CIRA is funding digital literacy, cybersecurity, and internet infrastructure projects through $1+ million fund

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has announced the opening of its annual $1million+ Community Investment Program granting initiative for 2020. Not-for-profits, charities, and researchers are invited to apply for funding that will improve the health and quality of Canada’s internet. Applications close on 25 February.

The Community Investment Program from Canada’s ccTLD manager focuses on internet-related projects in Canada and awards grants of up to $100,000, including one grant of up to $250,000. To ensure support for digital projects in underserved areas and communities, this year’s granting cycle will give preference to initiatives that benefit students and rural, northern and Indigenous communities. CIRA is looking for projects in these four areas:

  • Infrastructure research or projects that improve internet speed, access, and costs.
  • Digital literacy tools, research, and training programs to develop digital skills.
  • Cybersecurity projects or research that promote users’ safety online.
  • Community leadership initiatives including events or research that engage Canadians in domestic internet policy issues.

“Since 2014 we’ve funded more than 150 internet projects from coast to coast to coast. Now we’re focusing in on some of Canada’s hardest to reach places,” said David Fowler, vice-president, marketing and communications. “We’re especially looking for projects that benefit students as well as people in rural, northern and Indigenous communities who for too long have faced barriers to participating in Canada’s digital economy. We hope our Community Investment Program grants can help teach our youth the digital skills they need to be safe online, and fill the gaps in education and internet access for people in under-served areas of Canada.”

Since 2014, CIRA’s Community Investment Program grants have provided $6.7 million in funding for 151 projects across Canada. To learn more about the program, funding categories, and projects that CIRA has supported in the past, head to cira.ca/grants. 

Past winners have included:

  • CompuCorps’ Indige-preneurs program provides digital literacy workshops for Indigenous women focused on building an online business.
  • The Gwich’in Tribal Council and University of Alberta researchers created resources to support citizen decision-making regarding broadband deployment in the Northwest Territories.
  • SimpleCell is an infrastructure project that allows residents without high-speed internet to access it from their cell phones and mobile devices within the historical Francophone region of the Port au Port Peninsula in Newfoundland.