With support from .CA, Internet technology drives transformation in Canada's not-for-profit community

May 28, 2015, 07:00 ET from Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)

.CA Community Investment Program equips 25 Internet leaders with critical new project funding

OTTAWA, May 28, 2015 /CNW/ - Today the .CA Community Investment Program announced over $1 million in funding for 25 Canadian not-for-profit organizations working on the cutting-edge of Internet issues and services. This fund, generated from the registration of .CA domains, supports Canada's Internet community with funding for research, infrastructure, online services or digital literacy projects.

Key facts

  • Now in its second year, the .CA Community Investment Program was created by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) to help support projects that will measurably improve the Canadian Internet. The .CA Community Investment Program is the only funding body in Canada that targets Internet issues specifically. In 2015, the CIRA board of directors approved $1 million in funding for 25 projects. This investment builds on $1.2 million in funding delivered in 2014.
  • Projects supported this year will help Canadians gain control over their personal data, reduce food waste, enable immigrant women to become online entrepreneurs, create new tools for media literacy education and extend Internet connectivity into marginalized communities. The full listing of projects is available online here.


Executive quotes

"Canada's not-for-profit sector is taking leadership in areas such as broadband connectivity, media literacy and digital research. The sector has an important role to play in our collective national response to the most persistent and pressing digital divides. Our .CA Community Investment Program is designed to ensure that these innovators have the resources they need to experiment with solutions and deliver necessary new services."
- Byron Holland, president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority

"YWCA Toronto's Girls' Centre is the longest running girls-only space in Canada, where girls build leadership skills, enhance their self-esteem, learn to live safely in their communities, make new friends and learn to understand and challenge the world around them. The growing role that technology is playing in the lives of young people means that our programming must shift to respond. With funding from the team at .CA, this year's Digital Girls program will reach over 150 marginalized girls, providing them with internet fluency while constructively addressing the gender and diversity gaps that exist online and in technology. We are learning that with the right space to learn and grow young girls can seize the opportunities presented by new technologies."
- Heather McGregor, CEO YWCA Toronto

Project examples

  • Open Effect is empowering Canadians with control over their personal data. With a simple application called Access My Info, Canadians will be able to make requests to companies and government departments for the records of their personal data. While filing such requests is the right of every Canadian, the Access My Info app will guide individuals through the process, cite relevant legislation, cite relevant legislation and help with information about how companies and governments should respond. More information on Open Effect is available in the press release here.
  • Story Planet has created a workshop series that aims to turn a team of kids into digital geniuses, inspiring and empowering them as they collaborate in the design of an original story-making app. The result of these workshops will be a comprehensive design specification for an interactive digital tool where kids can safely express themselves and support each other through story making. More information on Story Planet is available online here.
  • The Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group is working to modernize the delivery of emergency services through next generation 9-1-1 technology. Improving the capability of 9-1-1 systems to leverage powerful mobile technologies can help significantly improve Canadian's safety and security. More information on the next generation 9-1-1 project is available in the press release here.


More information and interview requests

Project leaders and .CA Community Investment Program representatives are available for interviews and commentary.

Full listing of .CA Community Investment Program recipients for 2015

Allô Prof
Development of technology and online content

Due to Canada's sheer expansiveness, there is a large need for Internet-based professional educational support services. This project will improve the Internet for Canadians by supporting the production of French educational content on a reputable website that is free for everyone. Remote populations and underprivileged communities will be the first to benefit. This grant will help to prevent learning delays, which are a contributing factor in 68 per cent of dropout cases.

Carleton University
User authentication for children

Canadian children spend significant time online, yet the subject of user authentication for children has received almost no attention. This project will investigate the suitability of various user authentication schemes for children through empirical studies. Based on investigation, new designs may be prototyped and empirically evaluated for security and usability. Recommendations for text passwords and new schemes will be developed.

Creation of a Next Generation 911 Development Forum

The current 9-1-1 system cannot fully leverage the communications capabilities of modern hand-held devices (email or instant messaging, for example). Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) is aimed at modernizing this critical system that the public has come to rely upon to access emergency response. Specifically, this project will create a forum dedicated to the discussion and development of policies for NG9-1-1 in Canada with a view to harnessing the capabilities of the Internet to deal with current communications methods.

Enabling Online Apparel Entrepreneurship

Enabling immigrant and women in need to develop their digital literacy will help to improve their economic well-being. The "Enabling Online Apparel Entrepreneurship" project will support traditionally marginalized individuals to build their apparel businesses by accessing online business, marketing and sales tools. Participants will learn to use online business and financial tools, marketplaces, sales software and relevant web tools.

First Mile Connectivity Consortium
Serving the unserved: Shaping digital policy to support community broadband with remote First Nations across Canada

Remote and rural Indigenous communities are losing out in the digital economy since they lack affordable, accessible and appropriate Internet. Given the lack of private sector incentives to build, upgrade and maintain digital infrastructure, these populations established their own non-profit broadband providers. This project will collect and mobilize evidence at a major regulatory hearing to highlight their challenges and propose a permanent fund to sustain their work.

Take Back Your Tech: Nonprofit Tech Solutions Lab

Technology plays an increasingly critical role in ensuring success in the non-profit sector, but professionals who choose to dedicate their lives these social good endeavours often lack access to and the ability to make full use of these digital tools. This project will ensure non-profit professionals can access, and more importantly, effectively use technology for social change.

Fruit Share
Fruit Share Connection Service

Building on Fruit Share's current work of rescuing surplus fruit by connecting local fruit owners with volunteer pickers, this project will create an automated online tool to connect fruit owners with fruit pickers to enable more people to rescue more fruit in a more timely, efficient and cost effective way. Once proven, this tool will be available for use by any community interested in rescuing, sharing and enjoying surplus fruit at FruitShare.ca.

Halifax Regional CAP Association
Adult Digital Literacy: Bridging the Gaps

Ensuring those with low digital literacy skills can easily discover and make use of online information and communications, this project will provide orientation, training, and support in the use of computers and mobile technology. Using the existing HRCAP network, this program would be available to anyone within the Halifax Municipality who has fallen behind the curve of the digital divide.

Heritage Skills Development Centre
Scarborough Youth Digital Skills (SYDS) Project

Some youth lack proper educational opportunities to learn necessary digital skills or principles of Internet safety. This project aims to educate the at-risk, marginalized and underserved Scarborough youth on fundamental digital skills and web safety. The project will provide youth with privacy education, improve their web access as well as create a platform for youth participants to share and exchange knowledge/information through an online forum.

McGill University
What's Around Me? Conveying Environmental Awareness to the Visually Impaired Community

Navigating a city, particularly the unfamiliar parts, can be difficult for those with visual impairments. The Autour app, supported by the .CA Community Investment Program funding, will be made available for use in major cities across Canada. This project will enrich the awareness of the visually impaired community of places around them and services available. In turn, individual users will gain greater autonomy and confidence in exploring their environment, whether in familiar areas or previously unvisited parts of their cities.

Digital Literacy Framework and Resources for Canadian Secondary Schools (Grades 9-12)

MediaSmarts has produced a comprehensive digital literacy framework for Canadian elementary schools and this project extends this work to secondary schools. MediaSmarts will review digital literacy curricula for secondary schools in all provinces and territories, develop a comprehensive secondary school digital literacy framework, and produce digital literacy resources which are aligned with the framework and provincial/territorial curriculum outcomes.

Medicine Hat Public Library
Kids and Pis

As Canadians become more reliant on technology, digital literacy in children has become increasingly important. This project will make the Internet better for Canadians by proactively building digital literacy skills in the kids of Medicine Hat. This program will bring together kids between 11 and 14 to learn foundational digital knowledge through hands-on learning with Raspberry Pi educational computers and add-ons.

Moisson Montréal
eLearning application

Reducing food waste can help feed more people. This project makes the Internet better for Canadians by providing thousands of individuals access to virtual training related to the grocery store recovery program operated by the local network of Québec food banks (18 Moissons) through an eLearning application. Using this application, employees and volunteers of the Moissons and hundreds of grocery stores across the province will be able to learn more about food conservation, how the food recovery program works and increase their awareness of food waste.

Open Effect
Improving Canadians' access to their personal information

While the Internet has led to more personal information being collected, ways to access the personal information companies and organizations have collected remain analogue and difficult to navigate. This project will develop an online platform to help more Canadians access their information from commercial organizations and governmental agencies, bridging the gap between citizens and their personal data.

Connecting Canadian Communities

Working together with nearly half a million supporters, diverse businesses, and public institutions, this project will create a world-class online platform that educates Canadians about the impact and value of municipal broadband in urban, rural, and remote communities. This platform will inform and connect Canadians on municipal broadband initiatives, offering tools to collaboratively reimagine how such projects could benefit communities.

Simon Fraser University, Canadian Environmental Health Atlas
The Canadian Environmental Health Atlas: Data Visualization, Interactive Tools and Videos to Enhance Public Health in Canada

Increasing public awareness of ways to prevent death, chronic disease, and disability will enhance the health of Canadians. The Canadian Environmental Health Atlas is an online, interactive website (ehatlas.ca) to engage and inform Canadians and show how the environment impacts health. By making this science accessible through interactive tools, videos, maps, and graphics, the Atlas has the potential to expand the focus on preventing chronic disease, enhancing the health of Canadians and reducing health care costs.

Simon Fraser University Library
Smarter Texts for Advancing Public Knowledge

Many important digital documents cannot be easily read on some of the most popular digital reading devices. This project, led by SFU Library's Public Knowledge Project, will support an XML application that will enable academic journals, researchers, and other creators to move beyond fixed-format PDF publications and replace them with device-responsive, reflowable, and machine-readable formats that Canadians can use in any context to advance knowledge, inform policy, and satisfy personal curiosities at low or no cost.

School Projects with Internet Brains

Teachers need fresh tools to teach digital literacy programming. This need is even more pressing in areas of rapid change, such as Internet technology. This curriculum and training project will empower public school teachers to integrate Internet of Things web technologies into school projects. The classroom activity guide will enable classrooms to make a model of their province's power system, complete with a web interface to control a display of 3D printed LED-lit houses showing the current power generation and usage in their province.

Story Planet
Story Planet App Maker Workshop

App design is becoming an important skill as mobile-computing dominates the Canadian market. Story Planet's App Maker Workshop series aims to turn a team of kids into digital geniuses, inspiring and empowering them as they collaborate in the design of an original story-making app. The result of these workshops will be a comprehensive design and creative specification for an interactive digital tool where kids can safely express themselves and support each other through story making. 

Théâtre Youtheatre

Engaging young people in issues of digital literacy offers a constant challenge. Through an interactive platform used in Canadian classrooms, students will explore themes of Internet safety, privacy, and digital citizenship while generating a character and storyline for a live theatre production. The goal of this project is to use the Internet as a tool to engage young people in the arts, while discussing the effects of technology on their lives.

University of Ottawa – Civil Law Section
Canadian cyberjustice: Solutions aimed at cyberintimidation and online anonymity

Cyberintimination affects all Canadians, especially vulnerable populations. This project will improve the Internet experience for all Canadians, by developing innovative and effective solutions in the area of cyberintimidation. A comparative analysis will be conducted in order to propose concrete cyberjustice solutions in Canada that differ from and/or are inspired by other jurisdictions, in accordance with specific Canadian requirements.

University of Toronto
Standardized Transparency: Platform for Generating Comparable Transparency Reports

Canadian telecommunications companies have begun releasing transparency reports that detail how often government agencies request information from the companies. This project will propose a standardized method for the reports issued by Canadian telecommunications companies that uses a digital platform for generating high-quality reports. The online platform will guide and provide rationales for all components involved in developing transparency reports.

University of Waterloo Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC)
Online Mathematics and Computer Science Courseware

High-quality educational resources can often be hard to find or prohibitively expensive. The CEMC's online Mathematics and Computer Science Courseware provide free, high-quality educational resources in the important fields of mathematics and computer science. This project's materials provide interactive high school level resources that teach mathematics and computer science and can be used by students and teachers to supplement what is available in the classroom.

Youth Empowering Parents
Making YEP accessible to all Canadian Communities

Youth Empowering Parents (YEP) wishes to make its United Nations award winning computer training program and curriculum available to all Canadian communities by delivering webinars and creating an online replication toolkit comprised of training modules and videos accessible for public access. With this project, thousands of disadvantaged adults/seniors are expected to be trained in digital literacy across Canada.

YWCA Toronto
Digital Girls

Through a local response, this project will address the gender/diversity gap that exists in technology by engaging more than 12 mentors/leaders and 150 girls, including marginalized girls in technology camps, and providing increased access to digital devices and the internet. Girls will enhance critical thinking skills and practice safe, positive behavior in online communities, while exploring careers in technology.


SOURCE Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)