SaskTel is aiming to help survivors of domestic violence in Saskatchewan with their Phones for a Fresh Start program. The program provides free access to cellular service for those fleeing domestic violence through one of 22 Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) programs and shelters. 

“People who do end up going to a shelter and fleeing often have never had control of their own device, or have never had a device, they could use to communicate with the rest of the world, and this can become a huge issue when they need that device,” explained Tim Jones, external communications manager with SaskTel.

The program is run in conjunction with PATHS by SaskTel. The shelters submit a request to the program, and it is fulfilled if they have the devices available. In the eleven years of the program, it has provided more than 3,500 new cell phones and over $89,000 in prepaid phone cards.

Funding for the program comes from SaskTel through the recycling of phones. SaskTel takes donations of unwanted cell phones, batteries and accessories and recycles them through an external company.

“Then what they’ll either resell that phone or resell those components to other manufacturers to make new phones, and then we’ll take those proceeds to purchase new devices for the people that we’re giving phones to,” added Jones.

Those wishing to donate phones to Phones for Fresh Start can simply drop off the device at all SaskTel stores, or your nearest authorized dealer. Financial donations can also be made directly to PATHS.