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Canada Life contributes $25,000 to Pathways to Education to support virtual learning during COVID-19

September 24, 2020

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Gift helps low-income students connect to class with internet access, devices

Winnipeg, MB, September 24, 2020. . . Canada Life today announced a $25,000 donation to Pathways to Education’s Disconnected Youth campaign, to help provide low-income high school students with technology and internet access during this unusual and challenging school year. The Pathways Program gives youth a holistic combination of academic, financial, social and one-on-one supports to help them overcome barriers to education and graduate from high school.

“With so many schools shifting to be delivered online, we recognize that some families face difficult budgeting choices, especially when it comes to buying devices and providing internet so their children can attend class remotely,” said Jeff Macoun, President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada, for Canada Life. “That’s why we made this donation – to provide students with important technology, internet access and financial support so they’re set up for success this school year.”

Many families across the country have experienced job losses due to the pandemic. According to Pathways to Education, this has put a significant burden on many students, who must now prioritize part-time work ahead of their education to help support their families. Moreover, many students who used to rely on their school or library to use a computer and the internet can no longer do so with social distancing measures in place. These challenges put students living in low-income communities at further disadvantage by widening the existing achievement gap.

Pathways to Education responded quickly to minimize this impact by adapting their program to address the individual needs of students and working with local partners to provide devices to those who need them. Pathways to Education also developed a low-bandwidth video platform to help students with limited or unreliable internet access to maintain a connection to Pathways staff and tutors.

"We are extremely grateful for Canada Life’s generous donation, which comes at a critical time for Pathways youth,” says Sue Gillespie, President and CEO of Pathways to Education Canada. “The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected students living in low-income communities and the impact of existing barriers has been amplified. Canada Life’s support will allow us to accelerate our innovation work to address the evolving needs of students in real-time, giving them access to the tools and resources they need to overcome this disruption and stay focused on their education.”

Pathways to Education currently supports over 6,000 students per year in 20 low-income communities across the country. Canada Life’s long-standing support of Pathways to Education’s innovation strategy enables the organization to invest in new and expanded solutions to scale its impact and help more students graduate from high school and build the foundation for a successful future.

About The Canada Life Assurance Company

Canada Life is a leading insurance, wealth management and benefits provider focused on improving the financial, physical and mental well-being of Canadians. For more than 170 years, individuals, families and business owners across Canada have trusted us to provide sound guidance and deliver on the promises we’ve made.

As of January 1, 2020, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life became one company – Canada Life, and today, we proudly serve more than 13 million customer relationships from coast to coast to coast.

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About Pathways to Education

Pathways to EducationOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window is a national, charitable organization breaking the cycle of poverty through education. Its award-winning program is creating positive social change by supporting youth living in low-income communities to overcome barriers to education, graduate from high school, and build the foundation for a successful future. Through the collective power of partnerships, Pathways to Education’s innovative program is preparing youth for tomorrow.

For more information contact:

Liz Kulyk
Assistant Vice-President, Media & Public Affairs
Canada Life 
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Nicola Marr
Communications Manager
Pathways to Education Canada
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