Mark Goldberg

A bigger purpose

There was an inspirational message delivered by Rogers CEO Joe Natale during last week’s 1Q20 Investment Community Teleconference [transcript pdf, 261KB].

But there is a bigger purpose for corporations and individuals in this environment. It requires doing as much as we can to support our customers and our communities at large. We are not immune to the short term pressures, but we can certainly respond by providing extra support to the best of our abilities. Our customers have chosen us as their communications provider and we take that responsibility very seriously.

A bigger purpose for corporations and individuals in this environment. Doing as much as we can to support our customers and our communities.

He continued, describing some of the measures that Rogers has introduced as part of its “Forward Together” program:

  • lifting daily usage caps for home internet plans, so customers don’t have to worry about overage charges;
  • waiving Canadian long distance voice calling fees for homes and small businesses, so customers can check in on loved ones and keep in touch with customers without worrying about extra charges;
  • offering a free rotating selection of channels to keep viewers and families entertained with additional hours at home;
  • adding more flexible payment options and a commitment that customers will remain connected to the service, so nobody has to worry about losing their digital lifeline;
  • waiving Roam Like Home, Fido Roam, and pay-per-use roaming fees from March 16 to April 30 in more than 180 countries, helping more than 150,000 Canadians stay
    connected at no additional cost while they made their way home from abroad;
  • working with the Government of Ontario, local school boards in the province, and Apple to offer iPads with wireless data at no cost to help students in need who don’t have the tools for online learning;
  • partnering with Food Banks Canada to donate over 1 million meals and are leveraging the power of our radio and TV assets to reach over 30 million people every week in an awareness campaign to help fill the shelves with food;
  • providing smartphones in collaboration with Samsung and offering six months of free wireless service to Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada so vulnerable young people can stay connected to their mentors and their schoolwork;
  • partnered with Women’s Shelters of Canada to help make devices and plans available and help raise awareness of’s services, available through ads all across our digital and social platforms.

These measures are on top of the heroics by front-line workers who are keeping the factories – our communications devices and networks – running under extreme traffic volumes and challenging conditions.

Most of Canada’s communications industry has demonstrated admirable corporate leadership during these early days of the pandemic as described in a blog post by Canada’s Wireless Association (“The Telecom Industry Responds to COVID-19”). As the Investor Conference Call remarks continued,

Now like never before, we all appreciate the importance of staying connected. Canadians across the country and governments have recognized that telecommunications is an essential service. We serve as the lifeline that binds our nation together. We take our responsibility seriously and are proud to be working closer than ever with our government partners to support Canadians through this challenging moment, and that won’t change. Our networks power the business and the services that are getting Canadians through these difficult times. When we come through the other side, we will still be there for Canadians.

The global health crisis calls for corporations and individuals to demonstrate a commitment to a bigger purpose, doing as much as we all can to support our communities. Canada’s communications companies have answered that call and are delivering on that commitment to support the communities in which they operate.

As I recently commented on Twitter, I continue to take pride in being associated with this sector.

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