A message from CIRA’s board chair:
The most recently concluded fiscal year, FY22, was one of both transitions and great success. As the world cautiously begins to put the pandemic behind us, an entirely new industry landscape is taking shape on the internet.
This new landscape led to both external and internal impacts on CIRA’s operations. The organization is managing the transition well and continues to be both exceptionally run and critically important to Canada’s internet ecosystem.
Externally, CIRA began to see the impact of the industry establishing a new normal, settling in somewhere between the pandemic peak and the pre-pandemic reality. What is clear is that the importance of the internet is no longer something that needs to be explained, it is now foundational.
This can be seen in the outlook for Canada’s domain, .CA. This critical element of our digital infrastructure saw strong but reduced growth from the height of the pandemic but still managed to have its second-best year ever, finishing the year with 3,275,042 domains under management. As the industry adjusted to the new economic reality, .CA continued to outpace its peers exceeding the growth rate of the top 30 ccTLDs. Given the investments made in .CA awareness, the board is optimistic that the .CA team will continue to outperform the industry as the transition to a post-pandemic world unfolds.
As the cybersecurity challenge continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, CIRA is uniquely positioned as a critical player in Canada’s security landscape. Leadership and investment in new products and services has set the stage for CIRA to be a key player in the cybersecurity defense of our country. More than 3.5 million users across dozens of schools, hospitals, universities, and municipalities are now protected by CIRA DNS Firewall. This service blocks more than 3.5 million malicious queries per month embedding CIRA as a critical player in Canada’s cyber defence. Similarly, CIRA Canadian Shield now has more than 2.2 million users and provides a much-needed layer of security as Canadians work, learn and socialize online throughout the pandemic.
Of course, as a non-profit, giving back to the community is always top of mind. CIRA has been supporting Canada’s internet ecosystem for years, and the pandemic highlighted just how critical this kind of support is to the future of our nation. By the end of FY22, CIRA had invested $9.2 million back into the Canadian internet community, supporting 185 projects through its grants program. CIRA’s support of Canada’s internet also extends to CIRA Canadian Shield, a free service that protects tens of thousands of Canadians which has led to the organization frequently being called on for its cybersecurity thought leadership. CIRA’s Internet Performance Test is used by communities, governments and other stakeholders to make funding and infrastructure decisions to bring fast reliable internet to underserved communities, particularly in rural and Indigenous communities.
CIRA’s ability to have this level of impact in such uncertain times is a testament to the culture the organization has built. CIRA is recognized as a leading-edge, inclusive workplace that attracts and maintains top talent. CIRA has embraced the adoption of a flexible and efficient hybrid work environment and has retained and evolved its positive culture to support an effective and engaged workforce. CIRA has been recognized for the seventh year in a row as a top employer in the National Capital Region by Canada’s Top Employers and was selected as one of Canada’s Best Employers for recent graduates by The Career Directory, a division of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
Over the past year, the CIRA board and management have started the journey to develop an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy for the organization. CIRA has a strong foundation of policies, and practices that cover several key areas of a comprehensive ESG strategy, and the last year has been spent understanding, documenting and measuring these components. CIRA has developed and adopted an environmental sustainability strategy to do its part to reduce the environmental impact of its operations and promote a greener internet in Canada. The Board is committed to continuing to develop, document and report on our ESG strategy over the next year.
I have been proud to step into the role of Chair of the CIRA Board this last year. CIRA has a strong governance model that recognizes the role of the members and other stakeholder groups as a multi-stakeholder organization. In my role as Chair, I also had the pleasure of attending ICANN74 where I saw first-hand the leadership role CIRA plays in the global internet community. As an independent not-for-profit organization, that works closely with government partners, CIRA represents Canada proudly on the global stage and is a recognized leader in the global internet ecosystem. As such, each member of CIRA’s Board takes their fiduciary duty responsibility seriously to ensure CIRA’s interests and reputation are paramount. As a board, we place the interests of the organization ahead of our interests, or the interests of staff or any one group of stakeholders at all times.
I believe that CIRA is well-positioned to tackle whatever challenges are on the horizon. This period of transition has provided the organization with a chance to recalibrate its approach and revise its strategic direction for the future and I am confident that it will succeed. CIRA has the leadership, people, tools, processes, products, and culture to do great things in FY23 and beyond.
On behalf of the board, I would like to thank CIRA staff and management for their efforts and dedication. In particular, I would like to express my confidence in, and appreciation of the leadership provided by Byron Holland, the President and CEO. I look forward to continuing to work with this incredible team to help build a trusted internet for Canadians.
Chair, CIRA, Board of Directors