BY PAMELA FAYERMAN
Telus is ranked 20th in the Corporate Knights best corporate citizen index for 2020, behind other B.C. headquartered companies like MEC (1), VanCity (8), BC Hydro (12), and Fortis (14).
With its TELUS Mobility for Good for Seniors program launching today, it may well move up the ranks as deemed by all those taking such measures.
Expanding on its previous Mobility for Good program, the new offer is this time targeted to low-income pensioners. Telus is offering them free smartphones and subsidized monthly plans. Those who qualify are the 2.2 million Canadians who receive from the federal government a Guaranteed Income Supplement.
Spokeswoman Liz Sauve said even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a large proportion of seniors reported feeling lonely. Coupled with the fact that more than 12.5% of seniors live in poverty and “one can safely assume these challenges have only been amplified this year due to the global pandemic.
“Compounding this are the physical and mental health challenges associated with loneliness, particularly for seniors.”
The phones being offered to seniors are refurbished (formerly used) devices and the offer includes unlimited nationwide talk and text plus 3GB of data for $25 a month.
“Mobility for Good for Seniors will ensure more seniors have access to the technology they need to help address feelings of isolation, manage their mental wellbeing, stay connected to loved ones, enjoy their favourite online games and books, and access important healthcare resources and information,” said Sauve.
“We have not previously offered subsidized services to seniors. Our existing Mobility for Good program is focused on providing a free phone and data plan to youth transitioning out of foster care. While the name is similar, as it’s part of the same Connecting for Good portfolio of programs TELUS offers, the $25 per month plan for low-income seniors is new.”
There’s no cap on the amount of money Telus will spend on the program. Every senior across Canada who qualifies will be enrolled. Their devices will be mailed to them, said Telus spokesman Douglas Self.
To sign-up for the offer, seniors, their family members or caregivers should go to telus.com/mobilityforgoodseniors. It requires a piece of documentation proving the individual receives GIS. Once that is provided, a unique code will be sent to sign-up online or over the phone. After that, Telus will send the free smartphone and SIM card to activate the new plan.
Darren Entwistle, Telus president/CEO, said in a statement:
“At a time when the human connection has never been more important, Telus remains committed to ensuring all Canadians can stay connected to the people and information that matter the most. Throughout the pandemic, our globally leading network has enabled Canadians to work and learn remotely, access critical government resources, receive medical support, and stay in touch with family and friends. Our country’s seniors have contributed significantly to the fabric of this nation, having built and supported the infrastructure, economy, and social services that we enjoy today.
“Disconcertingly, these same elderly Canadians have been disproportionately impacted throughout the health emergency as many have had to isolate from loved ones and support networks in order to stay safe. Through Mobility for Good for Seniors, we are providing some of our most vulnerable Canadians with access to the vital tools and resources they need to stay safely and meaningfully connected, and in time for the holiday season.”