Skip to main content
  • About CIRA

Fiscal year 2018 Annual Report to Members

A successful year and steady progress on our strategic objectives

A message from cira’s board chair

Dear Member,

The end of fiscal year 2018 (FY18) is the halfway mark in CIRA’s current corporate strategic plan 2017-2020. This reflection point allows us to track progress against the strategy launched two years ago.

The board is pleased with the results achieved in FY18. CIRA’s strategic plan is focused in three areas or pillars: operate, innovate and donate. The FY18 report to members highlights accomplishments and information within each pillar for the year running April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

CIRA’s strategic pillars are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Operate activities provide revenue to fund donate efforts, innovate activities increase the security of CIRA’s operations and both support the common goal of building a better online Canada.

The first strategic pillar is operate. It focuses on efficiency and excellence in fulfilling CIRA’s core mandate to ensure a safe, secure and reliable .CA for all Canadians. FY18 has been the best year on record for .CA domain growth and now with more than 2.7 million domains under management, CIRA is successfully rejecting the downward curve in domain growth experienced by many CIRA’s peers in other countries.

While the global market for country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) grew by 1.7 per cent in FY18, .CA grew by 5.4 per cent. The board is pleased with this performance and will continue to encourage steady growth in and use of .CA domain names in the year ahead through targeted marketing and awareness programs and investments in tools to build capacity.

Innovate is a second strategic pillar, aimed at generating ideas for products and services that can extend or diversify CIRA’s lines of business. These new products and services take advantage of the superb technology talent at CIRA and especially in CIRA Labs, CIRA’s innovation centre. These new products and services are primarily aimed at increasing the security of online interactions or are an extension of existing CIRA infrastructure platforms and services.

Examples include D-Zone Anycast DNS, a comprehensive Canadian secondary domain name system (DNS) service and D-Zone DNS Firewall, a new cybersecurity service protecting Canadian organizations from malware and ransomware. Launched in FY18 Firewall is one of CIRA’s most successful new products.

A further example is Fury, CIRA’s new registry platform that houses .KIWI and .SX. By the end of next fiscal year, FY19, .CA will operate on Fury as well and we expect that this versatile platform will appeal to others in the TLD community.

An ongoing board focus with management is to ensure that any new products and services are consistent with CIRA’s mandate of being a world class registry for .CA and benefit our stakeholders, or strengthen CIRA’s capacities or the .CA brand. Risk mitigation is a related focus.

CIRA’s third strategic pillar is donate, which includes the contributions and investments CIRA makes in Canada’s internet to make it stronger, safer and more accessible for all Canadians.

The Community Investment Program Fund invests $1 million in grants each year for organizations doing good things for and through the internet. Canadian not-for-profits, charities and academic institutions across the country have applied for a Community Investment grant and as of the end of FY18, CIRA had invested in 130 projects reaching over 400,000 Canadians. Now in its fifth year, the Community Investment Program Fund is the flagship of CIRA’s donate efforts. The board is especially grateful for the efforts each year of our independent directors to make this program successful.

In addition to the granting program, the board encourages CIRA to contribute to Canada’s internet in other ways. Support of internet exchange points in Canada have strengthened the resilience of our domestic infrastructure. The Global Internet & Jurisdiction conference, held in Ottawa in early 2018 brought together stakeholders from around the world to develop policy standards and operational solutions related to the cross-border nature of the internet. CIRA helped coordinate the event and CEO Byron Holland participated in the discussions, illustrating the value that CIRA brings to critical internet governance topics both domestically and globally.

CIRA is well positioned midway in its four year strategic plan and continues to make good progress in building a better online Canada while delivering on its prime responsibilities as the registry for .CA domain names.

On behalf of the board, I wish thank CIRA staff, CEO Byron Holland and its leaders, and all CIRA Members for your continued commitment to CIRA and its work.

I’m proud of the year we’ve just had and I’m confident we can continue to effectively move forward into the final two years of our corporate strategic plan and our goal to build a better online Canada.


Helen McDonaldChair
Canadian Internet Registration Authority, Board of Directors

Careful planning, thoughtful execution, tremendous results

Dear Member,

With FY18 behind us, I can confidently say the year was a resounding success. As the organization responsible for managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians, I’m pleased to report that CIRA had its best year yet in terms of new .CA registrations. Following a successful year in FY17 as well, we continue to buck the market trend of declining growth that many of our peers around the globe are experiencing.

In FY18, we achieved over 537,000 new .CA registrations – a record year. Our marketing efforts, including encouraging people to brand themselves Canadian online, are working and we’re motivated to aim even higher next year.

This accomplishment, along with others highlighted in CIRA’s FY18 annual report to members, did not occur by happenstance. It is through careful planning and thoughtful execution that CIRA has met and sometimes exceeded its goals.

CIRA’s products and services outside of .CA are another bright spot. The decision to diversify beyond .CA was not an easy one for CIRA. Moving into new territory never is. But we were, and continue to be, strategic about it.

For example, we have used our in-house expertise and the products and services designed to support our own work and offered them to others. In the case of our cybersecurity products and services, this has resulted in new revenue streams and a safer online existence for our customers.

CIRA’s latest offering, D-Zone DNS Firewall, is most notable. Launched in June of FY18, this product protects organizations from malware and ransomware. Given increased cyber threats on organizations of all sizes in Canada and globally, it’s a timely product.

This market reality, combined with CIRA’s strong reputation in Canada and our quality D-Zone Anycast DNS product, has helped us secure 77 new Firewall customers primarily from the MUSH sector (municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals). In less than a year, D-zone DNS Firewall has over 800,000 active users and our cyber safe schools program is quite literally keeping Canadian kids safe. I anticipate continued momentum in the market for FY19.

Another high point worth noting is Fury, which is software that will soon manage the .CA registry. Fury is a top-level domain (TLD) management platform with features and functionality designed for the modern TLD business.

CIRA’s team is working diligently to transfer .CA over to Fury from its current platform. It’s a huge endeavour and I am confident in my colleague’s ability to complete this task next fiscal year. I’m also looking forward to the enhancements Fury will offer. This platform will improve the administration of the .CA by making processes less manual and more efficient. It will also allow CIRA to provide better support and services to our channel partners, the Registrars who sell .CA directly to Canadians.

In addition to our mandate to steward .CA on behalf of all Canadians, as a not-for-profit organization CIRA is also committed to giving back and investing in Canada’s internet. One of the ways we do this is through our Community Investment Program, an annual granting program now in its fifth year, with $1 million in grants distributed in FY18.

There are over 100 projects that showcase the value of this. In FY18, for example, we invested in CJFE’s Digital Self Defence workshop, focused on privacy and security of personal data, which was held in Toronto for Canadian journalists. We also funded Digital Access Day, a one-day conference that brought together internet advocates, academics, technology experts, business representatives and government to discuss challenges and solutions related to Canada’s digital divide. The planning team organized this event throughout FY18, and the event itself took place in June of FY19. These are just two examples of the types of projects CIRA funds through its Community Investment Program. Every .CA registration supports this powerful investment in Canada’s internet.

Alongside CIRA’s Community Investment Program are CIRA’s contributions toward Canadian internet exchange points, or IXPs. As the number of IXPs grow in Canada, now at 11 with two more in the early phases of development, CIRA is providing a tangible contribution to the infrastructure of Canada’s internet. We will continue this important work in FY19.

Success isn’t an accident. We have achieved all we have over the past year due to strategic planning, careful allocation of our resources and, most importantly, through the efforts of CIRA’s committed and talented employees. Employee engagement and a workplace that is inclusive and diverse is important to me. I, along with other members of CIRA’s leadership, work hard to provide an environment where people can do their best work. The results of these efforts are clear.

As we close out FY18, I’d like to thank the members of CIRA’s board, and in particular our board chair Helen McDonald, for the strong leadership provided. I’d also like to thank CIRA members for your continued engagement with CIRA, helping guide our organization and supporting our governance process.

I’m proud of the year we’ve just had and I’m confident we can continue to effectively move forward into the final two years of our corporate strategic plan and our goal to build a better online Canada.


Byron HollandPresident and chief executive officer
Canadian Internet Registration Authority

Operate efficiency & excellence

Outstanding .ca results

Fiscal year 2018 was CIRA’s best year ever for new .CA domain registrations. There are now over 2.7 million .CA domains under management.

{AR 2018 :: Registered .ca domain names}

.CA customer satisfaction index score (Registrant)

.CA customer satisfaction (Registrar)

.CA growth rate


Fiscal year

.CA growth rate ccTLD industry growth rate
FY13 8.36% 7.46%
FY14 8.13% 4.93%
FY15 6.27% 1.31%
FY16 4.07% 4.43%
FY17 5.46% 2.20%
FY18 5.36% 1.70%

Note: For accuracy, industry growth rates shown exclude .cn and .tk due to a change in registration rules within .cn and a differing business and measurement model for .tk.

Innovate creating new opportunities

Products & services

CIRA continues to expand its diversification strategy by taking internal expertise that ensures a safe, secure and reliable .CA, and extending it to other organizations.

D-Zone DNS Firewall, is a cloud-based cybersecurity solution that protects organizations from malware and ransomware. Launched in June 2017 in partnership with Akamai Technologies, this product secures Canadian organizations, particularly municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals.

D-Zone Anycast DNS helps organizations in Canada and globally optimize and secure their DNS.


{AR 2018 :: D-Zone Anycast DNS customer growth}

{AR 2018 :: Websites protected}


Fury is CIRA’s top-of-the-line registry platform, which houses other TLDs including .KIWI and .SX. CIRA is in the process of transitioning .CA onto Fury, a project that will conclude in FY19.


CIRA Labs works on and explores several projects. Of note, in fiscal year 2018 CIRA Labs launched an innovative Internet-of-Things (IoT) initiative to secure home networks and develop a trust framework for its connected devices based on domain names and leveraging DNSSEC. As IoT devices become more commonplace in Canadian homes, finding ways to secure these devices, both for the benefit of individual Canadians and for the Canadian internet itself, is paramount. The first phase focuses on developing the technical specifications for a secure home gateway framework with the intent of having a basic and functional prototype in FY19. CIRA is collaborating with peers at .IT and .NL.

As well, a project developed by CIRA Labs in FY17 called Klicky, a single web page project, was found to have limited market potential and in FY18 the decision was made not to proceed.

CIRA Labs is CIRA’s creative core, where new ideas and innovations are conceived. One of CIRA Labs most successful creations is CIRA’s D-Zone DNS Firewall.

Working with Canadian municipalities

  • CIRA presented .city workshops to municipalities to inform and enhance market acceptance.

  • CIRA supports Smart Community initiatives through 16 City Internet Performance Test (IPT) partnerships.

Community investment program

CIRA’s Community Investment Program gives back to the Canadian internet by funding innovative community projects to build a stronger, safer and more accessible internet for all Canadians.

The Community Investment Program builds a better online Canada through these types of projects:

  • Research reports

  • Proof of concept prototypes

  • Teacher training guides

  • Online tools/services

  • Training sessions

  • Frameworks/educational content

  • Devices distributed

  • Academic papers

  • New apps

  • Training course materials

  • Internet Exchange Points

  • Internet service/Infrastructure

  • $ 4.2 million invested since 2014
  • 434,000+ Canadians impacted*
  • 102 Projects funded

*Outcome statistics self-reported by grant recipients as of March 31, 2018

At CIRA we want to enhance Canadians’ internet experience where Canada is a global leader in access, speed, quality, and data sovereignty through programs such as these:

CIRA’s internet performance test (IPT)

CIRA’s IPT uses a network diagnostic tool provided by M-Lab. In fiscal year 2018 we expanded our testing coverage to be truly nationwide, adding three new nesting nodes collocated with internet exchange points in Moncton, Vancouver and Winnipeg.


Internet performance test conducted in 2018

Canada’s Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

CIRA continued its investment in Canadian IXPs by working with partners on establishing IXPs in Moncton, Saskatoon and in Gatineau/Ottawa. Two additional IXPs are in development – in Prince Edward Island, which held its first town hall meeting in FY18, and Iqaluit, which, once launched, will have a powerful impact on the internet in that region. As of the end of FY18 there were 11 Canadian IXPs.

Organizational foundations a CIRA built to succeed

Employee quick facts

Building a better online Canada requires expertise. For three consecutive years CIRA has been named top employer in the National Capital Region by Canada’s Top Employers.

Screenshot 2019-06-23 15.23.01_0.png

Raised and donated by employees for CN Cycle for CHEO, Ottawa Food Bank, The Ottawa Mission, Ride the Rideau and Special Olympics.

CIRA membership

  • 15,543 members
  • 85% average annual member satisfaction score
  • 11% of CIRA members actively participate in CIRA governance

Visit to join

Our top vendors in FY-2018

  • CDW Canada Inc.

  • Compucom

  • Conexsys

  • Hurricane Electric LLC

  • Manulife

  • Minto

  • Oracle Corporation Canada Inc.

  • Rogers Communications Canada

  • Scalar Decisions Inc.

  • TeraMach Technologies Inc.