Delivering on our mandate and core mission to build a better online Canada
A message from CIRA’s board chair:
With the close of fiscal year running from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 (FY19), CIRA enters the final year of its 2017-20 corporate strategic plan. From this vantage point, we can assess the progress made and discern some of the challenges the organization is facing as it formulates its next strategic plan.
The board’s role is to provide advice and guidance on the new strategic plan, and ensure that it makes sense in a changing marketplace, and that it will be successful in delivering on CIRA’s mission and mandate. We ensure that operational plans, budgets, policies and activities are aligned with the strategic plan, that risks have been identified and are manageable, and that the organization is financially sustainable and well positioned to achieve its targets.
Given that the next strategic plan will be for five years and should be approved before the end of this calendar year, the board and management have spent considerable time over this past year reviewing trends in the industry, technologies, and global and domestic regulatory environment.
The planning process is also being informed by a review of the costs and revenues of all major activities and programs. This was the first time that CIRA had engaged in such an exercise, which was a demanding task given that each employee may contribute to several activities in a day or over a year. The board supported this effort because we believe that it will help strengthen our ability to ensure that activities are cost-effective and that the level of resources invested is commensurate with outcomes.
This period of review and reflection has also led us to propose to the membership that CIRA’s statement of purpose in its articles be updated to better reflect the activities that CIRA undertakes consistent with its current strategic plan. These wording changes will be presented to the members for a vote at September’s Annual General Meeting.
The board is pleased with the extent of CIRA’s accomplishments in FY 18-19 with respect to its .CA registry mandate and core mission to help build a better online Canada.
CIRA’s core mandate is to run a safe, secure, and reliable .CA domain for all Canadians. Last fiscal year, country code top-level domain (ccTLD) operators around the world faced strong headwinds as growth in domains under management (DUM) declined. While the rest of the ccTLD community achieved an average DUM growth rate of 0.8%, CIRA managed to grow by 3.6%, and now has over 2.8 million domains under management. The board is satisfied with this strong performance, but recognizes that CIRA will need to adapt its strategy going forward as we are also beginning to feel the slowdown experienced by the rest of the industry.
The board was also pleased with the successful completion of the transition of .CA domains to CIRA’s state-of-the-art registry platform, Fury. The transition was on time, on budget, with minimal downtime and generally satisfied channel partners. As well as .CA, Fury now hosts .MLS, .KIWI and .SX, and CIRA is actively engaged with TLD operators around the world to promote use of this multi-tenant platform.
CIRA develops innovative new products and services that will provide benefits to Canadians and diversify revenue sources. This innovation is made possible by the world class technology talent that the organization has been able to attract, as well as CIRA Labs, CIRA’s technology innovation hub.
CIRA’s efforts to diversify its offerings have largely been aimed at increasing online security for individual internet users and organizations. Canadian municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals are the target clients for CIRA’s D-Zone Anycast DNS infrastructure service but international sales to other TLDs also strengthen the resilience of the global infrastructure. D-Zone Firewall is a more recently developed cloud-based cybersecurity service that protects organizations from malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks. The clientele for D-Zone services continues to grow and revenues were just over $1 million in FY18-19.
Looking ahead, the board will be seeking sustained growth for these diversified services. We are also pleased to see that CIRA will pursue an innovative new cybersecurity project to offer increased security for households with multiple internet-connected devices.
CIRA’s third focus is activities and investments to promote a safe, secure, and accessible internet in Canada. CIRA’s flagship granting fund contributed $1.25 million to 28 projects designed to create a better online Canada in FY19. Projects funded were aimed at improving access, digital literacy, and infrastructure, and were led by community groups from across the country. The board continues to explore, with management, ways to enhance the impact or reach of these investments, and we were pleased to see experimentation with larger grants in the most recent round. We are grateful for the efforts of our independent panel members who advise the board on proposals and program improvements.
There are other ways in which CIRA gives back to the community at large. In FY19, CIRA supported the growth, performance and security of Canada’s domestic internet infrastructure through resources, infrastructure and governance advice to Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). The board is strongly supportive of all efforts to increase the resilience and performance of our domestic internet infrastructure.
The board is also proud of CIRA’s hands-on support to the first-ever Canadian Internet Governance Forum (CIGF), which brought internet policy stakeholders from across the country together in February to discuss the policy challenges associated with the global internet. CIRA continues to shape the global, multi-stakeholder internet governance process through participation in organizations like ICANN, the IGF, and the Global Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network.
As CIRA heads into the final year of its strategic plan, the organization is in a strong position to continue to provide a first class .CA domain name registry and help build a better online Canada. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank all CIRA staff, CEO Byron Holland and his senior leadership team for their continued hard work and dedication. We would also like to thank .CA members for their support and engagement.
I’m proud of what CIRA has accomplished over the past year and believe the organization has built a solid foundation for the future. I look forward to our next fiscal year and sharing CIRA’s next strategic plan.
Helen McDonald, Chair
Canadian Internet Registration Authority, Board of Directors
Success requires innovation, hard work, and thoughtful strategy
A message from CIRA's president and CEO:
Fiscal year 2019 (FY19) was a landmark year for CIRA. While our core responsibility has always been to manage the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians, CIRA does so much more. This fiscal year we continued to grow .CA, the core business of the organization, we continued to diversify and expand our product offerings and increased the reach of our Community Investment Program, while protecting more users against cyberattacks than ever before.
For the first time ever, we exceeded 2.8 million .CA domains under management after registering 517,431 new domains. While this was a great year for CIRA, growth continues to slow for ccTLDs around the world. Despite our best wishes, we are not immune to industry-wide trends, but our marketing and advertising strategy has helped us stay ahead of the curve for the past few years. Going forward we will continue to watch shifts in the global marketplace and fine tune our strategy in the face of a maturing market.
Of course, CIRA is a lot more than .CA. Over the past few years we have begun to diversify our offerings. By leveraging and extending our DNS infrastructure, we’ve expanded the range of the products and services we offer to organizations around the world. Stepping out of your comfort zone to do something new is never easy, but after several years of executing on a thoughtful, deliberate strategy, our hard work is paying off.
Let’s start with our cloud based cybersecurity solution, D-Zone DNS Firewall. In FY19 Firewall experienced rapid growth as we made headway into the MUSH market: municipalities, universities, schools, and hospitals. CIRA members can sleep well knowing that that over 400,000 children in 65 kindergarten to grade 12 schools across the country are protected from malware, ransomware, and phishing – and this is just the beginning. In late FY19 the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education made a bulk purchase of DNS Firewall for all K-12 schools in the province, which they will be rolling out over the coming year.
Another product is our D-Zone Anycast DNS which continues to show year-on-year growth while supplying world class DNS infrastructure services for over 2.8 million .CA domains, more than 37,000 second level domains, and 50 top-level domains including .SE, .NU, .NL, and .CH. By extending our global DNS infrastructure, Anycast makes .CA more resilient, strengthens the global DNS, and generates new revenue for CIRA.
Then there’s our top-of-line registry platform, Fury, which celebrated a major milestone in FY19. On February 5th,2019, we successfully transitioned the .CA domain to Fury following a careful, two-year transition plan. We updated over 200 million records in the course of eight hours, and, after the migration was finished, we immediately resumed regular operations. This is an astonishing accomplishment and I couldn't be prouder of how our team managed it.
Looking ahead, the CIRA Labs team is hard at work on innovative new cybersecurity initiatives designed to help make home networks and the public internet more secure from malware, phishing, ransomware, and other cyberattacks.
Stewarding the .CA domain and providing enterprise quality cybersecurity solutions isn’t the only way CIRA is helping build a better online Canada. We also make significant investments in projects that help make Canada’s internet more stable, safe, and secure, through our Community Investment Program. The program gives back in two ways: first, through our flagship granting initiative, which, as of FY19, has invested $5.45 million into 130 projects across the country; and second, by contributing governance and financial resources to key initiatives that aim to improve the health of Canada’s internet.
Take a look at our FY19 grant recipients and you’ll quickly see the value this program brings. Last year we distributed $1.25 million to 28 different projects. For example, we invested in Connected North, which delivers e-learning services in remote Indigenous communities. We also supported CompuCorps for their women’s Indige-preneurs program, which aims to increase the number of Indigenous women in our growing e-commerce sector. While these are just a two of the 28 projects CIRA funded this past fiscal year, it’s easy to see how proceeds from every .CA sold are being reinvested to improve the health of Canada’s internet.
The second part of the Community Investment Program focuses on initiatives to support the growth and governance of Canada’s internet. For example, we continue to support the development of Canada’s IXPs. There are currently nine IXPs operating across the country, with several more in the development phase, including Iqaluit’s ArcticIX. In FY20 we will dedicate additional staff capacity to manage our IXP portfolio and encourage network operators of all types to peer at local exchange points.
We also supported the Canadian Internet Governance Forum, a one-day conference that brought together government, civil society, and business stakeholders from across the country to discuss internet governance issues at home and abroad.
We now find ourselves in the final year of previous corporate strategic plan, which has set the stage for what comes next. In FY20, we will work diligently to expand our business and services, create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and establish a new corporate strategy to make sure CIRA stays an industry leader for years to come.
Success doesn’t just happen. It takes innovation, hard work, and thoughtful strategy to make it happen. I’m very proud of what CIRA has accomplished over the past year. Our business continues to grow and our corporate culture, one of being purpose driven and always striving forward, continues to deepen throughout the organization.
As we say goodbye to FY19, I’d like to thank the members of CIRA’s board, and in particular, our board chair Helen McDonald, for her steadfast leadership. I’d also like to thank all CIRA members, leaders, and staff for everything they’ve done to help make FY19 a success.
With less than one year to go in our current corporate strategic plan, I look forward to sharing what comes next in our mission to build a better online Canada.
Byron Holland, President and chief executive officer
Canadian Internet Registration Authority
Operate: efficiency & excellence
Landmark .CA results
In the face of a globally slowing landscape, CIRA achieved a growth rate of 3.6% in fiscal year 2019—nearly five times higher than the global industry average of 0.8%. There are now 2.8 million .CA domains under management.
.CA Market Share
Marketing Awards in FY19
Summit International Award
IABC Silver Leaf Award
Summite Creative Award (x2)
Innovate: creating new opportunities
D-Zone DNS Firewall is a cloud-based cybersecurity solution that protects organizations from malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks. Firewall continues to show rapid growth and deliver enterprise-quality protections to internet users across the country.
Products and Services
CIRA continues to expand its cybersecurity products and services by leveraging its DNS knowledge and global infrastructure.
K-12 schools, universities and research networks
Health care institutions
D-Zone Anycast DNS provides world-class DNS infrastructure for organizations around the world.
D-Zone Anycast DNS queries per hour for these websites
Working with Canadian municipalities
CIRA supports Canadian municipalities with city-specific Internet Performance Test portals called City Landers to help local leaders assess gaps in local connectivity.
CIRA is ready to begin working with municipalities across the country to explore new city-focused top level domains.
Fury is CIRA’s industry-leading registry platform, which houses many TLDs including .CA, .SX, .KIWI, and .MLS. In February, .CA successfully transitioned to Fury and achieved a 93% satisfaction rate with our registrars.
CIRA Labs is our technology innovation hub. Over the past fiscal year, the CIRA Labs completed prototype exploration of its Secure Home Gateway project, an innovative new Internet-of-Things (IOT) framework to secure conventional home networks and establish a new trust framework for connected devices. More and more IoT devices are finding their way into Canadian homes, yet there is no standard home network security framework to keep them secure. Without proper controls in place, these internet-connected devices leave both individual Canadians and the broader Canadian internet vulnerable to various forms of cyberattack.
The next phase of the project will focus on completing a functional prototype code base that enables the Secure Home Gateway’s core functions, and standardizing the security protocols for connecting IoT devices. The goal is to begin alpha testing the project at the start of the next fiscal year.
As well, CIRA Labs will continue its machine learning efforts to identify new trends in malware, phishing, and data breaches by analyzing data from the .CA DNS, D-Zone DNS Firewall and Anycast products.
Donate: investing in Canada's internet
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 (individuals and groups)
Training course materials
- Internet Exchange Points
- Internet service/infrastructure
- Engagement activities
- Upgrades to existing tools
- Media lab
Million Invested Since 2014
* Outcome statistics self-reported by grant recipients as of March 31, 2019
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 2019, the IPT surpassed 500,000 tests since it was first launched. In the previous year we launched seven new city-specific testing portals called “City Landers” across six different provinces to help municipalities better understand local connectivity with great success. For example, our City Landers in Nova Scotia drove a four-fold increase in the number of IPT tests in FY19.
Internet Performance Tests conducted in FY19
Tests since launch
Canada's Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)
CIRA continued its investment in internet exchange points (IXPs) by supporting the growth and governance of individual IXPs, including Iqaluit’s ArcticIX, which is now in the development phase. We also consulted with partners working to consolidate the Moncton, PEI, and Halifax IXPs into one larger Atlantic IXP. In FY20 CIRA will employ an IXP Program Manager to support individual IXPs and encourage network operators of all stripes, including governments, enterprises, ISPs, and content providers to peer at local exchange points and keep internet traffic in Canada.
Contact your local IXP to find out how to get connected.
Canada's Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)
Atlantic IXP AIXP
Ottawa Gatineau Internet Exchange OGIX
Organizational Foundation: a CIRA built to succeed
Employee Quick Facts
Building a better online Canada requires expertise. For four consecutive years CIRA has been named a top employer in the National Capital Region by Canada’s Top Employers.
Average annual member satisfaction score
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