Projects will help Canadians access faster internet services and stay safe online as they work and learn remotely
June 25, 2020, OTTAWA – Today, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has announced the latest recipients of its $1.25 million Community Investment Program granting initiative. The 20 funded projects will help improve internet infrastructure, digital literacy, and cybersecurity “street smarts” for students and Indigenous, rural, and Northern communities across the country.
The announcement comes as COVID-19 precautions remain in place across most of the country. While remote work, online shopping, and e-learning have helped keep millions of Canadians employed, educated, and connected with loved ones, high-quality internet services still remain out of reach for too many. In April, CIRA found the number of Canadians working from home has grown seven-fold and rural download speeds were nearly 12 times slower than those enjoyed by urban Canadians. CIRA is confident that these projects will help Canadians access faster internet services and stay safe online.
Here are some examples of projects that will help improve connectivity in Indigenous and rural communities:
- reBOOT Canada will work with local Indigenous and rural youth in five small communities in Northern Ontario to train them to set up and operate free Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Couchiching First Nation in Northwestern Ontario will lead a study on options for high-speed fibre optic connectivity to improve internet access for its 800 residents.
- Siksika Health Services in southern Alberta will upgrade the internet infrastructure in five central community buildings, providing high-speed internet to its youth, elders, staff and the greater community.
CIRA would be happy to arrange interviews with grant recipients upon request. You can see the full list featuring all 20 grant recipients below.
Here is how this year’s list of grant recipients breaks down:
- 85 per cent of funded projects benefit students
- 65 per cent benefit Indigenous communities
- 50 per cent benefit rural communities
- 35 per cent benefit northern communities
- This year’s areas of focus are digital literacy, infrastructure, cybersecurity and community leadership.
- This is the first year a project from the Yukon has been awarded a grant.
- To date, the Community Investment Program has awarded $7.95 million across 171 projects.
“The challenges presented by this pandemic have made safe, high-quality internet access more important than ever. CIRA’s mandate is to build a trusted internet for Canadians, but we can’t do it alone. That is why, every year, we invest a significant portion of our revenue into our Community Investment Program, so we can support organizations that advance our goal and help promote trust online. We are once again proud to announce an exceptional lineup of projects that will help improve the digital lives of Canadians during a very difficult time.”
-Byron Holland, president and CEO, CIRA
2020 Community Investment Program Grant Recipients
- Siksika Health Services | Infrastructure
This project in southern Alberta will upgrade the internet infrastructure in five central community buildings, providing high-speed internet to its youth, elders, staff and the greater community.
- Oceanside Community Makerspace Society | Infrastructure The Oceanside Community Makerspace Society will provide internet access both inside the classroom and after school hours to K-12 students to connect with other students in the region to collaborate online on tech-based projects.
- New Brunswick Community College | Cybersecurity
New Brunswick Community College is creating a lab facility for students in IT to practice cyberattack detection and remediation giving access to specialized tools to run simulations and test cases.
- Assembly of First Nations | Community Leadership
This project is creating a First Nations connectivity strategy networking group that brings together technology professionals to identify and advance solutions in support of First Nations internet access.
- Christie Lake Kids | Digital Literacy
Christie Lake Kids’ ‘Girls Only’ program will offer a series of digital literacy workshops to help increase the digital skills of girls and young women to help set them up for success.
- Mohawk College | Digital Literacy
Mohawk College will teach the fundamentals of what constitutes web accessibility and how to ensure websites are accessible for all Canadians by producing two courses with training modules aimed at high school and post-secondary students.
- Mohawk College | Cybersecurity
Mohawk College will develop three cybersecurity training packages for high school and post-secondary students aimed at Mohawk College Hackstudent events, Indigenous post-secondary students at Six Nations polytechnic and for journalism, communications, and business students.
- STEAM Education Centres Incorporated | Digital Literacy
I-STEAM is a research and participatory design project to deliver science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) programming to Indigenous youth from Antler River Elementary School, Chippewas of the Thames First Nations.
- FOCUS Media Arts Centre | Digital Literacy
FOCUS Media Arts Centre will connect Indigenous youth and racialized students in Toronto's Regent Park neighbourhood with education partners for an afterschool digital literacy program.
- Parkdale Centre for Innovation | Digital Literacy
Parkdale Centre for Innovation is moving their entrepreneur training program online so that people outside Toronto's Parkdale community can access the curriculum and participate in a virtual business incubator.
- reBOOT Canada | Infrastructure
reBOOT Canada will work with local Indigenous and rural youth in five small communities in Northern Ontario to train them to set up and operate free Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Couchiching First Nation | Infrastructure
Couchiching First Nation in Northwestern Ontario will lead a study on options for high-speed fibre optic connectivity to improve internet access for its 800 residents.
- TakingITGlobal | Digital Literacy
Connected North will expand its library of real-time, high definition, interactive video sessions curating experiences and opportunities not available locally to Indigenous youth in remote communities.
- Kids Code Jeunesse | Digital Literacy
Kids Code Jeunesse will work closely with government, education and industry leaders, #kids2030 to bring digital literacy workshops to classrooms to help address issues of AI ethics and AI’s role with the UN’s Social Development Goals.
- McGill University | Digital Literacy
Researchers at McGill University’s Department of Geography will develop an interactive educational resource for students that demonstrates how publicly shared content can lead to the identification of individuals through exposing their locations.
- Concordia University | Cybersecurity
Researchers at Concordia University will lead a cybersecurity research project that designs methods to identify the proliferation of advanced phishing domains that may also host other malicious content.
- Alternatives/University of Montreal | Community Leadership
Alternatives and the Université de Montréal will partner to create an online research and community engagement institute for youth, at the intersection of digital literacy, internet governance and the promotion of human rights, particularly those of minorities and women.
- McGill University | Digital Literacy
Handbooks and training programs will be created for teachers to develop K-12 students’ digital literacy skills on detecting misinformation, based on findings from focus groups that study student behaviour in web-based learning environments.
- Youtheatre | Digital Literacy
Youtheatre will produce a digital version of Pandora, their high school show about sex education online and pornography, so teens can learn how to navigate healthy sexuality online.
- Yukon Learn Society | Digital Literacy
The Yukon Learn Society’s Seniors Outreach Computer Tutor Program will work with seniors in the Yukon to ensure they get training on how to use new technology, and basic computer skills.
To learn more about the Community Investment Program, visit cira.ca/grants.
About CIRA's Community Investment Program
CIRA is building a trusted internet for Canadians through the Community Investment Program by funding charities, not-for-profits and research institutions that are helping improve Canada’s internet. CIRA is best known for our role managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. While this remains our primary mandate, as a member-based not-for-profit ourselves, we have a much broader goal to strengthen Canada's internet. The Community Investment Program is one of our most valuable contributions toward this goal and funds projects in infrastructure, digital literacy, cybersecurity and community leadership. Every .CA domain name registered or renewed contributes to this program. To date CIRA has contributed $7.95 million in Community Investment Program grants.
About the Canadian Internet Registration Authority
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) manages the .CA top-level domain on behalf of all Canadians. CIRA also develops technologies and cybersecurity services that help support its goal of building a trusted internet for Canadians. The CIRA team operates one of the fastest-growing country code top-level domains (ccTLD), a high-performance global DNS network, and one of the world’s most advanced back-end registry solutions.