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Expanding SchoolNet and the Community Access Program

http://www.schoolnet.ca/budget/cose/cos4e.html#sn

The Challenge

Canadians need to make the best use of the opportunities created by
information technology and networks.

The Action

The budget will provide an additional $205 million over three years to
expand and extend SchoolNet and the Community Access Program.

Through these programs, the federal government will work with
provinces and the private sector to put computers in more classrooms
and to create 5,000 Internet access sites in urban neighbourhoods, in
addition to the 5,000 sites already being put in place in rural
Canada.

These funds will also establish Voluntary Sector Network Supports -- a
program to enhance the capacity of voluntary organizations -- by
providing access to computer equipment, the Internet, new information
technologies, network supports and training.

The government will provide $55 million this year to the Canadian
Network for the Advancement of Research, Industry and Education
(CANARIE) to support the development of high speed networks.

Who Benefits?

Canadian children will have greater access to the learning
opportunities provided by todays information technology.

Through 10,000 network access sites, Canadians will have new
opportunities for lifelong learning.

What the Strategy Means to Canadians

The Canadian Opportunities Strategy provides the tools that will help
Canadians acquire the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for
jobs and that will deliver a higher standard of living in the 21st
century.

For children, it means bringing them in touch with the information
age through SchoolNet.

For post-secondary students, particularly those from low- and
middle-income families, it means access and opportunity through
scholarships, study grants and tax relief.

For graduate students and researchers, it means increased support
through the granting councils.

For individuals coping with student loan debt, it means tax relief on
interest payments and additional loan relief for those in financial
difficulty.

For youth facing difficulty in finding a job, it means work
experience, supported by wage subsidies and services, as well as an
EI premium holiday to employers to hire more young Canadians.

For adults seeking to renew their labour market skills -- whether
through university, community colleges or vocational and technical
institutes -- it means the opportunity to draw on their RRSPs through
tax-free withdrawals, and to benefit from tax relief for part-time
study.

For parents and grandparents, it means a Canada Education Savings
Grant that will make RESPs the best way to save for a child’s
future education.

For communities and schools across Canada, it means connecting them to
the knowledge society by expanding access to the Internet.

Acting on Shared Goals

The National Roundtable on Student Financial Assistance, whose
members represent students, universities and colleges as well as
faculty and student financial aid administrators, made a number of
recommendations to the government in November, 1997.

The Canadian Opportunities Strategy addresses almost all these
recommendations. The following chart compares the recommendations of
the National Roundtable with the Canadian Opportunities Strategy.

   National Roundtable on Student Financial Assistance

   Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
   Association of Canadian Community Colleges
   Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
   Canadian Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
   Canadian Association of University Teachers
   Canadian Federation of Students
   Canadian Graduate Council

National Roundtable on Student Financial Assistance The Canadian
Opportunities Strategy

Recommendation: Introduce a system of grants for high need students
or focus the Millennium Fund on needs of low- and moderate-income
students. Canada Millennium Scholarships for over 100,000 low- and
middle-income Canadians averaging $3,000 a year -- see page 20.

Recommendation: Implement special grants for needy students with
dependants. Canada Study Grants of up to $3,000 a year for needy
students with children or other dependants -- see page 22.

Recommendation: Allow people with student loans the option of
suspending principal payments, provide some borrowers with reformed
and graduated interest relief during a 3- to 5-year transition
period.

Improvements to the Canada Student Loans Program that raise the basic
thresholds for interest relief and provide graduated interest relief
further up the income scale, supporting 100,000 additional
individuals -- see page 26.

Recommendation: Provide for borrowers who demonstrate significant
difficulties in repaying their debt after the transition period with
some form of debt reduction, taking into account both the
individuals ability to pay and the level of debt. For graduates
in serious financial difficulty, the loan amortization period is
extended in order to lower monthly payments and, if required, debt is
reduced based on the persons income and debt load -- see page
28.

Recommendation: Make student loan payments tax deductible or convert
interest paid into a tax credit. Tax relief for interest on student
loans -- see page 26.

Recommendation: Allow individuals to withdraw RRSP funds without a
tax penalty for their own education. Tax-free withdrawals from RRSPs
for lifelong learning -- see page 30.

Recommendation: Make contributions to RESPs tax deductible. A new
Canada Education Savings Grant of 20 per cent on the first $2,000 of
annual contributions to an RESP -- see page 34.

Recommendation: Introduce a work-study program to allow students to
earn while they learn. Increases assistance for advanced research and
graduate students through increased funding for the three granting
councils -- see page 23.

Extends education tax credit and child care expense deduction to
part-time students -- see pages 31, 32.

Supports youth employment by more than doubling funding for youth at
risk and by providing employers with an EI premium holiday for
additional young Canadians hired in 1999 and 2000 -- see pages 39,
38.

Increases funding for SchoolNet, Community Access Program and CANARIE
to bring information technology into more schools and communities --

Copies of this booklet and other information regarding the Canadian
Opportunities Strategy will be available at post-secondary
institutions across Canada.

Copies of this brochure and other budget papers can also be obtained
from:

   Distribution Centre
   Department of Finance
   300 Laurier Ave. West
   Ottawa, Ontario
   K1A 0G5

   Tel.: (613) 995-2855
   Fax: (613) 996-0518

---------------

Also in this issue:

- Expanding SchoolNet and the Community Access Program
    The Challenge
    Canadians need to make the best use of the opportunities created by
    information technology and networks.
    The Action
    The budget will provide an additional $205 million over three years to
    expand and extend SchoolNet and the Community Access Program.
- Cincinnati Bell tries fast Net 
    Another telecommunications carrier today announced testing of
    high-speed Net access over copper wires--this time,
    () Cincinnati Bell in parts of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. 
- Baptist and Gay? What a Mix!
    For years, the University Baptist Church (UBC) in Austin, Texas,
    has welcomed gays and lesbians into its fold. Four years ago they even
    ordained an openly homosexual deacon. Although University Baptist's
    activities ran counter to traditional Baptist teachings, the Baptist
    General Convention of Texas (BGCT) allowed it to go on. At least
    until the convention saw University Baptist's web page. Yesterday,
    the executive committee of the General Convention voted to kick
    University Baptist out. 
- Will Everyone Guess "The Password?"
    Ever wished that you could create your own Web magazines tailored to
    your specific interests and that these magazines dubbed "mini-Webs"
    could be shared with friends and others on the Web? Well, now they
    can.
- New Lists and Journals
    1) All About the Internet
    2) Jewish Heritage Online Magazine
    3) Microbial Ecology
    4) SENDIT Newsletter
    5) Roadstop
    6) Computer Retail Week
    7) Networks: An On-Line Journal for Teacher Research
    8) Multimedia Systems
    9) Neurogenetics
   10) Pediatric and Developmental Pathology
   11) Pediatric Surgery International
   12) Heizung Lueftung/Klima Haustechnik
   13) Ingenieur-Werkstoffe


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