TELUS launched Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk, a program that provides free smartphones and data plans to Indigenous women who are at risk or surviving violence.
According to Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report on Missing Murdered and Indigenous Women, Indigenous women and girls comprise only four per cent of the total female population in Canada, yet represent 24 per cent of female homicide victims, and are 12 times more likely to be murdered or go missing than any other women.
The new program was developed in partnership and consultation with four Indigenous-led organizations in British Columbia and Alberta; Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA), BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), Prince George Native Friendship Centre (PGNFC), and Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia (NCCABC). Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk gives women a critical lifeline to timely emergency services, reliable access to virtual healthcare and wellness resources, and the ability to stay connected to their friends, family, and support networks.
“TELUS is committed to doing our part to respond to the 231 Calls for Justice, specifically Call for Justice 15, by leveraging our technology to support Indigenous-led organizations and Indigenous-led solutions to advancing Reconciliation,” said Tony Geheran, executive vice-president and chief customer officer. “Having a cellular device and reliable network is a vital lifeline to Indigenous women and girls at risk to get access to critical services and resources they need for their health, safety, and wellness.
“In partnership with Indigenous-led organizations, we hope to expand the reach and impact of our program across the country.”
TELUS has already started distributing smartphones and plans to support Indigenous women in B.C. and Alberta who are at risk or surviving violence. TELUS has committed to supporting 1,200 Indigenous women in B.C and Alberta and plans to partner with additional Indigenous-led organizations across Canada to expand the reach and impact of this program through 2022.
“The work of the PGNFC aligns with TELUS’ commitments that leverage core competencies to support Indigenous priorities and enable the greatest outcomes,” said Barb Ward-Burkitt, executive director, Prince George Native Friendship Centre. “The PGNFC has long recognized that the journey of Reconciliation requires more collaboration, as this is necessary to develop an effective plan that will ensure and have the commitment of key players.”
TELUS has a longstanding commitment to strengthening relationships with Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, acknowledging that our work spans many Traditional Territories and Treaty areas.
“ANFCA is thankful for the developing partnership between TELUS and the six Alberta Friendship Centres taking part in piloting the Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk program,” said Joanne Mason, executive director of Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association. “Finding ways to support Indigenous women with timely access to emergency response services and community programming is an important aspect to addressing the needs of Indigenous women experiencing violence.”
Last year, TELUS contributed five per cent of its pre-tax profits to charitable organizations – a total of $85 million – to build healthier communities, along with more than $150 million in support of COVID-19 related initiatives.
For more information on TELUS’ Reconciliation commitment, please visit telus.com/reconciliation.