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What are CIRA's Community Investment Program grants?

CIRA’s Community Investment Program grants fund community-led internet projects to build a resilient, trusted and secure internet for all Canadians. 

Since 2014, CIRA has provided $10.45 million in funding for 201 projects across Canada. Search our full list of projects here.

Grants are available up to $100,000.

What do we fund? 

Infrastructure

Online Safety

Policy Engagement

In 2023, we’re especially looking for initiatives that benefit:

  • Northern, rural and Indigenous communities
  • Students (kindergarten to grade 12 and post-secondary)

Register here for our applicant webinar on

March 7, 2023 at 1PM EST.


Infrastructure

CIRA aims to increase the number of Canadians who have access to a high-quality and high-performing internet. 

Through our Grants, we fund community-led connectivity research, network planning and solutions. Infrastructure solutions that CIRA will consider funding with Grants must be community-led and community-owned, contributing to long-term community development.

Examples:

  • Community-run high speed internet for low-income Indigenous households and students in the Malahat Nation reducing dependence on third parties and increasing economic self-sufficiency
  • Community-managed fibre optic network and hardware upgrade in Leqamel First nation, bolstering network security and laying the foundation to grow additional LFN owned businesses
  • High-speed fibre optic installation connecting underserviced remote and rural communities in Winnipeg’s Metropolitan region
  • Supporting infrastructure growth at Saskatoon Internet Exchange (YXEIX) by installing a second peering location in the heart of Saskatoon's business and financial district
  • High-speed internet connectivity to two small francophone communities on the Port au Port Peninsula in Newfoundland
  • Installing a wireless network accessible by every household in Samson Cree First Nation, Alberta

Online safety

CIRA is focused on increasing Canadians’ cybersecurity knowledge and safety from threats. We want more Canadians to know how to protect themselves and feel safe online.

Through our Grants, we fund research, educational frameworks, tools, consultations and training programs that increase Canadians’ online safety. Projects that CIRA will consider funding with Grants must focus on preparing Canadians to use the internet safely and confidently, building knowledge and protection against such threats as misinformation, online harms, privacy intrusion and surveillance, harassment, cyberbullying and gender-based violence.

Examples:

  • Lesson plans, fact-sheets, and informative videos to help Canadian youth understand their digital rights on smartphones and how they can manage their own online privacy in relation to law enforcement and the social support system.
  • In-person after-school and weekend classes across PEI for students in grades 4-6 to address youth cybersafety concerns, with supporting sessions for parents and teachers.
  • Youth-led citizens’ assembly on children’s online safety centring the experiences of Canadian youth, including rural, Northern, and Indigenous youth, to inform Canadian policymakers on how best to protect and empower children online.
  • Curriculum to educate and empower young people with sight loss to access the internet and participate in online community spaces safely.
  • Developing a culturally relevant cybersecurity research, education and knowledge framework for Indigenous communities.

Policy engagement

CIRA engages, supports and strengthens a vibrant and influential internet community domestically and globally. We seek a legislative and policy environment that favours a trusted internet for Canadians.

Through our Grants, we fund events, research and policy ecosystem work that broadens public awareness, understanding and engagement in domestic internet policy and governance.

Examples: 

  • Co-creating a Digital Equity Roadmap with leaders in BC First Nations communities towards achieving digital equity in 6 areas: connectivity and infrastructure, policy and legislation, skills development, employment and business development, tech and innovation leadership, and governance and self-determination
  • Research and a landmark report in support of advocacy for increased digital access for low-income communities
  • Digital Access Day - Convening NGOs, Governments, Educational Institutions, and Tech Sector for National Conversation about Canada’s Digital Divide and Solutions

What we don't fund

When you are considering whether to apply to CIRA for a grant, please be aware of our funding restrictions.

We do not fund the following:

  • Projects focused on building online apps and platforms 

  • Schools, libraries and municipalities, except where they are applying as a registered charity or non-profit organization

  • Requests focused solely on travel and expenses to attend conferences  

  • Projects focused on website design, development and deployment

  • Proposals that provide generic IT training and/or equipment to support such training

  • More than 25% of project budget for equipment, except for Infrastructure projects

  • End user equipment for individual use (e.g., personal and/or mobile devices, CPE, etc.) – any equipment must stay with the applicant organization or institution
  • General fundraising appeals
  • Ongoing core operations (e.g., permanent staff salaries, administrative functions such as firewalls and intranets, etc.)
  • Retrospective costs
  • Marketing or research associated with marketing activities
  • Projects whose main focus is outside of Canada.

Who is eligible?

Organizations recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency as registered charities

Not-for-profit organizations

Academics and researchers affiliated with a Canadian university or college

Indigenous communities

Organizations must be based in Canada and projects, while they can have a broader impact, must benefit Canadians.


Please note:

  • We accept only one application at a time from an organization, either alone or as part of a partnership. There are no limits for academic institutions; however, the lead researcher(s) may submit only one application at a time.
  • If you have already received a grant from CIRA’s Community Investment Program, you or your organization can apply again. However, your project will only be considered if the final report from your last funded project has been received and reviewed.
  • We do support projects and organizations that do not have a .CA through the Community Investment Program. However, as an organization whose initiative benefits Canadians, .CA will help brand you as Canadian online. Learn more about the benefits of having a .CA.

If you are unsure if you are eligible, please contact cip@cira.ca.