Bell expanding rural broadband to more locations with faster speeds

  • Wireless Home Internet to reach additional 80,000 homes by the end of 2020
  • Enhanced 50/10 speeds will now be available to 350,000 homes
  • Ramped up program enabled by government policy supporting network investment

MONTRÉAL, Sept. 11, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Bell today announced a further acceleration of its Wireless Home Internet rollout in rural Canada, including an expansion of enhanced 50/10 speeds to even more locations.

“Bell’s Wireless Home Internet has been a game changer for Canadians in rural communities, bringing full broadband Internet access to traditionally underserved areas and regions previously unserved by any carrier,” said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada. “The Wireless Home Internet program is fully funded by Bell but also enabled by a federal government policy environment that fosters investment in critical network infrastructure. With COVID-19 underscoring the critical importance of high-speed Internet access for Canadians everywhere, and government support for enhanced investment, Bell is dedicating even more resources into expanding and enhancing our WHI network rollout to rural Canada.”

On August 15, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains issued a statement regarding wholesale Internet rates set by the CRTC last year that are currently under review. Minister Bains made it clear the CRTC’s rates could “undermine investment in high-quality networks, particularly in rural and remote areas.” He added that “incentives for ongoing investment, particularly to foster enhanced connectivity for those who are unserved or underserved, are a critical objective of the overall policies governing telecommunications, including these wholesale rates.”

Bell’s Wireless Home Internet program
Bell is on track to deliver WHI coverage to almost 50% of our target footprint by the end of 2020 with service for an additional 80,000 rural homes. More than 350,000 homes will have immediate access to enhanced 50/10 Internet access speeds (50 Megabits per second download/10 Mbps upload).

Exclusive to Bell, the innovative WHI service leverages Bell’s fibre and wireless networks to efficiently deliver broadband Internet access to smaller towns, rural communities and other hard-to-reach locations. WHI is already available to approximately 400,000 households in Ontario and Québec and is expected to ultimately reach a million homes in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Québec, Ontario and Manitoba.

In response to COVID-19, Bell accelerated its WHI rollout plan to 137,000 more locations than originally planned. In July, Bell also announced it was doubling WHI download speeds to 50/10 this fall for approximately 300,000 homes and beginning our rollout in Atlantic Canada.

“We built WHI specifically to meet the needs of communities that have been tough to serve with traditional wireline and wireless connections, including the capacity for future upgrades that capitalize on innovations in 5G wireless as necessary spectrum becomes available,” said Stephen Howe, Bell’s Chief Technology Officer. “At the same time, we’re also continuing to roll our all-fibre network – the world’s fastest Internet technology – into more suburban and rural regions across Manitoba, Ontario, Québec and the Atlantic provinces. Together, Bell’s fibre and WHI networks are advancing how Canadians connect with each other and the world, no matter where they may live.”

Please visit to learn more about Wireless Home Internet.


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Unifor welcomes restoration of normal aluminum trade with the U.S.


September 15, 2020

TORONTO—Canada’s aluminum workers welcomed the removal of unfair U.S. tariffs and credit the federal government’s strong response for today’s win.

“This dispute was no doubt resolved thanks to the stance taken by Justin Trudeau’s government and the efforts led by Chrystia Freeland and Mary Ng,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “It was the impending countermeasures that helped U.S. trade representatives realize that Canada was not going to take this lying down.”

On August 16 the U.S. imposed tariffs on Canada’s exports of P1020 aluminum. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland responded by releasing an initial proposal of countermeasures and consulted with Canadian industry experts and Unifor.

“Workers on both sides of the border would lose in an aluminum trade war,” said Dias. “Canada has done nothing wrong to warrant aluminum tariffs. We welcome the resumption of normal trade relations.”

Unifor has repeatedly warned that tariffs on Canadian aluminum exports are an unfair attempt to help a handful of struggling U.S. producers and that tariffs cause harm to the wider American economy.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 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.

School bus system crisis continues due to government inaction

September 17, 2020

TORONTO – Unifor, Ontario’s largest school bus driver union, maintains that the crisis in the school bus system continues due to inaction by the provincial government.

“I hear Education Minister Stephen Lecce saying that his government is doing everything possible to address the driver shortage and concerns about safety aboard school buses but that simply isn’t the case,” said Debbie Montgomery, President of Unifor Local 4268. “While it’s true the province has designated some funds towards health and safety and driver retention the fundamental issue remains the lack of provincial standards to go with those dollars.”

As students return to schools across the province there are widespread school bus route cancellations happening in several jurisdictions.

As far back as July, Unifor warned that urgent action was needed to ensure that school buses would be able to return to their routes when classes resumed. On August 13, the union sent Premier Ford, Minister Lecce and Minister Mulroney a statement on behalf of drivers calling on the government to address five key concerns, including guaranteed access to PPE, limits on the number of passengers to allow for social distancing, and proper sanitation of busses.

Drivers reiterated that call during a media conference on August 25, where they shared their first hand knowledge of the variety of measures planned at different school bus carriers and school boards.

“We have been clear on driver’s concerns and they have yet to be addressed,” said Montgomery. “We have drivers receiving manifests with upwards of 70 kids on-board, no social distancing and instances where drivers are receiving inadequate PPE supplies, some of which are substandard quality. This is the result of throwing money at student transportation without a plan to enforce consistent standards.”

The majority of Ontario school bus drivers are above 60 years old, considered a higher risk group for COVID-19.

“Knowing the demographic of drivers, the government should be doing everything in its power in terms of COVID-19 safety protocols to maximize the number who feel safe to return and prevent the loss of additional drivers, which I guarantee will happen if they fail again to move on this,” said Montgomery.

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.

Unifor Hope in High Heels team support domestic violence victims

A Unifor team, led by Unifor National President Jerry Dias and his son Jordan, will participate this Saturday in the annual Halton Women’s Place ‘Hope in High Heels’ walk in support of victims of domestic violence.

“Due to the reality of COVID-19 the charity walk has been modified this year but team Unifor is determined to proceed,” said National President Jerry Dias. “Sadly the pandemic has also led to women and children being confined in their homes with their abusers with access to outside supports cut off. The need to provide a safe place and services for them is greater than ever.”

Halton’s Women Place provides shelter and crisis services for physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused women and their dependent children. The organization provides services to the Halton Region community in Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills and Oakville. It operates two emergency short-term shelters in Milton and Burlington and responds to more than 2,500 crisis calls each year.

“Jerry and Jordan, along with the Unifor team, have been true champions for ‘Hope in High Heels’. They are incredible ambassadors for Halton Women’s Place and truly want to be a part of the solution in ending violence against women. We are so grateful to be able to count on their support every year – especially this year when COVID-19 has put women experiencing domestic violence in more dangerous situations as they are isolated at home,” said Laurie Hepburn, Executive Director for Halton Women’s Place.

“We know that with this added awareness and advocacy we can reach more women who need our services and show them that groups like Unifor and men and boys, like Jerry and Jordan, support them.

Team Unifor will hold its fundraising walk Saturday September 19, 2020 at 11 a.m. at Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall. Last year team Unifor raised a record-breaking 126,000 in the Hope in High Heels walk and to date have raised more than $460,000 in total.

“I know times are tough this year for a lot of people but we’re asking those who can to help, every dollar makes a difference in the lives of families trying to escape abuse,” said Dias.

To make a tax deductible donation click here.

Unifor selects Ford Motor Company to set pattern in auto talks

September 8, 2020

TORONTO—Unifor National President Jerry Dias has chosen Ford Motor Company as the union’s strike target to set the pattern agreement with the Detroit Three automakers.

“I selected Ford because we think the company is prepared to reward our members, make a commitment to continue manufacturing in Canada, and has a vision that we think is in the best interest of the industry and the economy,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President, speaking at a news conference streamed live on Unifor’s Facebook page. “Worldwide we have seen more than $300 billion dollars announced for electric vehicle production and not one dime is destined for Canada. Our members want that to change.”

For decades, it has been the union’s practice to strategically choose which of the three Detroit Three companies the union will negotiate with first—setting a pattern agreement for auto workers in Canada. There are multiple factors considered by the union, in consultation with the master bargaining committees, in making this decision, based on two key goals: building Canada’s auto industry and achieving the union’s bargaining objectives.

Once an agreement with the target company is ratified by members, bargaining shifts to a second company, and then the third.

“The Oakville assembly plant is the last of Ford’s assembly plants left in Canada and has no firm product commitment beyond the current generation of the Ford Edge. This is a significant problem for our members and it should be a concern for all levels of government,” said Dias.

“Our members are pleased to go first and want to forge their own destiny, which is why we have worked hard to build a productive relationship with this employer,” said John D’Agnolo, Chair of the Ford Master Bargaining Committee and President of Unifor Local 200.

Unifor represents 6,300 workers at Ford Motor Company, 9,000 workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and 4,100 at General Motors.

Unifor opened formal contract talks in Toronto on August 12th, with the theme The Future is Made in Canada. The union has repeatedly urged the federal government to create  a comprehensive manufacturing strategy for the auto sector, given that every auto assembly job creates or supports as many as 10 additional jobs throughout the economy.

A digital media kit be found on this website and a downloadable 4K version of today’s news conference is available to media upon request.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 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.