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At CIRA, we have an ambitious goal – to build a better online Canada. It motivates us every day. Annually, we put our money where our mouth is by contributing approximately $1 million to Canadian not-for-profit organizations, charities and researchers who are doing good things for and through the internet. Strengthening Canada's internet is something we have in common with other organizations and we are thrilled to partner with them to turn their passions into reality. We're building a better online Canada together.

The application period for CIRA's Community Investment Program is now open. I am constantly impressed by the quality of the applicants we've received in previous years and the innovations they presented.

Some are working to get Canadians online, focusing on under served communities in Canada. Those of us in urban centres can scarcely imagine the isolation that some Canadians experience due to having little or no access to broadband internet. The internet has the power to bridge the distance of this great country, helping connect remote communities with the rest of Canada and the world. This is vital work and we're proud to support it.

Other applicants support Canadians as they navigate the web. This can mean everything from teaching kids to code or providing insight on digital security, privacy and rights. Helping Canadians enjoy all the internet has to offer, while also mitigating the risks it brings is an important component of building a better online Canada.

And still others are doing valuable research or using the power of the internet to capture and share culture and history. Some also support Canadians' health and well-being by taking their services and information online. The sky's the limit for the creative and valuable projects out there in need of support. I'm very proud that CIRA offers an avenue to foster this work.

I encourage Canadian organizations looking to launch their next internet project to learn more about CIRA's Community Investment Program and apply. We look forward to working with this year's successful applicants to build a better online Canada.

Who can apply?

Canadian not-for-profit organizations, charities and academic researchers seeking funding for innovative projects that leverage internet technology and aim to enhance the internet for Canadians, can apply for funding from CIRA's Community Investment Program until February 28, 2018. CIRA's Community Investment Program funds projects in the areas of infrastructure and access, digital literacy, online services and research. In 2017, CIRA provided $1 million to 24 organizations.

Projects from CIRA's Community Investment Program will now have access to a variety of Amazon Web Services programs to help scale up online activities and accelerate the delivery of new products and services. This relationship bolsters the existing $1 million in funding from CIRA with in-kind technology and support services.