The road to March 2022
This time last year, as we planned for the fiscal year ahead, CIRA expected FY21 to be a year of change: it was, after all, the start of a new strategic plan. What CIRA – and every other organization in Canada – didn’t expect was the COVID-19 pandemic, and all the challenges and opportunities it presented.
There is no doubt that the pandemic created many challenges for CIRA to overcome. We had to move to a virtual work from home environment overnight. We changed how we build relationships with potential new customers and doubled our efforts to engage with members and other stakeholders virtually.
But the pandemic has also been filled with opportunities for CIRA. Some were fortuitous. The pandemic has forced countless brick and mortar businesses to transition to online– a huge shift for the 45% of Canadian small businesses that previously didn’t have a web presence, and a boon for the domain business. The rapid shift to work from home also forced employers big and small to scramble to secure their employees’ remote work settings – a challenge that Canadian Shield and CIRA’s DNS Firewall services can address.
Some of CIRA’s other successes in FY21, were the direct result of years of intentional efforts to strengthen its programs and build awareness of its activities across the country and within the global domain industry.
Now in planning for FY22, CIRA is building on years of strong performance, technical expertise, and its involvement as a key player in the domestic and global internet space to continue enabling a trusted internet for Canadians in the year to come.
Delivering a trusted internet for Canadians
.CA riding the wave
Fundamentally many businesses have shifted their business models to include both physical and digital strategies. For FY22, CIRA will leverage this accelerated interest in website building and domain names, promoting the value of .CA domain names for small and medium businesses
- Run advertising in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, in CIRA’s third year of a three-year multi-channel brand advertising strategy.
- Research .CA opportunities in the French Quebec market to better understand what will be required to build a successful campaign targeting this audience.
- Build marketing partnerships with registrar partners that promote the registration of .CA domains at the point of sale.
- Continue its focus on .CA-related data analytics, continuing to obtain greater market and competitive insights and develop analytics on the usage of .CA domain names.
- Investigate options for the expansion of the membership value proposition, with the goal of fostering an active membership that represents CIRA’s diverse .CA users.
Product Expansion: Rapid Growth
Despite a challenging and uncertain planning environment, for CIRA’s suite of diversified services, the future is quite clear. FY21 was a record year for the Cybersecurity and Registry services, and the stage is set for further growth in the year to come.
- Develop and launch another service that will complement existing ones. This new service, yet to be identified, will build on CIRA’s skill set in cybersecurity, and serve our existing core market segments such as health, education, and government.
- Grow partnerships with CIRA’s DNS Firewall and offer off-network protection to its users, including a desktop application.
- Continue to lead as a serious player in the registry market among ccTLDs and explore the opportunities for a collaborative registry model.
- Continue its L-SPARK partnership, working with other players such as TELUS, Solace and Blackberry to help ensure the safety and security of new medical IoT technologies.
- Build opportunities to educate key stakeholders on IoT security, and advocate for standards in order to protect Canada’s internet.
Community Investment: Leveraging a holistic approach
FY21 was a milestone year for CIRA’s Community Investment Program, with the first year of a strategy that seeks to unify all the organization’s community investment activities under a shared goal and direction. In the first year of this new strategy, focus was on creating new planning and reporting processes.
Overall, in FY22, focus will remain on our core objective areas: infrastructure, digital literacy, cybersecurity, and community leadership. CIRA will also implement the eighth round of its granting program, which, in addition to being focused on the above objectives, will once again target students, northern, rural, and indigenous communities.
- Support development of domestic Internet Exchange Point community, supporting the existing network of 10 IXPs across Canada, with an emphasis on working with the IX community to attract critical infrastructure providers such as DNS root servers and top TLDs to peer.
- Convene the CA-IX network for a round table discussion on shared challenges and opportunities – in person if permitted, or virtually as required.
- Upgrade test server infrastructure to CIRA’s Internet Performance Test and make UX improvements to the platform to improve its usability, accessibility, and better integrate it with other CIRA initiatives.
- Fund the second year of a three-year quantitative research for phase IV of the Young Canadians in a Wireless World research. While COVID delayed some of this work in FY21, two phases will be carried out in FY22 to complete this portion of the research, which will be conducted in English, French and Inuktitut.
Grow partnerships with Canadian Shield, which has more than 100,000 Canadians already using the service to protect themselves online.
Analyze DNS data from various sources, including Canadian Shield, to build data-based reports on the state of internet traffic and cybersecurity in the Canadian internet space.
Host a virtual Canadian Internet Governance event and publish a research report highlighting Canadians’ digital concerns on a range of topics, which will serve as a key input to the CIGF.
Continue work on domestic and international internet governance, including its court intervention against Gold TV, and is closely following CRTC consultations as well as legislative processes (such as Bill C-11).
Continue to leverage its landmark research report, ‘Unconnected: Funding Shortfalls, Policy Imbalances and How They Are Contributing to Canada’s Digital Underdevelopment.’
Advocate for digital philanthropy funding in Canada, acting as a convenor to mobilize resources toward increased funding for digital initiatives across Canada.
Organizational enablement: Fit for purpose
As the first year of the new strategic plan, FY21 was a year of transition, as the organization adapted its organizational structure, people activities and corporate processes and tools to create an organization that is fit for purpose.
- Continue to the next phase of organizational design. It will concentrate on strategy development and execution, improved decision making and more effective delivery of our services and programs for our customers and stakeholders.
- Roll out refreshed CIRA brand across all products and programs.
- Develop and implement a new public affairs strategy that will bring together thought leadership, government relations and policy efforts.
- Continue its transition to cloud-based office productivity tools, while continuing the implementation of its overall cloud evolution journey for key applications based on our cloud strategy.
- Reduce its operating deficit through constraining expense growth while continuing to increase revenues and invest in the Community Investment Program.