, Senior Policy Analyst, Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) Center of Expertise

Senior Policy Analyst, Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) Center of Expertise

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)


Jaimie Boyd, National Digital Government Leader at Deloitte Canada


The Hon. Colin Deacon, Independent Senator, Nova Scotia

Sam Andrey, Policy & Research at the Leadership Lab, Toronto Metropolitan University

Ima Okonny, Chief Data Officer at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

2:00 pm AffordabilityOnline access is increasingly important to apply for jobs, complete schoolwork, download government forms, pay bills and connect with families and friends with some even going so far as to claim that internet access has become a basic human right. Lower-income Canadians often face a tough choice – paying for internet service or paying for basic necessities like food or transportation. In the 2019 budget, the federal government committed to a multi-year plan that will provide high-speed internet access for all Canadians by 2030, but the commitment did not outline a plan to tackle internet affordability, an often overlooked component of the digital divide. What does the solution look like to close this digital divide? Is it expanding existing programs like Connecting Families? Regulated retail pricing? Expanding wholesale access to incumbent networks? A mixture of all three, or something completely different? Moderator:Jenna Cocullo, Deputy Editor, The Wire Report 


Todd Hofley, Vice President Policy and Communications



Yuka Sai, Staff Lawyer at Public Interest Advocacy Centre


Geoff White, Executive Director, General Counsel and Secretary of the Competitive Network Operators of Canada

3:00 pm Break
3:15 pm Resiliency/CompetitionReliable network access is no longer a nicety – it is a cornerstone of modern life in Canada. When Rogers failed in July the impact was felt across the country – calls to emergency services failed, Interac payments were down, concerts were cancelled, and countless businesses had to stop work for the day. More recently when hurricane Fiona devastated the east coast of Canada we saw more of the same – network failures and communications impacted.

In the wake of the Rogers outage the Federal government mandated that communications providers work together ensure mutual assistance and roaming in the event of an outage but is this enough or do we need to push further into structural separation of the larger networks into multiple entities – one that operates the physical network (cable, fibre, etc), one that operates the wireless network (LTE), and one that provides services to end-consumers?

Moderator:Ben Klass, Phd Candidate, Carleton University, School of Journalism and Communication


Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, University of Ottawa

Matthew Gamble, Principal Int13 Consulting Inc.


Francis Careau, Cofounder, oxio

Hosein Badran, Senior Director, Internet Growth and Trust Internet Society

4:15 pm Closing Remarks Philip Palmer, President, Internet Society Canada Chapter
4:30 pm Networking ReceptionOpening remarks

Rachel Thomas, MP 

Rachel Thomas, MP Lethbridge, Shadow Minister for Canadian Heritage


Digital Access Day brings between 120 and 150 high-level public servants and C-suite private sector and NFP thought leaders.


Read Rachael Thomas’ Bio

Read Vidya ShankarNarayan’s Bio

Read Senator Colin Deacon’s Bio

Read Todd Hofley’s Bio

Read Sam Andrey’s Bio

Read Mathew Gamble’s Bio

Read Yuka Sai’s Bio

Read Jillian Lablanc’s Bio

Read Jenna Cocullo’s Bio

Read Francis Careau’s Bio

Read Tanya O’Callaghan’s Bio

Read Brent Arnold’s Bio

Read Hosein Badran’s Bio

Read Geoff White’s Bio

Read Erik Valiquette’s Bio

Read Jaimie Boyd’s Bio

Read Dr. Michael Geist’s Bio

Read Janet Silver’s Bio

Read Ben Klass’ Bio

Read Ima Okonny’s Bio