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Dear Members,

As Canadians face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, our collective reliance on the internet is sharply in focus. At CIRA, we see the challenges that small businesses, internet users, and organizations of all sizes face online on a daily basis. As a purpose-driven not-for-profit responsible for managing the .CA domain on behalf of Canadians, our mission to build a trusted internet has never been more important. CIRA is privileged to be at the forefront of ensuring reliable and secure internet infrastructure integral to our social connections, learning, health diagnostics and business. 

Fiscal year 2021 marks the first of CIRA’s new, five-year corporate plan. Building on our primary mission of managing the .CA domain remains central. However, as the needs of Canadian internet users diversify, so will our organization. 

The next five years will see CIRA respond to market demands through the expansion of multiple services, with a focus on DNS security and cybersecurity. At the same time, we will strengthen our Community Investment Program by aligning funding commitments with broader organizational goals. All this will be enabled through the development of CIRA’s people, tools, processes and brand to maintain our reputation as an organization of excellence.

Building on the foundation of .CA

The .CA domain remains the core of CIRA’s work, with exciting developments on the horizon. Over the past four years, .CA overall outperformed most of its peers in the ccTLD space, a credit to the strength of our brand and stewardship. In FY21, .CA will achieve revenues of $26,080,000, with nearly three million domains under our management.

To achieve this success, CIRA will build on a mass media campaigns launched in FY20, with the goal to market .CA as a top choice for Canadian small and medium-sized businesses. The record number of .CA registrations in the early months of COVID-19 suggests that Canadians understand the need for a dedicated, online presence more than ever. Business development of .CA will mature, as we study market trends, map challenges and leverage opportunities to expand our core business.  

Security remains a differentiating factor for .CA users. .CA prides itself on its reputation as a safe and trusted domain, one of the most secure domain extensions in the world. CIRA will continue to build its penetration-testing program and update our DNS abuse monitoring to continue to maintain the security and trust of .CA users, at the same time expanding our DNS Anycast service for .CA. 

New services to meet diverse needs of internet users

New and expanded services will contribute to an increasing portion of CIRA’s overall revenues and build resiliency into our organization. Product development, diversification, and technology enhancements will grow non-.CA revenue to $2.9 million in FY21. This continues our efforts to  diversify our revenue sources and mitigate the risks associated with only providing one service.

This includes ongoing and regular releases to enhance our cybersecurity services, such as CIRA DNS Firewall and Anycast, with a push for international growth of the latter. Building on success of past collaborations, CIRA is partnering with the Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity to boost segment-specific solutions. 

We are expanding CIRA’s Registry Services, including the onboarding of .ie, Ireland’s ccTLD by the end of FY21.

Further, investments into the design and architecture to move .CA to the cloud and explore cloud-based offerings of the CIRA Registry platform will allow us to anticipate and respond to market needs.

Strengthening internet by investing in Canadians

CIRA’s flagship Community Investment Program granting initiative will be bolstered by new eligibility requirements, identification of target beneficiary groups and the potential for larger grants. The organization is committing 5-7 per cent of revenues to our Community Investment Program. We have a new community investment strategy that aligns funding with organizational priorities — internet access, infrastructure, digital literacy and community engagement. 

We also continue to support the development of Canada’s internet infrastructure by advocating for the development of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) across the country.  Nowhere is the value of IXPs more clear than during crises like COVID-19, where IXPs have played a critical role in keeping Canada’s internet infrastructure strong and resilient

In April, CIRA released Canadian Shield, a version of our firewall. Canadian Shield is now available to all Canadians for free, offering protection against phishing and malware, while enhanced data security prevents service providers from tracking and selling personal data. Universal accessibility makes it a game-changer in the personal data and cybersecurity protection space. 

Our direct initiatives will also be enhanced. This includes a new partnership with the Department of Industry, Science and Economic Development (ISED) to expand CIRA’s Internet Performance Test (IPT). The goal is for IPT to be the preferred diagnostic tool for funding applicants under the Government of Canada’s broadband strategy. 

Going forward CIRA will host and expand the Canadian Internet Governance Forum to give Canadians a voice in the regulation and development of our internet, and we will bring that voice to the international stage as Canada’s representative at the IGF. The next event is set to take place on November 24 and 25 2020.

Building a model organization

None of these things are possible without a strong team inside the organization. CIRA has committed to a new target operating model that aligns our mission, costs and revenues across all services and programs. We are updating performance indicators, and continuing to focus on organizational excellence with our high-performing team and creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. 

As we diversify our work, we will leverage awareness of the .CA brand to promote a standardized, recognizable CIRA brand across all channels.

It’s an exciting time to be Canada’s internet organization. As CIRA embarks on the next five years of our journey, we are honoured to provide safe, reliable and secure Canadian internet with your ongoing support.



Byron Holland,
President and CEO
Canadian Internet Registration Authority

Delivering a trusted internet for Canadians

The first year of CIRA’s new FY21-25 strategic plan will be focused on laying the foundations upon which the organization will build to achieve its goals for the next five years. The following activities are a summary of what will be undertaken in each of CIRA’s core priority areas:

 .CA Stewardship

  • Expand data analytics and predictive capabilities; leverage these analytics to obtain greater market and competitive insights. 

  • Expand the .CA brand advertising campaign and channel programs to support the growth of .CA.
  • Develop a strategy and architectural design for .CA in the cloud, including cloud-based DNS.

Product Expansion

  • Establish and expand partnerships on DNS threat feeds and data.
  • Obtain ISO 27001 certification for CIRA Registry and DSN services
  • Expand the content offering in the CIRA Cybersecurity Awareness Training.
  • Deploy .IE on CIRA Registry Services. 
  • Introduce new CIRA cybersecurity product.

Community investment

  • Complete round 7 and launch round 8 of the community investment program.
  • Create holistic reporting across all of CIRA’s community investment initiatives.
  • Build opportunities to for the Internet Performance Test, including integration with ISED and other federal initiatives. 

Organizational enablement

  • Adapt CIRA’s organizational structure as required to facilitate the delivery of the FY21-25 strategic plan. 
  • Update CIRA’s brand architecture to support continued growth of the organization across multiple service lines. 
  • Enhance organizational effectiveness, through enhanced processes and tools such as improved learning development plans and upgrading productivity tools. 
  • Implement organizational metrics, including KPIs and a Target Operating Model to improve organizational measurement and planning capabilities.