The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) announced the 21 projects that will be receiving funding from its Community Investment Program; totaling $1.25 million in funding.
CIRA, a not-for-profit whose mission is to manage the .ca internet domain, awards annual funding to not-for-profits, charities, and academic institutions who are developing projects to help with digital literacy, internet infrastructure, internet access, and online services.
“The general purpose of funding projects like these is meant to support initiatives that bring the internet to Canadians that help them get online and then make the most of that online experience,” said Maureen James, the manager of the Community Investment Program, in an interview with itbusiness.ca. “So we tend to focus on infrastructure access, digital literacy projects, as well as engagement and online services. ”
Some of the noteworthy projects that were awarded funding included: AI for Education, an initiative to provide teachers with the materials needed to teach their students about AI, Mamawapowin Community Network, a project to upgrade and expand wireless infrastructure in Samson Cree First Nation, and a project from Orillia Christian Centre focused on providing internet access and digital literacy training to the homeless.
“I think what stood out was that they really go that distance to actually connecting communities to the internet… whether that’s providing them with a computer, whether that’s providing them with infrastructure, such as wireless access or actual broadband and, and ways that help them get over gaps that they currently have,” James said about the recipients.
One thing that James said stood out to her was that this year’s recipients represented all of Canada much more than any other year. In the past most of the projects were in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia, but this year saw the first recipients from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We’ve always had a good crop of projects to look at from Ontario, Quebec, and also British Columbia,” said James. “But this year, we seem to have probably the best diversity we’ve seen so far.”
Including this years funding, CIRA has doled out $6.7 million in grants overall to a total of 151 projects.