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Death and dying is not a topic that comes up often at CIRA, unless it's about the “death” of obsolete technology. Recently, however, the topic of death, and grief in particular, became top of mind for us. Thanks to our Community Investment Program, we were able to work with Canadian Virtual Hospice as they launched – a free online learning platform is a free, online resource with learning modules that help adults – parents, caregivers, guardians and teachers – talk to children about death and dying and support them when they are grieving. Thanks to funding from our Community Investment Program, as well as Hope & Cope, this valuable resource launched on November 21st.

CIRA's senior communications manager Tanya O'Callaghan spoke at the launch event. She was moved by the speakers and their stories and impressed by the learning platform.

“It really affected me when Andrea Warnick, a grief expert and project co-lead, spoke about how important it is to talk to our children about death and dying,” says Tanya. “She pointed out how we, as a society, tend to shield our kids from this topic when in the past children were regularly exposed to death; death of animals, death of loved ones, funerals or wakes held in their homes. We think what we are doing is for our children's benefit, but we're not equipping them to handle their grief when someone close to them dies.” provides the tools, language and support adults need to help their children when someone dies or is dying, and also helps prepare children beforehand. “There is a module that helps children understand death before they have to face it head on. There are teachable moments in life that we, as parents, should embrace. When your child's goldfish dies, don't simply replace it with another one on the sly. Talk to them about it,” says Tanya. is one of over 100 projects CIRA's Community Investment Program has supported over the last four years. CIRA provides approximately $1 million each year to Canadian non-profit organizations, charities and researchers doing good things through and for the internet. The next application period will launch in January 2018.

Learn more about CIRA's Community Investment Program.

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