Delivering on our mission to promote a trusted internet for Canadians
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
Operate: delivering on our core mission
.CA Performance in FY22
As Canadian businesses shifted their business models to include both physical and digital strategies, CIRA leveraged this accelerated interest in website building and domain names, promoting the value of .CA domain names for small and medium businesses. CIRA managed to achieve a growth rate of 5.4%—while the top 30 country code top-level domain (ccTLD) operators grew by 3.5%. At the close of FY22 there were 3,275,042 .CA domains under management.
In FY22, the .CA Domain Squad traded in their cozy cabin for the pristine Canadian wilderness to help Canadians make the right choice of domain name for their business. Two new spots joined CIRA’s successful Make your website true north strong advertising campaign, and were featured on CBC’s Dragon Den, broadcast TV, digital TV, YouTube and social media.
Innovate: creating new opportunities
CIRA continues to develop new cybersecurity technologies and services by leveraging its DNS knowledge, technical expertise and global infrastructure.
CIRA DNS Firewall
CIRA DNS Firewall is a cloud-based cybersecurity solution that protects organizations from malware, ransomware, phishing, and other cyberattacks.
Organizations are recognizing the extra defense it provides to their existing technologies as it continues to show rapid adoption across the country.
monthly average in 2022
monthly average in 2022
monthly average in 2022
Protected by CIRA DNS Firewall:
Universities and research networks
DNS Firewall users:
Active Firewall users
New Firewall customers
CIRA Canadian Shield
CIRA Canadian Shield is a free cybersecurity service that improves privacy by anonymizing DNS queries. It's built by Canadians, exclusively for Canadian households, to block viruses, ransomware, and other malware.
Blocks in FY22
CIRA partnered with ScamAdviser, a global leader in anti-scam technology, to integrate protection against fraudulent websites into CIRA Canadian Shield. This will safeguard Canadians’ families against online scams and fraudulent websites.
CIRA Cybersecurity Awareness Training
CIRA Cybersecurity Awareness Training is an integrated courseware and phishing simulation platform that enables organizations to educate their staff to protect themselves from cyber risks like social engineering and ransomware.
This service continues to be adopted across Canada as organizations recognize that the first line of defence against hackers is a cyber-savvy workforce.
Municipalities and government
Universities and research networks
DNS and Registry Services
CIRA continues to leverage its registry and DNS expertise to help organizations around the world manage and protect their domains.
CIRA Anycast DNS
CIRA Anycast DNS offers world-class global authoritative DNS infrastructure to help organizations keep their websites and domains safe, resilient, and high performing. A second version of this service, called CIRA TLD Anycast, is provided to registries around the world and is used by 14.5% of the world's country-code top level domains.
CIRA Anycast DNS queries per hour
The CIRA Registry Platform
The CIRA Registry Platform continued to grow through FY22 by successfully onboarding .ECO. The Registry Platform also underwent a number of improvements, enhancing its performance and efficiency.
TLDs supported by CIRA
.ECO, the most recognized way for any company or individual to showcase their environmental initiative and efforts, has been onboarded to the CIRA Registry Platform. .ECO is used by changemakers around the world as they start new eco-companies, market sustainable products, coordinate campaigns and advocate for better and greener policies and behaviours.
Domains under management by CIRA Registry Platform
Donate: investing in Canada's internet
CIRA’s Community Investment Program Grants give back to the Canadian internet by funding community-led projects that build a stronger, safer and more accessible internet for all Canadians.
Invested since 2014 by end of FY22
Projects funded by end of FY22
Community story: addressing the gap in digital literacy amongst elementary school students
The STEAM Centre, an organization focused on providing students with science, technology, engineering, art and mathematical skills created iSTEAM—a project that combines Indigenous ways of knowing with STEAM-focused digital literacy education. Read the STEAM Centre's full story.
CIRA Labs focuses on innovation that brings together the best of DNS Security and Digital Identity. An innovation hub, Labs develops new solutions that can help build a secure, trusted, and accessible internet for Canadians both domestically and abroad. We develop new technologies that help increase the security and resilience of the internet; mitigate and respond to cyber-attacks; and support new network, data and security standards around the world. Labs supports collaborative innovation with a number of partners to help further CIRA’s knowledge of digital identity, trust registry, how this relates to the DNS and so much more. For further on Labs’ work, please visit cira.ca/labs.
Internet Performance Test
The pandemic has made the need for high quality internet access more important then ever. Unfortunately, fast internet remains out of reach for many. CIRA continues to measure progress towards faster connectivity through our Internet Performance Test (IPT) platform. CIRA’s IPT is one of the most advanced tests of internet speed and quality available and helps rural Indigenous and remote communities across Canada measure their internet quality and advocate for better access.
Lifetime IPT tests conducted
IPT tests conducted in FY22
Rural internet gap
The average rural internet speed is 4.5 slower than in urban environments.
Internet Exchange Points
CIRA continued its investment in Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) by supporting the growth and governance of individual IXPs.
IXPs play a critical role in improving the resiliency, redundancy and independence of Canada’s internet.
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
For the seventh time, CIRA has been named a top employer in the National Capital Region by Canada’s Top Employers.
CIRA was named as a finalist in three categories by the Canadian HR Awards: Best Employer Branding, the Dentsu Award for Best HR Communications Strategy and the Leadership Agency Award for HR Leader of the Year
CIRA was selected as one of Canada's Best Employers for recent graduates by The Career Directory, a division of Canada's Top 100 Employers
Spent on training and development
CIRA goes green
CIRA announced its new environmental sustainability strategy to do its part to reduce the environmental impact of our operations and promote a greener internet in Canada. Our policy is made up of three pillars:
We’re facilitating an environmentally sustainable office where employees can thrive.
We're committed to enhancing energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions across our operations.
Collaboration and partnerships will help us build a green and resilient internet.
Annual member satisfaction score
of CIRA members actively participating in CIRA governance