Le Mandalab

Information
Contact: 

Monique Chartrand

 

355 rue Peel suite 111

 

Montréal, Québec

H3C 2G9

Canada

 

 

Tel: +514 948-6644, 1 877 948-6644

 

monique.chartrand@communautique.qc.ca

 

 

Country: 
Canada

The Mandalab is a living lab network, hosted by Communautique. Communautique is a Montreal-based non-profit urban community network founded in 1995 to assist low-income individuals and families and other groups potentially excluded from participating in the information society. It provides Internet access and other ICT services and training throughout the province of Québec. Communautique has assisted with the installation of over 80 Internet access points. Until recently, Communautique also managed a CAP Youth Initiative (CAP-YI) program through which youth facilitators were hired in various communities to provide information and training sessions on the use of ICTs to socially marginalized populations, including low income, new immigrant and elderly individuals. Overall, Communautique’s Internet initiation and new technologies workshops have been attended by over 150,000 people, and have played an important role in combating the digital divide in Quebec society. Communautique also plays an active and visible role advocating on behalf of universal access and community networking issues. In 2002, for example, it issued its Plateforme Québécoise de l’Internet Citoyen, which articulated the basic principles of community networking – emphasizing the importance of overcoming the digital divide and enabling full participation in the information society - and called upon government to develop and implement policies and programs recognizing universal access as a basic right of citizenship and supporting the role played by community networks in democratizing the information society.

In addition, Communautique has raised public awareness of the potential impact of provincial government on-line initiatives on the voluntary sector and the populations its serves. Communautique was invited to present its actions as part of the Quebec delegation to the World Summit on Information Society in Tunis.

Communautique is also active in building ICT capacity within the voluntary sector itself in order to enable community groups to work more effectively to accomplish their goals. Communautique is actively involved in Industry Canada’s Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) program, which aims to increase the technological capacity of the voluntary sector in Canada.

Communautique is a founding member of the MAILLONS Network which brings together actors in the nonprofit sector interested in the development of the Internet in Quebec. The aim of that collective actor is to link Quebec to the world, in providing high speed Internet access at a reasonable price as well as to increase Internet access in Quebec regions where access is still limited.

Since 2006, Communautique has led a research program on digital inclusion based primarily on establishing a qualitative portrait of the inclusion/exclusion experience of Quebec disabled citizens and citizens who are at a low-level of literacy.

Communautique also sits on the Canada Telecommunities Council, whose goal is:

  • To ensure that all Canadians are able to participate in community-based communications and electronic information services by promoting and supporting local community network initiatives.
  • To represent and promote the Canadian community networking movement at the national and international level. 
The Council established the Internet for Everyone.ca campaign. Communautique calls for local action towards a Digital Plan for Quebec, Canada and in municipalities. The group recently published a Manifesto for a Quebec Digital Plan. 
In 2008-2009, Communautique held three open forums to raise public awareness about IT and citizenship. Approximately one hundred participants discussed how to promote causes of information and communication technologies, citizenship and democracy in Quebec society. Following that exercise, Communautique developed a strategic plan that led it to modify its mission statement. One aim of the group is to support citizen participation by promoting information literacy, appropriation of ICTs and contribution to their development. 
Communautique is now working to establish conditions favorable to the emergence of Canadian and Quebec open social innovation networks with citizen technologies from the perspective of Internet defined as a common public good.