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New digital skills workshops for under-represented women across Canada

Published on 11/02/2020 by YWCA Canada

Ottawa, ON – February 11, 2019

In celebration of Safer Internet Day, MediaSmarts and YWCA Canada are proud to launch a series of digital literacy workshops to help empower under-represented women from communities across the country.

The DigitalSmarts program is a series of workshops developed by MediaSmarts to teach important everyday digital skills. MediaSmarts-trained YWCA facilitators from across the country are now delivering the workshops at YWCA locations Canada-wide.

MediaSmarts designed the eight hour-long workshops specifically for diverse and marginalized groups, and based the content on data gathered in focus groups. The workshops include hands-on activities and videos, and can be tailored for various audiences covering relevant topics including:

  • protecting privacy and security online
  • job searching
  • shopping and banking online
  • using social media
  • searching the internet effectively
  • managing screen time for kids

“Digital literacy is now a vital tool for education, employment, civic engagement and even health and wellness,” said Kathryn Ann Hill, Executive Director of MediaSmarts. “Through these workshop sessions diverse women – including newcomers to Canada, low-income Canadians, Indigenous women and marginalized groups – will get the training they need so they can participate more fully in the online world.”

“YWCA Canada and our Member Associations are excited to partner with MediaSmarts on DigitalSmarts,” said Maya Roy, CEO of YWCA Canada. “YWCA trainers recognize the challenges of internet access and literacy, and are adept at adapting the training to their community needs to ensure the material is relevant and will respond to the changing tech climate. This project extends our work to create a safer digital world for women and girls while addressing the need for safety privacy training for women to empower them online and offline.”

Today, on Safer Internet Day, people and organizations around the world are joining forces to help make the online world a safer place. “Everyone has a responsibility to make a positive difference online. By equipping our communities with digital literacy skills we hope we can empower people to make considered choices online,” said Hill.

The DigitalSmarts workshops have already begun and will run at YWCA locations until March 2022. The workshop materials are also available for use by the general public on the MediaSmarts website here. The program is made possible thanks to funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Digital Literacy Exchange Program.

“Digital skills are becoming more important every day, whether for booking a medical appointment, banking safely, studying or looking for a job. That’s why, through the Digital Literacy Exchange program, our government is supporting MediaSmarts and YWCA Canada in providing under-represented groups with training in fundamental digital skills.” – The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Quick facts

  • The Digital Literacy Exchange Program aims to equip Canadians with the necessary skills to engage with computers, mobile devices and the internet safely, securely and effectively, and is designed to be inclusive by reaching out to those who are not online or are still learning how to use digital technologies.
  • Through the DigitalSmarts program, MediaSmarts and the YWCA will provide digital literacy skills training to over 3,500 Canadians from under-represented groups.
  • Workshops are being run at YWCA locations in Muskoka ON, Hamilton ON, Halifax NS, Moncton NB, Lethbridge AB, Thompson MB and Prince Albert SK.

About YWCA Canada

YWCA Canada is the country’s oldest and largest women’s multi-service organization. YWCA works in 300 communities across Canada to serve women and girls in nine provinces and two territories. YWCA Canada is the nation’s single largest provider of shelter to women and children fleeing violence. www.ywcacanada.ca

About MediaSmarts

MediaSmarts is the national, bilingual, not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. For the past 25 years MediaSmarts has advanced digital and media literacy in Canadian schools, homes and communities, delivered high-quality digital and media literacy programs and resources, and has conducted vital research that contributes to the development of informed public policy on issues related to media. www.mediasmarts.ca


Tricia Grant, Manager of Marketing and Communications, MediaSmarts
613-224-7721 ext. 231


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