Bell doubling rural Internet download speeds with Wireless Home Internet, service expanding to rural Atlantic Canada

  • First 300,000 households to access 50/10 speeds starting this fall
  • Wireless Home Internet also expanding to rural regions of Atlantic Canada
  • 5G rural Internet access to launch following federal spectrum auction

MONTRÉAL, July 23, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Bell today announced its Wireless Home Internet (WHI) service for rural Canada will increase Internet download speeds to up to 50 Megabits per second and uploads to 10 Mbps (50/10) this fall while also expanding to rural communities throughout Atlantic Canada this fall.

“Leading the way in delivering broadband Internet access to rural Canada is a core part of Bell’s goal to advance how Canadians connect with each other and the world, and we’ve made remarkable progress in narrowing the digital divide with Bell Wireless Home Internet. We’re pleased to take this unique technology further by doubling Internet download speeds available to rural communities while also beginning our rollout of WHI service throughout Atlantic Canada,” said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada.

“Bell’s continued investment in building the best networks has been critical to Canada’s management of COVID-19’s impact and will be key to the country’s ongoing recovery. The intense usage of Wireless Home Internet and positive feedback from our rural customers throughout the COVID-19 crisis underscored how important fast and reliable broadband connections are to ensuring communities both large and small will be part of Canada’s move forward. To meet the needs of our rural customers, Bell accelerated our service rollout in response to the unprecedented demand, bringing WHI service to 137,000 more households than anticipated by the end of April,” said Mr. Bibic.

The new 50/10 WHI service will initially be offered to approximately 300,000 homes in 325 communities in Ontario, Québec and the Atlantic provinces starting this fall. Some of the first communities that will receive 50/10 service include: Selwyn, Trent Hills and Wilmot in Ontario; Dunham, Messines, Saint Adolphe d’Howard and Sutton in Québec; Doaktown, New Brunswick; Guysborough, Nova Scotia; Kensington, PEI; and Burgeo, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Fully funded by Bell, the Wireless Home Internet program is designed to bring broadband Internet access to homes in rural communities and other hard-to-reach locations by leveraging the scale of Bell’s high-performance wireless networks – which will include upgrades to 5G service as necessary wireless spectrum is made available by the federal government.

“As the key builder of Canada’s network infrastructure, Bell developed Wireless Home Internet specifically to ensure that rural Canada can share in all the opportunities of our digital future,” said Stephen Howe, Bell’s Chief Technology Officer. “Wireless Home Internet is ready to enable all the speed and capacity capabilities of fixed 5G Internet access in future by leveraging additional 3500 MHz spectrum following the federal wireless spectrum auction in 2021.”

Already available to approximately 400,000 households in Ontario and Québec with download speeds of 25 Mbps, Bell’s Wireless Home Internet service is expected to ultimately reach 1 million homes in smaller towns and rural communities across Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Québec, Ontario and Manitoba. Please visit to learn more.

Bell Let’s Talk launches new fund to support mental health and well-being of Canada’s Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities

  • $5 million Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund now accepting expressions of interest
  • Inaugural funding for Black Youth Helpline and National Association of Friendship Centres
  • Building on other Bell Let’s Talk funds focused on Canada’s diverse communities

MONTRÉAL, July 30, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Bell today announced the launch of a $5 million Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund to support the mental health and well-being of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities across Canada. Building on earlier funds to address clear needs in Canadian communities, the new program is focused on supporting initiatives that increase access to culturally informed mental health services for racialized Canadians.

“Bell has taken a strong stance against racism and social injustice and we’re taking meaningful action to address the impacts of systemic racism on Black, Indigenous and People of Colour within our company and across our communities,” said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada. “As part of this commitment, I am pleased to announce the new $5 million Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund specifically focused on supporting BIPOC communities.”

“Working with expert advisors and partners, the Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund will offer grants to organizations working to make a positive and lasting difference for BIPOC communities in every region of the country,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “As our mental health initiative evolves, Bell Let’s Talk continues to embrace new opportunities to deliver culturally informed community supports addressing the mental health needs of racialized Canadians.”

Inaugural partnerships

The Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund is launching today with inaugural donations of $250,000 to these organizations:

  • Black Youth Helpline, a volunteer-driven initiative founded in Winnipeg that supports Black youth and their families across Canada with a focus on education, health and community development.
  • National Association of Friendship Centres, the network of more than 100 local Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations throughout Canada providing culturally enhanced services for urban and off-reserve Indigenous people.

“With funding from Bell Let’s Talk, Black Youth Helpline will build on its successful history of services and resources to promote access to professional and culturally appropriate support for youth,” said Barbara Thompson, Founder and Executive Director, Black Youth Helpline. “Now more than ever, the importance of having mental health supports and services available to Black youth across Canada is crucial.”

“The National Association of Friendship Centres is excited to begin a partnership with Bell Let’s Talk to support the mental health and well-being of urban Indigenous communities,” said Jocelyn Formsma, Executive Director of NAFC. “We are thrilled that this funding will help to ensure our communities have access to culturally-specific mental health supports.”

The Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund will provide grants of up to $250,000 for organizations that offer culturally informed and evidence-based mental health and wellness programs for BIPOC communities while also aligning with the 4 action pillars of Bell Let’s Talk: Anti-Stigma, Care and Access, Research and Workplace Leadership. Registered charities and not-for-profit groups wishing to apply for grants can learn more about the fund and submit expressions of interest at

Expert advisors and partners

Bell Let’s Talk is engaging with a wide range of advisors from BIPOC communities across Canada including mental health experts and people with lived experience. These leaders will provide guidance, including on direction and priorities, as well as the review process for expressions of interest received by the new fund.

“Mental health has long been one of the top priorities for the Black population of Canada,” said Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Director of Health Equity at CAMH, Professor and Co-Director of the Division of Equity Gender and Population in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and CEO of the Wellesley Institute. “The impacts of COVID-19 have made mental health even more important. I am delighted that Bell Let’s Talk has recognized the specific mental health needs of the Black population of Canada with this new initiative.”

“As a Friend of Bell Let’s Talk and a member of the Inuit community in Iqaluit, I am thrilled that this fund will help provide much needed mental health supports and services for the BIPOC community,” said Melynda Ehaloak, Registered Nurse and mental health advocate. “Funding for culturally specific programs is so important to supporting the mental health of our communities and will help ensure the well-being of future generations.”

“Recent events, including COVID-19, which has taken a heavy toll in Black communities, and the international awareness of the effects of systemic racism, have highlighted the importance of the availability of mental health care for Canada’s Black population,” said Dr. Myrna Lashley, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. “The Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund’s aim of promoting and supporting the mental health of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, is one I am very happy to endorse.”

“Indigenous communities across Canada are engaged in reclaiming and expressing traditional and cultural ways of knowing, being and doing that support our peoples’ mental health and wellness,” said Dr. Arlene Laliberté, a psychologist in Timiskaming First Nation. “I am pleased that Bell Let’s Talk is committing to combat systemic racism that impacts Indigenous peoples’ wellness every day.”

“Experiencing mental health and addiction issues as a member of the Black community makes getting appropriate and timely support even more difficult,” said Paulette Walker, Peer / Community Support Worker at CAMH. “I applaud Bell Let’s Talk for putting a spotlight on the mental health and well-being of racialized and marginalized communities and investing to create positive change.”

In addition to the broad national Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund supporting a diverse range of grassroots mental health initiatives in every province and territory, Bell Let’s Talk has launched funds for Indigenous mental health initiatives in Canada’s northern territories and in Manitoba, which have provided grants to leading organizations such as Embrace Life Council, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Ogijiita Pimatiswin KinamatwinBear Clan Patrol, Behavioural Health Foundation, Strongest Families Institute and Peguis Foundation.

The largest-ever corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, Bell Let’s Talk is focused on 4 key action pillars – Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Research and Workplace Leadership. Since its launch in 2010, Bell Let’s Talk has partnered with more than 1,000 organizations providing mental health supports and services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations. To learn more, please visit

Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing advanced broadband wireless, TV, Internet and business communication services throughout the country. Bell Media is Canada’s premier content creation company with leading assets in television, radio, out of home and digital media. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). To learn more, please visit or



Canadian singer-songwriter, Sarah Harmer, performing Facebook concert session in support of “CARE NOT PROFITS” advocacy campaign to reinvest profits back into the long-term care system

July 27, 2020

TORONTO — On Thursday, July 30 at 8:00pm EDT, Canadian singer-songwriter, Sarah Harmer, will perform a Facebook Live concert session in support of the “Care Not Profits” advocacy campaign to end for-profit long-term care delivery in Ontario. The platinum selling artist is adding her voice to the growing chorus of families demanding an end to the for-profit long-term care system that witnessed millions of dollars of profits flow to private shareholders while workers and seniors suffered and died during the pandemic. The virtual performance will invite fans to add their name to a petition to Premier Ford at


“I’m angry that the profit motive was brought into our provincial long-term care system, and now private companies are profiting from neglect. I support these healthcare workers, their unions and the elderly people in our communities. We need a better long-term care system now.” – Sarah Harmer, artist, activist.

“Sarah Harmer is lifting up this campaign with her voice, its inspiring. Premier Ford can no longer ignore the growing number of families calling for an end to for-profit long-term care. Healthcare workers and families need better work and care conditions more than corporations need bigger profits. It’s that simple.” – Sharleen Stewart, President, SEIU Healthcare

“It’s a testament to the power of this campaign that we’re able to partner with artists who value seniors and their care givers and who are willing to lend their voice and talents to this important cause. Because of partnerships like this and the overwhelming support from our communities, we can win an end to for-profit care.” – Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE Ontario

“We are honoured our joint union call to action has inspired a great Canadian artist like Sarah Harmer to use her voice in support of long-term care residents and workers. The call to end for-profit long-term care is about where our society places value – the dignity of people must always come before profits. The more voices joining the call to end for-profit care, the harder it will be for Doug Ford to ignore.” – Jerry Dias, National President, Unifor


During the COVID-19 crisis, Ontario’s worst hit nursing homes were all for-profit facilities. Data tells us that for-profit long-term care corporations have 17 per cent fewer staff than non-profit nursing homes. Yet, while families and care staff were dying throughout the pandemic, three of the largest long-term care businesses combined paid shareholders more than $58 million in dividends in the past three months alone. These are facts.

The new, 60-second ad called “Care not Profits” launched during the Toronto Blue Jays season opener on July 24th against the Tampa Bay Rays.

To view the ad and learn more, visit

The full, high-definition broadcast from this morning’s campaign launch, including the 60-second ad, is available for media to download here:


Dominion store workers deliver overwhelming strike mandate

July 24, 2020

ST. JOHN’S – Unifor members at Dominion grocery stores across Newfoundland have delivered an overwhelming 94% strike mandate, after negotiations with Loblaw Companies Limited have failed to produce a new collective agreement.

“These frontline workers have stepped up to serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic but Dominion continues to deny them full-time jobs and fair pay,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

The union has set a strike deadline a week from today at 12:01 a.m. Friday July 31, 2020.

“Last year Dominion cut 60 full-time positions at stores in Newfoundland while its parent company Loblaw raked in more than $1 billion in net profits,” said Carolyn Wrice, President of Unifor Local 597. “Now Loblaw has stripped pandemic pay from these essential workers despite the ongoing risk of COVID-19 while they refuse to offer a fair wage increase during contract negotiations.”

Yesterday, Loblaw announced $162 million in second quarter net profits, bringing total 2020 profits to nearly half a billion dollars and likely on pace to break the $1 billion profit mark by year’s end.

“Sadly, the company used its quarterly results as an opportunity to blame the $2 pandemic pay and COVID-19 protective equipment for frontline workers as an excuse for a dip in the corporation’s overall net profit,” said Dias. “It speaks to the sheer greed of Loblaw management that they begrudge a meager increase for workers that make less than $15 an hour for the most part despite the fact that sales at its grocery stores increased a whopping 10% over last year.”

“We want to thank the public for their unwavering support during the pandemic and we ask them to stand by us as we seek secure jobs, decent wages and better working conditions at Dominion stores across Newfoundland,” said Wrice. “There is still an opportunity for Loblaw to do the right thing and come to the table with a decent offer that shows these workers the respect that they deserve.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Take action for racial justice on Emancipation Day

To mark the August 1st Day of Emancipation, Unifor is holding a Day of Action for Racial Justice across Canada that includes workplace and online actions on July 31st. As part of the effort, Unifor has created and distributed t-shirts that read “2020 Civil Rights Movement. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

In order to make the day as successful as possible, Unifor leadership is encouraging members to share photos and videos of their actions and individual members wearing our t-shirts and participating in local and online events to social media platforms using the hashtag #Unifor4RacialJustice. As well, Unifor members are encouraged to share photos and videos with Unifor’s Communications Department at

On July 31 Unifor members and locals plant to hold the following events where possible and take the following actions:

As trade unionists, we must continue to work towards combating discrimination in all its forms. We must continue to organize, educate and take action in our workplaces and our communities.