June 18th, 2024

CIRA launches annual digital grants program

By Ry Clark - for the Lethbridge Herald on March 19, 2022.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, CIRA, is launching a campaign to help fund projects across Canada that improve Internet across the country. More than $1 million in grants will be awarded to eligible projects submitted before the April 13 deadline.
Eligibility is open to all non-profits, Indigenous communities, charities, researchers, and community members. Projects will need to align with CIRA’s goal of improving Internet either through infrastructure, affordability, literacy, and security.
“We don’t have all the solutions, nor are we the ones that have the ability to solve all of the numerous problems. Be it around connectivity, cybersecurity, digital literacy, for the Internet in Canada. We know that there’s a lot of organizations out there that are working at the community level to have an impact in their community. And so, we are one of the few funders that support that kind of work at that level in Canada,” said Tanya O’Callaghan, vice president of community investment, policy and advocacy.
O’Callaghan says the CIRA has narrowed its focus to four main areas and will be looking at applications that align with that.
“One is infrastructure, so improving Internet connectivity and infrastructure. The other one is digital literacy, which is really about improving the knowledge and skills so Canadians can use the internet safely, and optimize how they use the Internet. Cybersecurity, obviously making sure that Canadians are safe online. And then community leadership, which is about opportunities to engage support, it could be learning opportunities, it can be different… or advocate for Internet policies that improve the Internet in Canada.”
The CIRA is a national not-for-profit that manages Canada’s online domain, .ca, and cybersecurity services to organizations across Canada. CIRA promotes a goal of trusted Internet for all Canadians and every portion of a registered domain renewed helps give back to the community through CIRA’s Community Investment Program.
During the COVID-19 pandemic many Canadians were isolated and without aid due to lacking proper Internet. Internet is no longer a privilege in today’s world and instead a necessity that helps improve life and communication.
At the beginning of March both the provincial and federal government announced $780 million in funding for Alberta to help Internet connection in rural areas.
Gudie Hutchings, Canada’s Minister of Rural Economic Development, says the digital divide needs to be eliminated and the past two years have made it apparent adequate Internet is a necessity in Alberta.

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