The publication of research briefings is a deliverable of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) 2020-2023 Strategy and Action Plan. Briefings will provide analysis of timely policy matters that are of direct relevance to Inuit. This research brief provides an overview of the reality of internet access in Inuit Nunangat and also evaluates future infrastructure required to bridge the digital divide between Inuit Nunangat and the rest of Canada. Promising international practices are highlighted and compared with Canada’s current connectivity strategy.
The availability of high-speed broadband internet in Inuit Nunangat lags behind the rest of Canada as well as behind many other Arctic jurisdictions. Affordable, high-speed broadband is imperative for Inuit to be able to participate equitably in society and the economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the digital divide between Inuit Nunangat and the rest of Canada into sharper focus. The experiences of people in Inuit Nunangat whose education and livelihoods became more reliant on the internet during the pandemic further underscore how the lack of high-speed broadband in the region puts our people at a disadvantage. Broadband connectivity supports educational attainment, spurs economic development, and can improve access to services such as health care, in a region where service delivery is challenging.