How do you file your taxes? Pay your bills? Reload your Presto pass (if you live in Toronto)? Pay your parking tickets (if you’re me!) Sign up for courses? Find that dream job posting? Order groceries? Learn about special offers and discounts?
It’s a dumb question: you use your laptop or desktop and probably a high-speed broadband service you hate paying for, but you just do.
So, at reBOOT Canada, since 1995, we’ve been trying to perfect a system to serve the under-served. About 950,000 families in Ontario alone currently rely on social assistance to get by, and we want to make sure they have access to a personal computer – so they can stay connected, go back to school, look for work, book doctor’s appointments and shorten the time that they need the assistance.
We take laptops and desktops – some donated, and some purchased – fully test and refurbish them (reBOOT Canada is a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher), then load them with licensed copies of Windows and Office (thanks to Microsoft’s support of charitable Technology Access Programs). Folks fill out and submit their application at www.rebootcanada.ca/restart and in 2 weeks they pick up their fully warrantied, tested and licensed very own computer. To make sure the program is sustainable long term, the units have a $195 tax included costs recovery fee, which virtually everyone is cool with – particularly because it means someone else down the road will be able to get a computer too. Specs and models vary, but the usual Dells, HP and Lenovo units come through with a minimum i3 processor, 250 HD, 4 gb RAM – enough to get you going.
The charitable and not-for-profit sector makes a vital contribution to communities and helping organizations that help people is another important part of our mission. Small social enterprises, not for profits, charities and other community-facing organizations can get their IT equipment from reBOOT Canada, save money that they can direct towards their programming. We have amazing clients, like Parkdale Activity and Recreation Centre, The George Hull Centre for Children, Holland-Bloorview, Alliance for South Asian Aids Prevention, Anishnawbe Health Toronto and many others.
We deploy hundreds of computers every year from our Brick Works, Peterborough and Mississauga locations helping hundreds of people and organizations. Besides helping the environment by refurbishing computers instead of using new ones, the testing, repair and refurbishment work provides skills development opportunities. We’re currently working with Miziwe Biik in Toronto to fill paid placements through our Youth Tool Kit program, where indigenous youth in Toronto are hired to learn about computer repair, service and sales and operating a small business at our Brick Works location.
Probably one of the best parts of working at reBOOT Canada is listening to what folks are planning to do with their computers – learning Python, becoming a dental assistant, finding a place to live, getting their kids set up for grade 4 – it’s a real privilege to be able to help Canadians along in their journeys.