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What are CIRA's Community Investment Program grants?

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

Since 2014, CIRA has provided $6.7 million in funding for 151 projects across Canada. Search our full list of projects here.

Grants are available up to $100,000.
In addition, one grant is available up to $250,000.

What do we fund? 

Infrastructure

Digital literacy

Cybersecurity

Community leadership

In 2020, we’re especially looking for initiatives that benefit:

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

Infrastructure:

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

We fund connectivity research, core infrastructure, last-mile connectivity services and operational solutions that increase performance, lower costs and improve data sovereignty.

Examples:

  • 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

Digital literacy:

CIRA aims to improve digital literacy knowledge and skills among Canadians.

We fund research, educational frameworks, learning resources, tools and training programs to improve Canadians’ digital literacy knowledge and skills.

Examples:

  • Providing elementary and high school teachers across Canada with a handbook and training on how to incorporate accessible artificial intelligence (AI) lessons in their classrooms
  • Research and focus groups to determine the kinds of resources teachers, parents and civic organizations need to help young Canadians lead healthy online lives
  • After-school and camps program to improve girls' digital skills
  • Guidebook and online resource 'Your Data at the Border' to help Canadians protect privacy and personal data when travelling

Cybersecurity:

CIRA is focused on increasing Canadians’ cybersecurity knowledge and safety from threats.

We fund research, educational frameworks, tools and training programs that increase Canadians’ online safety.

Examples:

  • Developing a culturally relevant cybersecurity research, education and knowledge framework for Indigenous communities  
  • Creating and publishing children’s stories on online privacy protection to teach children themes of cybersecurity, reputation protection and cyber-bullying – in French and English  
  • Digital security awareness training for francophone civil society
  • Digital security training for journalists and human rights workers

Community leadership:

CIRA aims to engage, support and strengthen a vibrant and resilient internet community domestically and globally.

We fund events and policy research that broaden public awareness and understanding of domestic internet policy and governance.

  • Digital Access Day - Convening NGOs, Governments, Educational Institutions, and Tech Sector for National Conversation about Canada’s Digital Divide and Solutions
  • Advocating for increased digital access for low-income communities
  • Online platform to educate Canadians about the impact and value of municipal broadband in urban, rural, and remote communities
  • Shaping digital policy to support community broadband with remote First Nations

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 online services – i.e., building online apps and platforms that address social, economic and/or environmental needs*

  • 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

  • End user equipment for individual use (e.g., personal and/or mobile devices) – 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.

*Online Services is a past funding focus area of the Community Investment Program that has been discontinued.


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

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 [email protected].