iPad Mini Initiative Supports New Parents in the Northwest Territories

A ground-breaking pilot program that provided new parents and caregivers in the Northwest Territories with iPad Minis pre-loaded with health-related tools and information to help them care for their children has now become a permanent program.

On April 12, the Government of the Northwest Territories officially launched the iPad Mini Initiative, announcing it will make the portable devices available to all new parents or primary caregivers who apply to the program and have a child 0-6 months.

The initiative, supported by Chevron Canada and Chevron Corporation, is believed to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

Rod Maier, Chevron Canada’s manager of Policy, Government and Public Affairs (far left), and Alfred Moses, minister of Education, Culture and Employment for the Government of the Northwest Territories (far right), with new parents at the iPad Mini Initiative launch event on April 12 in Yellowknife.

The iPads provide a wealth of pre-loaded early childhood development resources and information to support parenting, as well as online access to existing early childhood development programs and services. They also include unique cultural and language apps that will help a new generation to engage with and preserve native languages.  

All information provided on the iPad Minis has been recommended from northern elders, leaders, parents and families, early childhood consultants, and has been verified by experts.

Valuable Parenting Information

“I am very pleased to see this project launch today, with our partner, Chevron Canada. Through all of the research, engagements and feedback, we knew this initiative would be a helpful and accessible tool in the hands of new parents and caregivers, especially those in smaller communities without consistent access to early childhood programming,” Alfred Moses, minister of Education, Culture and Employment, said at the launch event in Yellowknife.

“With Chevron Canada’s generous support of this vision, we have, to date, put nearly 300 iPads with valuable parenting information in the hands of new parents across the Northwest Territories.”

Rod Maier, Chevron Canada’s manager of Policy, Government and Public Affairs, said: “The NWT iPad Mini for New Parents and Primary Caregivers Initiative supports key social investment themes for Chevron Canada – aboriginal health and education. This is an innovative partnership with the potential to make a meaningful difference in the health of the children in the NWT.”

Program Background

The iPad Mini Initiative emerged from extensive research and engagements with elders, community and education leaders, parents, families, and early childhood consultants. Both the research and the feedback from engagements identified a critical need to provide credible information to new parents and caregivers to help them navigate the first few months of their child’s life.

In November 2013, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) partnered with Chevron Canada on the initiative. Chevron provided funding for a project manager to oversee the implementation, as well as the first 500 iPad Minis for distribution to new parents and primary caregivers throughout the NWT.

At the end of March 2015 a pilot project was introduced with 100 iPad Minis distributed throughout the NWT to new parents and primary caregivers. The pilot was an essential step in ensuring program delivery and development would be successful.

“Overwhelming feedback from parents and caregivers during the pilot phase indicates that these apps are useful resources, particularly for those in smaller communities,” said Moses.

Chevron Canada has a long history in Northern Canada and has supported early childhood education and youth programs in the past.