TELUS provides free mobile devices to the vulnerable
April 22, 2020
VANCOUVER – To keep Canada’s most vulnerable citizens connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, TELUS is giving over 10,000 free mobile devices and $0 rate plans, valued at more than $5 million, to hundreds of organizations across the country.
These connections are giving hospitalized COVID-19 patients the ability to virtually connect with loved ones, while also enabling isolated seniors, and low-income, homeless, and at-risk individuals with a much needed lifeline to families, health practitioners and vital social support services during this complex time.
TELUS has already donated more than 6,000 mobile devices paired with $0 rate plans including unlimited nationwide talk and text and 3GB of data per month.
“The TELUS team is deeply committed to keeping our country’s most vulnerable citizens safe and connected during this health emergency,” said Darren Entwistle (pictured), president and CEO of TELUS. “Working in concert with our partners, we have expanded our Mobility for Good program to ensure those most impacted by COVID-19, including isolated hospital patients and long-term care residents, have access to the devices and service needed to stay in touch with healthcare professionals and importantly, with their loved ones during what is often a lonely and overwhelming time in their lives.”
He added, “No one should feel alone or disconnected, and it is a privilege for our team to be able to create a vital human connection for those members of our community who are most in need of our care and assistance.”
Dr. Allan Detsky, former physician-in-chief, Mount Sinai Hospital, said: “In Toronto, we currently have approximately 300 isolated, hospitalized COVID patients, and those without personal phones are unable to connect with family. We are beginning to roll out the TELUS devices to hospital wards, and once operational, families can call the patient, and the staff can call them as well, avoiding exposure by not entering the room for minor check-ins. Also, once a patient is intubated, they cannot answer the phone, but will be able to see and hear loved ones on the device. This will provide solace for the family especially, and staff who are watching people die alone, unable to comfort them.”
“These measures will allow several psychiatric patients to remain hopeful and stay connected with their loved ones, and also to limit the risk of transmission of the virus among healthcare staff. It’s a great initiative!” said Julie Chaurette, president and CEO of the Fondation du CHUM, Montreal.
“It’s especially terrifying to contemplate the potential health, mental health and economic impacts of COVID-19 for the Downtown Eastside community in Vancouver. The smartphones donated by TELUS are helping keep peer support workers connected to community organizations, so they can be a crucial lifeline to those in need. TELUS’ support of this community-led initiative is making a difference for the most vulnerable people in our city,” said Jennifer Johnstone, president and CEO of Central City Foundation, Vancouver.
“There are seniors in our communities that live without access to a phone. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the risk this creates for seniors who need a phone to access emergency and health services, delivery of food and medication, and to stay connected to family and friends. We are especially grateful to TELUS for responding so quickly and generously to this critical need. We’re working to ensure that at-risk seniors have access to this critical support during a very challenging time. Thank you, TELUS!” said Karen McDonald, executive director of Sage Seniors Association, Edmonton.
“Members of the Alliance for Healthier Communities provide comprehensive primary healthcare across Ontario, meaning that community health providers work hard to ensure people can access services, no matter the barriers they face, including digital connections. COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge, especially for people experiencing homelessness, those who use drugs, and other marginalized and isolated people,” said Adrianna Tetley, CEO of Alliance for Healthier Communities, Ontario. “We must remember that the digital equity divide is real. This donation of phones and data plans demonstrates the lifeline technology can provide between the people who need our help the most right now and the community health providers who’ve built trust with them.”
TELUS is leveraging world-leading technology to create meaningful change, bridge digital divides and ensure equal access to technology for Canadians in need through our Connecting For Good program. The COVID-19 Emergency Response program is an extension of the TELUS Mobility for Good program, which offers 20,000 youth aging out of foster care to gain their independence and stay connected with a free mobile phone and data plan for two years. The program empowers vulnerable youth with a vital lifeline to the people, information, and opportunities that matter most.
In addition to Mobility for Good, additional programs include:
- Internet for Good, offering high speed broadband internet to qualified low-income families for only $9.95 per month.
- Health for Good, enabling TELUS mobile health clinics to bring primary healthcare directly to people in need living on the streets in urban centres across Canada.
- Tech for Good, helping differently abled Canadians facing challenges using smartphones and tablets with customized technology solutions that help them live more independently.
For the latest information about TELUS’ support during the crisis, visit telus.com/covid19.