Privacy and online identity a growing concern for Canadians

$1 million in funding available for Canadian organizations working to build a stronger and safer Canadian internet

January 15, 2018 - Ottawa, ON - Privacy, cybersecurity and online identity are issues that concern Canadians. While the internet offers many social, economic and cultural benefits, it also exposes Canadians to risk. To help address these issues for Canadians and support other initiatives that build a better online Canada, CIRA is opening the application period for its Community Investment Program, which provides $1 million in funding to Canadian organizations doing good things for and through the internet.

Canadian not-for-profit organizations, charities and academic researchers seeking funding for innovative projects that leverage internet technology and aim to enhance the internet for Canadians, can apply for funding from CIRA's Community Investment Program from today until February 28, 2018. CIRA's Community Investment Program funds projects in the areas of infrastructure and access, digital literacy, online services, and research. In 2017, CIRA provided $1 million to 24 organizations.

Recent CIRA grant recipients are directly addressing privacy and cybersecurity concerns for Canadians including Canadian Journalists for Free Expression , who held a workshop in 2017 for journalists and human rights activists on practical ways to strengthen digital security. The IXMaps tool , developed by the University of Toronto and funded in 2016, shows Canadians where their personal information travels online, including data that travels through the U.S., open to American surveillance. Options Consommateurs , funded in 2017, is researching the security and privacy implications of internet-of-things devices to help Canadians protect themselves. Given that 73 per cent of Canadians are concerned about potential security threats related to the internet-of-things, this will be a valuable resource.

Projects from CIRA's Community Investment Program will now have access to a variety of Amazon Web Services (AWS) programs to help scale up online activities and accelerate the delivery of new products and services. This relationship bolsters the existing $1 million in annual Community Investment Program funding provided by CIRA with in-kind technology and support services that can add up to five per cent to the value of the program.

Visit for more information about CIRA's Community Investment Program and application details.

Key Facts

According to CIRA's research from March 2017:

  • 8-in-10 Canadians are concerned about online identity.
  • 76 per cent of Canadians are concerned about the security and privacy of their personal information on the internet if stored in or routed through the U.S., up from 64 per cent in 2016.
  • 75 per cent of Canadians are concerned about the threat of a cyberattack against organizations they know, up from 67 per cent in 2016.
  • CIRA's Community Investment Program launched in 2014 and has provided $4.2 million to support 102 projects to date, reaching over 400,000 Canadians.

Executive Quotes

"CIRA's Community Investment Program is one of the key ways we give back to the internet community," says David Fowler, CIRA's vice president of marketing and communications. "Through this program we've worked with amazing, often grassroots organizations across Canada who are getting more people online, supporting Canadians with digital literacy once they get online and ensuring Canadians can access the benefits of the internet in a safe and secure manner. We encourage organizations working in this space to apply for a CIRA grant and work with us to build a better online Canada."

"The internet is a vital part of most Canadian's lives and helping Canadians use this valuable resource securely is not something one organization can achieve alone," says CIRA's Chief Technology Officer and security expert Jacques Latour. "Whether it's protecting privacy and personal information, understanding the risks associated with some internet technology, or providing the digital literacy Canadians need to navigate the web securely, we are proud to partner with organizations through our Community Investment Program to ensure Canadians enjoy the best parts of the internet while also mitigating risks."

Who can apply?

  • Organizations recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency as registered charities
  • Not-for-profit organizations; and,
  • Academics and researchers affiliated with a Canadian university

Please consult our Application Guidelines for more details on funding and how to apply . Applications for this round of funding will be accepted until February 28, 2018.

About CIRA's Community Investment Program

CIRA is building a better online Canada through the Community Investment Program by funding innovative projects led by charities, not-for-profits and academic institutions that are making the internet better for all Canadians. CIRA is best known for our role managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. While this remains our primary mandate, as a member-based not-for-profit ourselves, we have a much broader goal to strengthen Canada's internet. The Community Investment Program is one of our most valuable contributions toward this goal and funds projects in infrastructure and access, digital literacy, online services, and research . Every .CA domain name registered or renewed contributes to this program. To date, CIRA has supported 102 projects with over $4.2 million in contributions.