CIRA announces $1.25 million in funding to improve Canadian internet infrastructure, online access and digital literacy

Blog June 3, 2019

Posted by Eryca

CIRA announces $1.25 million in funding to improve Canadian internet infrastructure, online access and digital literacy Featured Image

On May 30, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority announced 21 organizations from across Canada that will receive a grant from its Community Investment Program. This annual program supports Canadian not-for-profits, charities and academic institutions doing good things for and through the Canadian internet.

To date, CIRA has provided $6.7 million in grants for 151 projects that improve digital literacy, internet infrastructure, access and online services.

“CIRA has an ambitious goal to build a better online Canada and we know this can’t be achieved on our own,” said David Fowler, vice president of marketing and communications at CIRA. “The Community Investment Program supports initiatives that bring the internet to Canadians, help them get online, and then make the most of their online experiences. We’re proud of the many organizations we’ve funded over the years, including these latest recipients.”

Here are a few noteworthy recipients:

  • AI for Education is an initiative led by the non-profit Actua in Ottawa, who will provide elementary and high school teachers with a handbook and training on how to incorporate accessible artificial intelligence (AI) lessons in their classroom.
  • Mamawapowin Community Network will be upgrading and expanding wireless infrastructure in Samson Cree First Nation, in Alberta.
  • Providing internet access and digital literacy to the homeless – Orillia Christian Centre is leading a project that will provide internet access and digital literacy training to the homeless and those with limited income.

To learn more about the Community Investment Program, visit

About CIRA’s Community Investment Program

CIRA is building a better online Canada through the Community Investment Program by funding charities, not-for-profits and members of the academic community who are making the internet better for all Canadians. CIRA is best known for our role managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. While this remains our primary mandate, as a member-based not-for-profit ourselves, we have a much broader goal to strengthen Canada’s internet. The Community Investment Program is one of our most valuable contributions toward this goal and funds projects in digital literacy, online services, research and infrastructure. Every .CA domain name registered or renewed contributes to this program. To date CIRA has contributed $6.7 million in Community Investment Program grants.


 Grant recipients 2019  

British Columbia

LifeCycles Project Society – The Gleaning Hub
The Gleaning Hub will provide non-profit and grassroots gleaning initiatives across Canada access to a sophisticated online database and organizing tool. More efficiency means larger harvests, more connectivity and more food finding its way to those who need it most.                                           


Mamawapowin Technology Society – Community Wireless Network
The Mamawapowin Community Network (MCN) will install upgraded and expanded infrastructure in the community of Samson Cree First Nation strengthening an accessible wireless network that will reach every household. The MCN network will ensure no resident is left behind through digital literacy education and technology training with high quality community connectivity.  


Saskatoon Internet Exchange (YXEIX) – Infrastructure Growth
With the continued growth of the Saskatoon Internet Exchanges (YXEIX) there’s a need for a second peering location in the heart of Saskatoon’s business and financial district. This second peering location, facilitated through a partnership with the City of Saskatoon, will mitigate the limited network transport options in crossing the South Saskatchewan River.

College of Education, University of Saskatchewan – Nêhiyawê Instructional Syntax Online
The Nisotak application will provide language instruction and exercises for learning Nêhiyawê (Cree) word and sentence formation. The project will develop a database of morphemes and syntax rules, a back-end interface for updating the database, and a front-end interface for learning and practicing Cree through engaging and culturally relevant activities.

Saskatchewan Youth in Care and Custody – Digital Tools for Transitions for Youth in Government Care
Youth in care in Canada deserve high quality digital tools to support their successful transitioning to flourishing adult citizenship. Our goal is to build and test a specific prototype app, co-designed with youth to support youth-centered digital preparations for more successful transitions from care. Primary beneficiaries will include youth in and from government care, and support persons who work with these young people in the province of Saskatchewan.


Winnipeg Metropolitan Region – Fibre Optics: Connecting to Opportunity
This project is helping Winnipeg Metropolitan Region leaders provide access to high-speed internet services in underserviced municipalities and Indigenous communities in an equitable way, creating economic opportunities for all residents and businesses through reliable and affordable internet services.

Brandon University – Indigenizing cybersecurity education and knowledge
Most research in cybersecurity education uses analogies: sealed envelopes, boxes locked with padlocks, and the use of signatures, seals, or fingerprints. This project will Indigenize the cybersecurity research and education landscape by travelling to Indigenous rural communities to facilitate discussions surrounding online privacy, through broad-interest workshops focused on social media. It’s aimed at everyone from youth to Elders in the community to develop a culturally relevant cybersecurity education framework.

Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada – Oral history digital portal

This online portal will provide access to oral history recordings exploring the history of Jewish life in Western Canada. This collection provides an unparalleled insight into Canada’s history covering religion, labour, music, theatre, business, politics among other topics.


Actua – AI for Education: Supporting teacher training
Artificial intelligence is prevalent in today’s digital world and essential for youth to understand. This initiative equips K-12 educators with a handbook and training to teach students to be responsible digital citizens, and ultimately become creative and responsible producers of new technologies.

Renfrew Public Library – Hotspots and homework hubs
This initiative will allow all residents the chance to become engaged and connected to their communities through the use of technology and the internet. Children from all socioeconomic backgrounds will have the opportunity to borrow, explore and engage with technology outside of a school setting through hotspots and homework hubs.

Niagara Falls Public Library Board – Expanding access to equipment and WiFi
Expanding free WiFi service and loaning laptops at all four locations of the Niagara Falls Public Library will create a more connected and engaged community. This will increase access to a multitude of online resources for continuous learning, personal growth and development.

Orillia Christian Centre – Providing internet access and digital literacy to the homeless
There are social barriers to internet access for the homeless, vulnerable and those with limited income. This project will create a friendly supportive environment within a campus of services for learning internet skills within a new, computer setting, open to all facing barriers to accessing the internet.

Project Neutral – Cultivating carbon neutral Canadians
Young Canadians are deeply concerned about climate change. Project Neutral will empower school-aged Canadians to measure their carbon footprint and give them tools to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their lives and communities. This project leverages Project Neutral’s innovative carbon-benchmarking and engagement platform to create easy-to-use digital tools and educational resources tailored for grades 6-10 students. – Counselling live chat for youth
The Counselling Live Chat for Youth (CLCY) provides youth with mental health issues or questions the ability to connect with a clinician through use of a mobile application. This gives rural and remote youth more direct access to professional advice and/or referral to ongoing service,complementing existing traditional mental health services offered at Hands. 


Communautique – Dataware: Data literacy for a committed youth
Dataware will help develop a curriculum for Canadians handling data, to equip youth with tools to face and contribute to civic issues. It will allow this curriculum to be experimented with and disseminated across Canada, offering young Canadians the opportunity to fulfil their potential as informed, engaged citizens.

Option consommateurs – Children’s stories on online privacy protection
This project will produce stories, using catchy and narrative illustrations, to teach children themes of online privacy: cybersecurity, reputation protection and cyber-bullying. Freely available on the web and on a mobile device, these stories will be accompanied by information tools for parents.

Université du Québec à Montréal – Digital mentoring platform
This project will develop an online collaborative training platform that supports Canadian work experience procurement. It will help connect and mentor immigrant job seekers with people through their career development process.

New Brunswick

Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity – University of New Brunswick – Intelligent-Driven DNS over HTTPS Attack Detection and Mitigation
As the internet has grown, malicious actors have found weaknesses in the DNS system that internet criminals can exploit to create false DNS records. Internet registration authorities can implement the intelligent-Driven DNS over HTTPS (DoH) attack detector this project will develop in their infrastructure, and provide a highly robust, safe and secure DNS record for internet users in Canada.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador Economic Development and Employability Network – Connecting our Francophone Communities
The SimpleCell infrastructure will allow residents currently without high speed internet to access it from their cell phones and mobile devices. This project will improve communication within the entire historical Francophone region of the Port au Port Peninsula allowing residents to improve their quality of life thus creating a better future for this very rural community.

Iris Kirby House – Networking O’Shaughnessey House
This initiative will connect two shelters that house women and children fleeing domestic violence. This will help improve efficiencies and will assist in providing better service to women and children by increasing knowledge and connectivity of staff. It will also allow for running of networked software providing information on homelessness in Canada.

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