With FY18 behind us, I can confidently say the year was a resounding success. As the organization responsible for managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians, I’m pleased to report that CIRA had its best year yet in terms of new .CA registrations. Following a successful year in FY17 as well, we continue to buck the market trend of declining growth that many of our peers around the globe are experiencing.
In FY18, we achieved over 537,000 new .CA registrations – a record year. Our marketing efforts, including encouraging people to brand themselves Canadian online, are working and we’re motivated to aim even higher next year.
This accomplishment, along with others highlighted in CIRA’s FY18 annual report to members, did not occur by happenstance. It is through careful planning and thoughtful execution that CIRA has met and sometimes exceeded its goals.
CIRA’s products and services outside of .CA are another bright spot. The decision to diversify beyond .CA was not an easy one for CIRA. Moving into new territory never is. But we were, and continue to be, strategic about it.
For example, we have used our in-house expertise and the products and services designed to support our own work and offered them to others. In the case of our cybersecurity products and services, this has resulted in new revenue streams and a safer online existence for our customers.
CIRA’s latest offering, D-Zone DNS Firewall, is most notable. Launched in June of FY18, this product protects organizations from malware and ransomware. Given increased cyber threats on organizations of all sizes in Canada and globally, it’s a timely product.
This market reality, combined with CIRA’s strong reputation in Canada and our quality D-Zone Anycast DNS product, has helped us secure 77 new Firewall customers primarily from the MUSH sector (municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals). In less than a year, D-zone DNS Firewall has over 800,000 active users and our cyber safe schools program is quite literally keeping Canadian kids safe. I anticipate continued momentum in the market for FY19.
Another high point worth noting is Fury, which is software that will soon manage the .CA registry. Fury is a top-level domain (TLD) management platform with features and functionality designed for the modern TLD business.
CIRA’s team is working diligently to transfer .CA over to Fury from its current platform. It’s a huge endeavour and I am confident in my colleague’s ability to complete this task next fiscal year. I’m also looking forward to the enhancements Fury will offer. This platform will improve the administration of the .CA by making processes less manual and more efficient. It will also allow CIRA to provide better support and services to our channel partners, the Registrars who sell .CA directly to Canadians.
In addition to our mandate to steward .CA on behalf of all Canadians, as a not-for-profit organization CIRA is also committed to giving back and investing in Canada’s internet. One of the ways we do this is through our Community Investment Program, an annual granting program now in its fifth year, with $1 million in grants distributed in FY18.
There are over 100 projects that showcase the value of this. In FY18, for example, we invested in CJFE’s Digital Self Defence workshop, focused on privacy and security of personal data, which was held in Toronto for Canadian journalists. We also funded Digital Access Day, a one-day conference that brought together internet advocates, academics, technology experts, business representatives and government to discuss challenges and solutions related to Canada’s digital divide. The planning team organized this event throughout FY18, and the event itself took place in June of FY19. These are just two examples of the types of projects CIRA funds through its Community Investment Program. Every .CA registration supports this powerful investment in Canada’s internet.
Alongside CIRA’s Community Investment Program are CIRA’s contributions toward Canadian internet exchange points, or IXPs. As the number of IXPs grow in Canada, now at 11 with two more in the early phases of development, CIRA is providing a tangible contribution to the infrastructure of Canada’s internet. We will continue this important work in FY19.
Success isn’t an accident. We have achieved all we have over the past year due to strategic planning, careful allocation of our resources and, most importantly, through the efforts of CIRA’s committed and talented employees. Employee engagement and a workplace that is inclusive and diverse is important to me. I, along with other members of CIRA’s leadership, work hard to provide an environment where people can do their best work. The results of these efforts are clear.
As we close out FY18, I’d like to thank the members of CIRA’s board, and in particular our board chair Helen McDonald, for the strong leadership provided. I’d also like to thank CIRA members for your continued engagement with CIRA, helping guide our organization and supporting our governance process.
I’m proud of the year we’ve just had and I’m confident we can continue to effectively move forward into the final two years of our corporate strategic plan and our goal to build a better online Canada.
Byron Holland, President and chief executive officer
Canadian Internet Registration Authority