TELUS launches Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk

TELUS partners with Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, Hinton Friendship Centre Society, Red Deer Native Friendship Centre Society, Miywasin Native Friendship Centre, Napi Friendship Association, Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, Prince George Native Friendship Centre, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, and Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia to provide free smartphones and service to Indigenous women at risk or surviving violence

Vancouver, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories - Today, TELUS announced the launch of Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk, a new program that provides free smartphones and data plans to Indigenous women who are at risk or surviving violence. As established by Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report on Missing Murdered and Indigenous Women, while Indigenous women and girls comprise only 4% of the total female population in Canada, they represent 24% of female homicide victims, and are 12 times more likely to be murdered or go missing than any other women. 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.”

With the support of our partners, 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. 

Partner Quotes:

“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.”

“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.”

“Reliable cellular communication will help ensure Indigenous women and girls have access to services to support their safety and wellbeing,” said Leslie Varley, Executive Director of the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), “This is an important step towards increasing our capacity to provide culturally safe and inclusive anti-violence services delivered by and for Indigenous people.”

“The Association is truly grateful to TELUS for including us in the work to support our clients,many of them who are marginalized, vulnerable and have limited access to justice, primarily due to poverty, multiple barriers, and complex trauma,” said Darryl Shackelly, Executive Director of Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia. “Our clients have expressed sincere appreciation when they receive a smartphone. Never expecting such assistance, for them this service is an immediate solution to the extreme situation they are facing.”

TELUS Mobility for Good for Indigenous Women at Risk is part of the TELUS Connecting for Good portfolio of programs that gives marginalized Canadians access to TELUS’ world-leading technology. Additional programs include:

  • TELUS Internet for Good, offering high-speed Internet to qualified low-income families, people in-need living with disabilities and youth transitioning out of care for $9.95 per month;

  • TELUS Mobility for Good, offering 20,000 youth transitioning from foster care a free smartphone and fully subsidized 3GB data plan for two years;

  • TELUS Mobility for Good for Seniors, offering a subsidized mobility plan and discounted smartphone to low-income seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement;

  • TELUS Tech for Good, empowering Canadians with disabilities to independently use their smartphones and tablets and ultimately improve their quality of life through customized support, training and assistive technology; and

  • TELUS Health for Good, providing primary care, mental health and addiction support services directly to people in need and living on the streets through TELUS Mobile health clinics operating in 13 communities across Canada.

Last year, TELUS contributed 5% of our 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 the latest information about the TELUS Connected For Good programs please visit telus.com/connecting-canada.

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. For more information on TELUS’ Reconciliation commitment, please visit telus.com/reconciliation

About TELUS

TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications technology company with $16 billion in annual revenue and 16 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security. We leverage our global-leading technology and compassion to enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. In 2020, TELUS was recognized as having the fastest wireless network in the world, reinforcing our commitment to provide Canadians with access to superior technology that connects us to the people, resources and information that make our lives better. TELUS Health is Canada’s leader in digital health technology, improving access to health and wellness services and revolutionizing the flow of health information across the continuum of care. TELUS Agriculture provides innovative digital solutions throughout the agriculture value chain, supporting better food outcomes from improved agri-business data insights and processes. TELUS International (TSX and NYSE: TIXT) is a leading digital customer experience innovator that delivers next-generation AI and content management solutions for global brands across the technology and games, ecommerce and FinTech, communications and media, healthcare, travel and hospitality sectors. TELUS and TELUS International operate in 25+ countries around the world. Together, let’s make the future friendly. 

Driven by our passionate social purpose to connect all citizens for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired TELUS, our team members and retirees to contribute more than $820 million and 1.6 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world.

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com, follow us @TELUSNews on Twitter and @Darren_Entwistle on Instagram.

About Prince George Native Friendship Centre

The Prince George Native Friendship Centre has grown and continues to be one of the largest and busiest community service delivery agencies in Prince George. Our clientele of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples have supported the Centre's program offerings for the last 50 years. The PGNFC provides culturally appropriate programming to meet the community's unique and diverse needs. We offer a wide variety of services, which includes education, employment, health, early childhood, and social programs. www.pgnfc.com/ 

About Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia

The NCCABC’s mission statement is “A Helping Hand to Justice” for all Indigenous people across the province of British Columbia. We are here to provide culturally appropriate justice and health related services according to their needs. Our understanding of justice is based on a holistic view of people – psychological, physical, social and spiritual. We believe every Indigenous person’s story is linked to our people’s history and culture. As we work together, individuals and families are treated with dignity and respect. That is our commitment to them. https://nccabc.ca/ 

About Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association

The Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association supports active member Friendship Centres who, through program and service delivery, engage with and improve the quality of life for urban Indigenous people. Our priorities are guided by its member Friendship Centres and subsequent defined community needs. Indigenous cultural teachings, values and identity are at the core of ANFCA. We provide opportunities for cultural sharing, focused on bridging the gap between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews.  ANFCA is committed to creating effective, vibrant national and provincial partnerships, focused on collaboration and common goals. https://anfca.com 

About BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres 

The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) is the umbrella organization for the 25 Friendship Centres located throughout the province. BC Friendship Centres are not-for-profit, Indigenous-led, social service organizations that develop and deliver accessible programs and services to support Indigenous people living in urban areas and away from home to achieve their vision of health, wellness and prosperity. The BC Provincial Government estimates approximately 85% of Indigenous people in BC live off reserve or in urban areas. Collectively, BC Friendship Centres employ over 1,200 people and have over 600 community partnerships—making them the largest Indigenous service delivery infrastructure in the province. The BCAAFC works with Friendship Centres, partner organizations, and government institutions to establish best practices for Indigenous program delivery and advocate for equitable resource allocation for services by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people. https://bcaafc.com/ 

-30-

For more information, please contact:

Lena Chen

TELUS Public Relations

Lena.Chen@telus.com 

Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association

Joanne Mason

ANFCA Executive Director

director@anfca.com 

BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres

Ricki-Lee Jewell

Communications Coordinator

communications@bcaafc.com 

778-966-8571 

Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia

Darryl Shackelly

Executive Director

darryl@nccabc.net 

Prince George Native Friendship Centre

Barb Ward-Burkitt, Wahiyow Cawapata Scoo

M.Ed., O.B.C., Executive Director

bwardburkitt@pgnfc.com