Community Access Program

Community Access Program

The Community Access Program (CAP, also seen as C@p) is an initiative of the Government of Canada which aims to provide Canadians with affordable public access to the Internet and the skills they need to use it effectively. The program is administered by Industry Canada as part of their youth initiative.[1]


History of CAP

In 1994 the Community Access Program began. Initially, Industry Canada focused on rural communities, where Internet access was less available. Once the rural communities were equipped with computers and Internet access, Industry Canada focused on what is referred to as the “Digital Divide.” According to Statistics Canada 2001, the following groups are in highest need of services offered by CAP: Aboriginals, older Canadians, Canadians with low income or low education, francophone, new immigrants, and people in rural areas. Therefore, the focus is primarily to assist in 'Bridging the Digital Divide'.

CAP Sites in urban areas were then opened to help reach these people. The program plays a crucial role in bridging the Digital Divide; contributing to the foundation for electronic access to government services; encouraging online learning and literacy; fostering the development of community based infrastructure; promoting Canadian e-commerce; and providing training with Assistive Technology. In order to make better use of the computers and equipment funded by CAP, Industry Canada also initiated the Community Access Program - Youth Initiative (CAP YI). CAP Sites could apply for funding to hire Youth Interns to come and work in their CAP Sites to train the public in computer and Internet use and technology.

CAP Logo
Industry Canada Logo


The Community Access Program (CAP) Youth Initiative (YI) is coordinated by Industry Canada's Community Access Program and is funded through the Youth Employment Strategy (YES) of Canada which is overseen by Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). CAP's youth initiative aims to provide employment opportunities for young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30 - primarily students, recent graduates, or the under-employed or unemployed.

CAP YI participates help individuals, community organizations and small businesses improve their knowledge and effective use of the Internet and related information technologies through computer training. CAP YI is:

  • To support the sustainability and long term viability of CAP Sites by providing work experience for young Canadians in CAP Sites across Canada;
  • To increase the use of information and communications technology (ICT) across Canada to promote economic and social development at the community level; and
  • To allow young people to gain valuable skills related to ICT thereby positioning them for longer-term employment


Industry Canada's Community Access Program (CAP) gives thousands of Canadians affordable access to the Internet. CAP sites are located in public locations such as schools, community centers, and libraries. They may provide access in locations that are geographically remote (e.g. on parts of Cape Breton Island[2]) or serve populations subject to the digital divide.[3] Sites are established and maintained by community networks, generally in partnership with Municipal and Provincial Governments. There are CAP sites located in all of the provinces and territories of Canada.[4]

For example, in Ontario the CAP program is divided into 9 networks that are usually grouped by location. The Ontario Library Association has maintained the same names and networks to make things simpler. The number of CAP sites in each network varies.

A CAP site in St. James Town, Toronto

List of caps

CAP Networks

These may be Library Boards, School Boards, Boards of Trade, Economic Development Boards, Municipalities, Community Free Nets, Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), Industry Canada and other federal and provincial departments and agencies. By combining strengths, assets and resources from all their partners and participants, Community Resource Networks can address local and regional issues and concerns that they must deal with in Canada's new knowledge-based economy.

A CAP Network can have geographic basis, for example, defined by the borders of a county, city, school board jurisdiction, tourist or economic development region or a combination of these. Or it can be defined by a shared interest or purpose.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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