CIRA annual general meeting at Canadians Connected 2017
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CIRA annual general meeting at Canadians Connected 2017

– [Susan] So we will now begin the CIRA
Annual General Meeting portion of today’s proceedings. And I will now call to order
the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Internet Registration
Authority. Is this sounding okay? Good afternoon and thank you very much for
joining us today at CIRA’s Annual General Meeting. With another fiscal year behind
us along with several notable successes, CIRA is moving ahead positively and
with confidence. Today, I look forward to speaking with you about CIRA’s strategy,
which will include a brief look back in time and into the future. Following my
remarks, I’ll welcome Byron Holland, CIRA’s President and CEO to
the stage. He’s on the stage actually. And he will go into greater detail about
how our strategy is being operationalized by several highlights
from the last fiscal year. Lastly, fellow Board Member and Chair of
the Finance, Audit, Investment and Risk Management Committee, Rowena Liang, will
review CIRA’s audited financial statements with you. There will be opportunities to
ask questions at certain points through the AGM, so I’d like to go quickly
over the procedures. During the AGM, we ask that you come to the
microphone stand to ask questions. For those of you joining us via webcast,
click on the Ask a Question link on your screen. You can then type in your question
and submit it and the question will be read in the room on your behalf. Before
asking your question, please state your name and affiliation. At the registration
area, members received a kit folder. I encourage you to review the materials
inside, which include today’s agenda and CIRA’s audited financial statements and
report to members. For those members joining us by webcast, all these materials
are available on CIRA’s website at As a member based organization, only
eligible CIRA members may vote. In accordance with CIRA’s bylaws and the
Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, in order to vote at this AGM, you must
have been a CIRA member 21 days prior to today’s Annual General Meeting and
to be continued as a member as of today. Those eligible members who are joining us
via webcast, are able to vote and ask questions and will receive instructions
for when to do so during my presentation. For those of you here in the room, when a
vote takes place, we ask that everybody please remain in the room. Eligible
members may vote by raising their voting card when a vote is called. If you’re an
eligible member, you will find this card in the AGM kit you received today, it
looks like this. Please hold your card high until you are asked to put it down,
as it is our intention to count every vote. For those of you joining us
via webcast, when a vote is called, you will see the motion appear in a
box on your screen, simply click on your selection and submit, and your
vote will be automatically registered. In accordance with our bylaws, Paul
Havey, who is the CIRA Corporate Secretary and also our Vice President of
Corporate Services, will act as Secretary and I will act as Chair. By being
advised… I haven’t been advised yet. – [Byron] We have
reached the quorum. – We have? – Yes. Absolutely. – I’ve been advised that we have the
required quorum of 100 members present in the room and online. With that,
I declare the meeting duly constituted. We will now proceed with the business at
hand. Today’s agenda was posted on CIRA’s AGM website on August 2nd, 2017. You will
also find a copy of the agenda in the AGM kit given to you at check-in
today and online on CIRA’s website. Unless I hear any objections, we will
proceed with the agenda as distributed. The next item on the agenda is the
verification of the 2000… Oh sorry, did I miss something? No. Okay, sorry.
And the next item on the agenda is the verification of the 2016 Annual General
Meeting minutes. A copy of the minutes from the 2016 Annual General Meeting
is available in your kits and online at CIRA’s website. These minutes were made
available to all members through CIRA’s AGM website on August 2nd, 2017. If
there are no objections, I will verify the minutes as correct. The minutes stand verified. I’d like to begin my report to you by
introducing the dedicated and hardworking members of your Board, who are in
attendance today, and thank them for their contributions, hard work, and support of
CIRA. I invite each Board Member to please stand when I say your name. Helen
McDonald, Board Vice Chair and Chair of the Compensation and Review Committee.
Michael Geist, Chair of the Community Investment Committee. Rowena Liang, who is
on the stage, Chair of the Finance Audit Investment and Risk Management Committee.
Faye West, Chair of the Governance Committee. And Rob Villeneuve,
Chair of the Market Strategy Committee. Others are Alex Beraskow, who
unfortunately was unable to attend today, Kerry Brown, Andrew Escobar, Louise
Macdonald, Marita Moll and Bill Sandiford. The Board also has three non-voting
members…advisors in accordance with our bylaws, who offer invaluable assistance
and advice to the Board in our proceedings. And they are John
Demco, Byron Holland and Pam Miller. I would again, like to thank them all for
their hard work through this past year and for all their insight and
contribution to the Board. I would now like to take just a few
minutes to share a little bit about action CIRA’s taking within its corporate
strategic plan and its objective to achieve its goal to build a better online
Canada. To talk about where we are today, we need to understand the
strategy that guided us to this point. CIRA has completed the first year of its
new corporate strategic plan, which runs from 2017 through 2020. And I’m pleased to
say that there are signs indicating that we’re on a path of success. Guiding CIRA’s
strategy is the overarching goal to build a better online Canada. CIRA’s strategy
has been developed during a time of great change where the global domain market
is evolving rapidly. New generic domain options have come to market and growth
levels of country top-level domains like .ca have been leveling off after
previous years of double-digit growth. Further, the security threats in our
market, as I’m sure you’re all aware, have never been larger or more persistent.
With this in mind, we knew we needed to take actions to allow CIRA to
remain relevant, sustainable, and more importantly, to continue to
effectively steward .ca on behalf of Canadians. This included actions around
how we ensure that .ca remains a safe, secure, and stable platform for all
Canadians, our number one mission. How to get .ca into the hands of more
Canadians? I think Terry’s comments highlighted the branding opportunities
that we see from that. And how we ensure that the revenue needed to manage
the organization with excellence? And finally, how we give
back to our community? The strategy laid out three pillars to act
as guideposts towards building a better online Canada. They are essentially,
operate, innovate, and donate. All decisions are taken within the
context of these pillars. Within operate, CIRA’s efforts go toward the stewardship
of .ca and a commitment to a safe secure and stable registry, an underlying
domain system, domain name system. CIRA set out to promote .ca to Canadians,
so they could brand themselves as Canadian online. CIRA also maintains strong
relationships with registrar’s who are, in a sense, our window to the
world, they sell .ca to Canadians. Byron will provide further details,
but I’m pleased to share, that this past fiscal year, CIRA surpassed
2.5 million .ca domain names registered overall. This is an exceptional success
within a market that is flat-lining and maturing. Now to the innovate pillar. As I mentioned
in the face of a maturing market, an introduction of new domain extensions,
it’s important for CIRA to innovate, to remain relevant in our industry and to
safeguard long-term financial stability of the organization. Innovation is a
key component of CIRA’s strategy. New products have and are being developed
and have gone to market and we are seeing early signs of positive results. Included
in our strategy around innovation is ensuring that we are part of the global
internet landscape. As we developed our strategy, we knew then as we know now,
that we cannot effectively progress the Canadian internet without actively
engaging in the global internet. Our goal is to build a better online
Canada and that doesn’t mean we only look inward at domestic internet issues and
opportunities. The internet is global and connects us all across the street and
across the ocean. Issues that impact our peers overseas, naturally affect us as
well, and global points of presence help protect the Canadian internet. Fulfilling our mandate requires
this whole world view of our industry. Given the changing environment we’ve been
experiencing since the inception of our strategy, innovating in the areas where we
have expertise is the prudent path forward for our organization’s long-term financial
stability and our ability to operate at a level of excellence we are
recognized for. On the donate side, giving back to the Canadian internet is
ingrained in CIRA’s corporate culture and our objectives. Whether it is investments
in the Canadian internet ecosystem through the new internet exchange points, helping
Canadians test and understand their internet speed and performance or
CIRA’s Community Investment Program, CIRA is making a
difference for all Canadians. I’d like to briefly touch on CIRA’s
Community Investment Program, which is now in its fourth year. The latest
round of grant recipients were announced this past June. To date, CIRA
has supported 100 projects with Canadian not-for-profits, charities and research
institutions with over $4.2 million. These organizations are doing
good things through and for the internet. They are building infrastructure and
testing new technologies to get more Canadians online. They are enhancing the
digital literacy of Canadians of all ages and they are taking their services online
to reach more Canadians than otherwise would have been the case. A portion of
every .ca registered goes towards this program. Before I welcome Byron to the podium, I’d
like to take a moment to say a big thank you to Byron and CIRA’s staff for their
unwavering commitment to the organization and its goal. A knowledge-based
organization like CIRA is only as good as its people, and our people are among the
best and most dedicated in their fields. I’d also, again, like to thank my fellow
Board Members. I have served on the CIRA Board for the past six years and as Chair
for the past four years, but have decided to step down at the end of my term in
October. I would like to thank all of the Board Members whom I’ve had the privilege
of working with over these two terms. It’s been a great honor to serve with you
and work alongside you towards achieving CIRA’s goals. I thank you sincerely. And
I’d like to thank all of you here today, particularly CIRA Members, your support
of our organization is imperative and we don’t take it for granted. You represent
both our customers and our organization, so your involvement and voice is
incredibly valuable in helping guide us to a successful future. CIRA is a member-based organization and
our members decide the outcome of our Annual Election Process. Voting opens in
CIRA’s Annual Election Process today, and if you are a member, I encourage you to
vote for candidates that you know will do a great job for CIRA. Please visit our
website at to learn more and I thank you for your continued
engagement. We’ve developed an ambitious strategy for our organization with a
goal that motivates us all to build a better online Canada. That’s a pretty big
mandate. Whether this is by fulfilling our mandate around a safe and secure and
stable registry and domain name system, or through products and services offered that
align with our expertise and make the internet stronger and safer, or by giving
that directly to actions that get more Canadians online and able to benefit
from what the internet has to offer, we are clear in our path forward.
Our efforts every day lead us in this direction, a direction we know is the
right one for CIRA and for Canada’s place in the internet. I will now invite Byron
Holland, President and CEO of CIRA to present the President’s report. – Thank you, Susan. And
just in case you didn’t catch it, I did want to reiterate the fact that
Susan has been on the Board for six years, has acted as Chair for the last four
years, and is stepping down at the end of her term, which ends this October. And
as President and CEO of this organization, having worked with Susan over that time,
I just want to say thank you to Susan for all that she’s given to this
organization. So thank you very much. As you’ve heard, we’ve engaged in
developing a new strategy for the organization. We’ve just gone through
effectively, the first year of a four-year strategy. And I think to a great degree,
we’ve really started to execute on the purpose of it, innovate, operate, donate.
Of course, the primary mandate of our strategy is to operate .ca. It is, at a
top level, to build a better online Canada but our primary mandate within
that is to operate .ca. And to that end, we’ve had a very strong year, as Susan
just mentioned, we have topped two and a half million names in the past year. Even
though our target was 460,000 new .ca domain names, we actually surpassed
500,000 new .ca domain names this year. In fact, it’s about 505,000.
That’s only the second time in the almost 20 year history of CIRA
that we have achieved that number. And that is a remarkable number
in and of itself in our history, but also in the context of our industry. As
many of you who have been members for a while know, our industry is maturing,
legacy top-level domain operators like CIRA and our peers around the world, have
experienced flattening growth over the past number of years. The days of
double-digit growth are, to a very great degree, well behind us as the legacy
operators. And CIRA is no different. But the fact is, in spite of maturing
industry, in spite of the fact that we’ve had, essentially, a deregulation of our
industry where 1,000 new top-level domains have entered the market and are
providing much stiffer competition, the rise of substitute platforms, be they
Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or others. In spite of all of that CIRA has
continued to grow and to deliver on the primary mandate. And there’s no silver bullet that’s made
that happen, there’s no silver bullet that’s allowed us to outperform,
essentially, the entire market. It’s many individual steps, it’s the acts, the many individual
acts that we undertake, be it in marketing, be it in technology,
be it in our outreach to the world, but I did want to call a
couple out. One, is of course, branding. And clearly I tread into
somewhat dangerous ground to talk about branding after we’ve had Terry O’Reilly
up here, which was awesome I thought. I love to hear about branding and what
that means and how to connect with our customers, with our members. But also,
the notion of what we can do in terms of Canadian branding. And to that end, part
of our success this year has been a result of rebranding, really tapping into
the Canadian element of who we are, of Canadiana. But it’s also about the
nitty-gritty of building our website, of being able to deliver the information
and the material that’s relevant, be able to deliver it quickly and easily.
Be able to deliver good branding, a good experience on our website and
facilitate the transition to our registrar partners who are absolutely critical in
getting .ca into the hands of Canadians. Because as most of you know, we
don’t sell .ca and domain names direct, in a sense, we’re like the manufacturer.
We make them and then we sell them in turn to our channel of distribution or our
registrar partners and they’re the ones who sell to the end-user. So it’s
through great relationships with them, programs, marketing, working with them
that allows them to be successful, and by extension, to make
ourselves successful. So not only has that been a very solid
success this year, but part of what we do involves end-user customer service. So to
create that experience when an end-user calls and has an issue or a question or
wants something straightened out, to make sure that we deliver on the kind
of service that Terry just talked about, exceptional service. And I’ll give
you an example, from time-to-time I’ve sat in on customer service calls and
there’s always one that has stood out. And this gentleman called in and said
that he couldn’t find his photos on his computer and he’d lost track of photos
of his grandchildren on his computer. Obviously .ca, CIRA, the manufacturer of
.ca domain names has nothing to do with where you’ve misfiled your photos on your
computer. But without missing a beat, the customer service person who I was
listening in with, just without saying anything, just went into, “Well, can you
see this on your computer?” And started to…just from a basic understanding of
filing on Microsoft, of the Microsoft operating system, walked him
through how he might find his photos. And the good news was the crisis was
averted, photos were found and he left happy. Clearly, nothing to do with us. But
nonetheless, the kind of experience that we as CIRA hope to replicate over and
over. Not necessarily helping you find your lost files, but
that special experience. I was also amused by Terry’s story
about the cake in the hotel because I, for my part of the business, I end
up travelling a reasonable amount. And one time, I was on my way to Asia on
my birthday and I’d flown all day, the day before, I arrived late at night halfway
around the world on the day of my birthday. All alone in Asia. I know it’s a
sad story. I go to my room feeling sorry for myself because of this and there
on my desk, is a little cake with “Happy Birthday Byron,” written on it. And I
thought it was totally unique to me, I’m shocked to hear it’s happened to other
people. Anyway, it’s been a great year from a .ca perspective, a real outperform
year for all the reasons I’ve listed and many others. One of the things we ask, or we have asked
as part of our strategic planning process is to be a steward of the .ca. What does
that really mean? How do we be an effective steward of, in a sense, the
ultimate renewable resource for Canada? How do we support the millions of people
who’ve chosen .ca to be their place online with a .ca domain name? And how
do we support the many, many, many millions more who just use .ca domain
names when they want to access a .ca domain name website, for example? And I
want to echo some of the comments that Susan has made. Because the industry
is changing, because it’s maturing, how do we ensure that stewardship,
what is stewardship? Part of it, of course, is financial stewardship. Part
of it is ensuring we have the resources to deliver on the mandate, to
deliver on the promise of a trusted, safe, secure, resilient part of the
internet that we have domain over. And to ensure that and to continue to
deliver on the promise, one of the things that we’ve decided upon was to embark on
some other products and services beyond just .ca domain names, both to offer
products of value to Canadian .ca holders and beyond, but also to ensure the
long-term financial sustainability of the organization. And some of those new products and
services have absolutely led to new innovations for us and beyond, and some of
them are around the tools that we actually use day-to-day. I think the
phrase is, “We eat our own dog food.” We build stuff that we use and then are
able to share it out into the world at a quality level that people expect from the
operator of .ca. And that starts with our primary product, if you will, and that’s
the actual registry, the registry of names where all the .ca’s in effect, coming to
life, where they’re housed for us a very large database, if you will, where we make
sure there’s only one name of that name, that the right person has it, is
authorized to use it, etc. CIRA has…we’re just at the time where we are
starting to roll out our third-generation registry platform. So CIRA’s been around
almost 20 years, we built two registry platforms in that time. We have
effectively built our next-gen registry, the third-generation registry. And over
the course of the next year and a half, we’ll be migrating ca onto that new
registry platform, a platform we call Fury in-house. And it truly is the
next generation of registry platforms. It’s much more flexible. It’s much more
feature-rich. It addresses many of the issues that our registrar partners have
asked for. We’ll have better management of .ca ourselves. It was built for
.ca, for the next 10 years of .ca. But as part of that, we asked ourselves,
“Should we build a monolithic system only for .ca in the advent of a deregulated
market with 1,000 new top-level domains in it?” And part of our answer was,
“No, that would not be a good idea.” We should build what we call a
multi-tenant environment, where we can run numerous top-level domains on that
one existing platform, effectively, future proofing the platform for whatever the
internet registry business holds over the next decade or so. And to that end, also
be able to share knowledge with our peers as a ccTLD operator, it’s a close
collaborative community globally. So we’re also able to share the
advent of some of our new innovations, our features and functionality
on the Fury platform. Not only that, it provides an opportunity
for us to participate in that registry services market where we can offer
services to new gTLDs, the generic top-level domains, the ones
that end with like .hockey, .music, or .gay or .quebec. Any one of the
thousand new top-level domains, as well as potentially, some of our country code
operator peers who’ve looked at our Fury platform and been suitably impressed with
what we’ve done and have reached out to us to talk about using Fury for their
needs. So that’s the number one product innovation that we’ve been working
on over the last little while, and certainly over the course of
fiscal ’17, which we’re talking about. But it’s not the only one. Most people
think of us as the operator of .ca, but we also operate the underlying DNS associated
with .ca zone. And part of that, of course, deals with security making sure
that, that space is secure and resilient. And to that end, we’ve built out our own
Anycast environment. Without getting into the details of what Anycast is, for those
who don’t know, it helps provide multiple points of presence for .ca around Canada
and beyond, through the rest of the world, to help provide that more resilient
robust and high-performing experience. But we’ve also built that in a way
that we can leverage it for others. And we’d been doing exactly that. In
fact, we’ve gone from 9 external customers to 177 customers who use our Anycast
product over the past year and a half to two years since we introduced it. By doing
so, we’ve helped protect over 16,000 web sites associated with those customers. So again, like Fury, we also use this
for ourselves. That’s where it starts, and we build it to what we call
TLD grade, and certainly .ca TLD grade. While not specific to FY ’17, which of
course is what we’re here to talk about, just this summer we launched another
security-related product called DNS Firewall. That’s very new to us. It’s new
to the market, but we’ve seen some very strong results with that. And that’s the
kind of product that can help many organizations or institutions protect
themselves from ransomware or malware or those types of things. And I look forward
to talking to you about Firewall this time next year. So not only do we do these product
innovations for ourselves, which of course is first and foremost, to be
able to offer those products to other institutions and organizations, but we
also work with municipalities and smart communities, if you will. And as you heard
earlier, we will be doing a panel on smart communities, which I think is very timely,
especially considering the potential Amazon bid by Ottawa, I think everybody
knows that Amazon’s looking for HQ2 and Ottawa is going to be bidding for that
apparently, or at least that’s what the news says. So smart communities are
definitely top of mind, I would say, all across Canada, but no doubt, with
a particular focus right now in Ottawa. But we as CIRA work with communities as
well. And we do a couple of things to help communities, or at least, in the way
that we as CIRA can bring value. In fact…pardon me. Last year, we worked
with 12 different communities across Canada in helping them actually understand
the internet infrastructure or performance better in their specific cities and
municipalities. And we do that, in particular, with something we
call the internet performance test, so it is exactly that, an internet
performance test, which we have built and operate. Now many will say, “Well,
there’s any number of speed tests, why did you guys do that?” And there
are many, many different speed tests. Most speed tests are offered by
a particular provider, and often from the Telco perspective, it’s testing
their network, which is a perfectly legitimate test, but when you
do that speed test from your ISP, all you’re doing is testing that
ISP’s network. Not surprisingly, you will often get exactly the performance
that you have paid for or thereabouts. Our test is actually an internet
performance test. When you do something online and you reach out across the entire
internet, what is the performance that you receive there? Because you’re crossing
a network of networks, the internet, to get to whatever that final
destination is. And we test that. So we test speed, which certainly
is interesting and important, but we also test the quality of that
connection. You can buy 25 or 30-meg and yet still get jitter and stutter on
Netflix. Why is that? Those are more qualitative elements. So we test those
elements. In fact, we test 100 different data points on each connection. And
that’s highly valuable for policy makers, for municipalities, but also right down
into the deep engineering community as well, to understand what is happening
with the internet in a given space. And we provide value back to the end-user,
we heat map it so people can see, literally down to their street, what their
performance is, what their neighborhood’s performance is, what their municipality’s
performance is. How does it compare against the rest of Canada.
It highlights questions, you know, on 300,000 plus tests, we see average
speed just over 20-meg. New Brunswick’s 28-29. The highest in
Canada as a province. Why is that? What have they done that’s different? There’s lessons for the rest of
us there. So that’s one way that we’ve really worked with municipalities to help
them understand and set a baseline upon which they can start making decisions
on how to go forward and improve. In addition to working with municipalities
to help them, as Susan has mentioned, we do have what we call, a Community
Investment Program, which has multiple components to it. There’s a Granting
Program, which Susan spoke to a moment ago. And here we just have a few examples
or four examples of the kinds of programs that we’ve supported. Some of them
are application-based for end-users, some of them are digital literacy-based,
some of them are more infrastructure centric. But in the past four years, we’ve
provided over 100 separate grants for applicants to our CIC program. Not only do we do that, we do a number of
other things on behalf of the internet and have continued to do so over fiscal ’17.
And in particular, that includes internet exchange points. And I’ve talked about
internet exchange points previously at AGMs, we’ve been very involved in
those. And again, without getting into the specific technology, effectively what
those do is bring all of the people who publish information on a large scale, be
it governments, large organizations, Google… Netflix is clearly pushing
a lot of information onto the internet. It brings all those content providers
and literally connects them directly at, literally the switch level, with those
content distributors or ISPs, without having to push all of that data out on to
the open internet, which tends to be much more expensive, as well as a longer
transit. Slower degrades performance, lowers the potential for resiliency. There’s a whole range of reasons why
internet exchange points are a very good idea for the internet fabric of a country.
A few years ago we really had one, maybe two, depending on your definition,
and, over the past number of years, CIRA has been catalytic in helping
communities help themselves to build out IXPs and improve their internet in their
region. So that’s something we’ve been very involved in above and beyond our
Granting Program. But it is just one more example of the kind of contribution that
CIRA is making to the internet in Canada. So there’s the internet in Canada, but
of course that’s just one corner of the internet. We can’t strictly be concerned
about what’s happening only in Canada every day, we’re concerned about what’s
happening to the internet in other corners of the world, other corners of the world
that aren’t as committed to a free and open internet as we are. And we
participate in many different ways and many different forms, but in particular
with ICANN who’s a global administrator coordinator of the domain name space and
deals with a lot of other policy issues with regards to the internet as well. And
that’s really a global entity that helps set globally acceptable policies,
be they security, legal, others that we try to adhere to as best we can. Center is another organization,
it’s more like the OECD or NATO, it’s mainly European operators.
We come together to set best practices, do research, understand our respective
networks and work together to help improve performance, security, policy, etc. And
then of course, there’s also the Internet Society, a global entity for the overall.
They do many, many things but advocate for and help to improve the internet
writ large, as well as access to the internet. And we participate
in all of those realms plus others. So, that gives you a sense of what
we’ve been up to over the past year, be it building the next generation of the
registry platform, developing new security products for ourselves and for others,
helping do what we can to build out the Canadian internet, to better the Canadian
internet, whether it’s through granting worthy projects or being directly involved
ourselves through IXPs or working with municipalities. Those are all the kinds of
activities that CIRA has been involved in over the past year. So we all celebrated Canada 150. You know,
we look out into the future as part of our business and think what can the internet
be, what can it be for us as Canadians, what could it deliver for the rest of the
world as well. And part of our strategic plan of course, is doing what we can
to make it the best internet possible for Canada and to try to bring a little
bit of Canada to the global internet, which I can assure you it can
use. Anyway, I did also want to say, very specifically, thank you to the
Board Members, my Board Members, CIRA’s Board Members, your Board Members
who have helped steer and guide this ship, this company and develop the strategic
plan and support the strategic plan. I also want to say thank you to the
members, your role is absolutely critical. One of the most important things
you do is coming up next week, vote, get out and vote for
the new potential crop of CIRA Board Directors. Very important, you have
a say, make sure you pick the right ones. I have faith in the wisdom of crowds,
so thank you very much. And of course, I especially want to thank my team,
the staff at CIRA who do all of the things that I have just talked about and many,
many more, not the least of which is make an event like this run seamlessly and
make sure that CIRA and .ca run well. So, thank you. I’ll sit right here. – [Rowena] Hello everyone. Now
we’re getting to the exciting part of the meeting here, I’m going to present you
with numbers. My name is Rowena Liang and I’m the Chair of the Finance, Audit,
Investment and Risk Committee. So here we are to talk about the 2017
financial results. And just for your information, from a procedure
point of view, after my presentation, I will invite Susan back to the podium
for the appointment of the auditors. And then, after that, we will invite
questions from the audience. So, let’s go to the auditors report. There
was a summary of the audited financial statement in your package. And for those
who are online, it is also posted online and you can follow them online.
You may just want to refer them to those statements as I will only be highlighting
key elements of the financial statements. So, in a lot of ways, this is a pretty
routine year for us, we do not have anything…like we didn’t have
moves that we had previous years, we did not change auditors, nor do we
have any specific regulatory and financial accounting things that we have to change
this year. The FY ’17 financial statements have been audited by our auditors, KPMG,
and we have been issued an unqualified opinion by our external auditor. So in lay
terms, an unqualified opinion represent a clean audit without any issues and a
view that the financial statements are presented fairly. So let’s go to the statement of
operations. Slide number… Forward. The total revenue for the fiscal
year 2017 exceeded $21 million, this is $1.4 million increase over the
previous fiscal year. The majority of the revenue growth, $1 million of the $1.4,
is attributable to our traditional domain registration business. So while our fiscal
year ’17 domain growth is still in the single-digit, as Byron was talking about,
we’re at 5.5% this year and it was at 4.1% last year. While the growth rate is really
quite flat and is in the single-digit, it is actually quite a bit better ,and
slightly better than the global trend of declining growth rate amongst most of
the ccTLDs. We ended the year with total domain under new management
of $2.6 million, which is an increase of approximately a $135,000 over the previous year. And in the
last fiscal year, we only had $96,000, so that’s a good increase. Going forward, our revenue diversification
strategy continues to grow. Sponsorship and other revenue have
increased by $527,000, this is five times over the previous level in the previous
year. And it’s largely comprised of sales in our dezoned managed
DNS services product line. CIRA has made significant enroll also,
into the research and education network in the Canadian internet exchange
points and also in international ccTLDs. We now have over 180 unique customer
relationships, which is more than twice the number we had or twice the number of
customer we had in 2016. These customers are being served on a Canadian owned and
managed global DNS infrastructure and this is contributing towards a broader
mandate while also providing us with the opportunity to diversify our revenue. Total expenditure in fiscal year ’17 were
$22.2 million, which is approximately $1.2 million higher than the previous year. The
most significant area of change in the underlying expenditure is in the area of
salary and benefits, community investment program and communication awareness and
education. And I’ll go into that on the next slide. Salaries and benefit increased
by $600,000, and this is largely just a combination of routine and normal salary
increases and also a combination of a few additional resources. CIRA also invests at
$1.4 million in our Community Investment Program, which is amounts to 6.5% of our
total revenue. The CIP program supports our broader mandate to assist Canadian
internet ecosystem and the investments are made in the following area, $1 million
of which was to provide…was under the Community Investment Fund, the granting
program. And this year, we provided the grants to 24 worthy recipients.
And again, I think that Byron already mentioned that this is the
third year of grant…or fourth year? Is it the fourth year or third year?
Fourth. Fourth year of our granting program. Secondly, the Canadian internet forum,
which provides a venue for members and interesting stakeholders to provide their
input into issues affecting the internet governance and the ecosystem. And
third area of investment in the CIP is to further facilitate community development
in CIRA and CIRA was instrumental in further enhancing internet exchange points
across Canada and developing our internet performance test capabilities
that Byron had already talked about. In fiscal year 2017, CIRA also invested
$1.3 million in community awareness and education program. And this is
$400,000 more than the previous year. It helped CIRA to grow
our domain under new management through a variety of different tactics such as some website optimization,
channel marketing and also a brand awareness campaign. CIRA earned approximately
$1 million of investment income in our restricted investments. The fair value of
our investment holding fluctuates upon prevailing market condition as any
fluctuation in the value are recorded and reflected in our unrealized gain or
loss in our statement of operation. We ended the year with an overall
operating surplus of $300,000. Now let’s turn our attention to the
statement of financial position, which is our balance sheet. The following
are some of the more notable items. Current asset increased by $1.1 million.
Restricted investment managed by our professional investment advisors, as I
talked about earlier, increased by $1.1 million. And capital asset
remains relatively unchanged. Current liability increased by $1.9
million comprised of about $800,000 in accounts payable and accrued liabilities and also $1 million
increase in the current deferred revenue. Long-term deferred
revenue has remained relatively unchanged at $6.8 million. And just a reminder,
defer revenue is representing an unearned revenue that we have and it’s CIRAs
obligation to provide future services to all the registrants. CIRA ended the fiscal
year in solid financial position with $8.7 million in net asset. And this
represent an increase of $300,000 over the prior year, as reflected in our statement
of operations. This concludes my presentation for the 2017 financial
statements. I thank you for your attention and I would like to turn the mic back to
Susan. Back for the appointment of the auditors. Susan. – Thank you, Rowena. So we turn
now to the appointment of auditors. KPMG has agreed to serve as CIRA’s
auditors until the next Annual General Meeting. Does anybody have any specific
questions with respect to the appointment of auditors? Seeing none. May I please have
a motion for the reappointment of KPMG as CIRA’s auditors if you
could stand and state your name, please. Thank you. Marita
Moll is making that motion. May I have a seconder please?
Thank you, Helen McDonald seconding. I guess I should have read the motion.
“The KPMG be appointed auditors of CIRA to hold office until the next Annual General
Meeting or until their successors are duly appointed and that the
Board of Directors be authorized to establish the remuneration of the auditors.” We have somebody
making that motion was Marita Moll. It was seconded by Helen McDonald. Is
there any further questions or discussion? Seeing none. Eligible members may vote by raising
their voting card when the vote is called. To remind you, an eligible member
will find the card in their AGM kit they received today at check-in, and
again it looks like this. When you vote, please hold your card up high
until you are asked to put it down, this will allow us to count every
vote of those who are in favor, against, and those who wish to abstain
from the vote. For those of you joining us by webcast, when a vote is called, you
will see the motion appear on your screen, simply click on your selection and
submit and your vote will be registered. We will now proceed with the vote.
For those in the room who are in favor, please raise your voting card now. And I
ask you to bear with me while the vote is counted. This’ll be the longest you
have to hold your arm up I think. For those of you tiring out, many
people are changing hands, it’s okay. – Susan. – Yes. Oh, okay. Thank you, you can
now lower your arms and flex things a bit, get the circulation going. Opposed, could
those persons opposed please raise their cards? I see none, so I will ask for abstentions.
If anybody wishes to abstain, could they raise their card? And I’m seeing none
there also. I’m now waiting for the tally of the votes, but it’s
extremely clear that the motion is carried and KPMG will serve as CIRA’s auditors
until the next Annual General Meeting. Okay. We will now proceed with
the general questions from members. Again, I ask you to line up at one
of the microphones in the aisles. For those members joining us via webcast,
click on the “Ask a Question,” link on the screen and then you can type in your
question and submit it and your question will be read in the room on your behalf,
it should appear on a screen in front of me. I would ask you to state your name and
affiliation prior to making the question. In some cases, I will respond to the
questions, and depending on the degree of detail the question seems to call for, I
may ask others to respond on my behalf. So we will start with questions from
members. I’d like to keep an eye on the clock but I’m aware that, before we
started this process, we’re running somewhat behind time. So I’ll need to be cautious
with that. To start it off, I thought I’d share a question that we
received from a survey we shared with our members leading up to today’s event.
The question brought forward was, “Can you tell me how projects are chosen
for the Community Investment Program?” Essentially, without going into
a excessive amount of detail, there are a set of criteria that are
published when we request applicants to make their grant applications. There’s an
extensive application process required, we have a committee that consists of three
Board Members, and I’m going to get this number wrong, five or six non-CIRA Board
Members who participated on the selection committee. The applications go through a
pre-screening process to make sure that they meet the technical
requirements of the request for grant. Then the applications go forward
to the committee for their review, that committee is Chaired by Michael
Geist, the committee spends considerable diligence studying these applications.
It’s a very intense and fairly onerous process to try to winnow down the
grants that they feel will make the greatest difference in the category as
specified. The committee then comes up with a recommendation that’s presented to
the Board of Directors for approval along with the committee report that describes
the process that they used to make the selection. That’s then followed up with
their recommendations for any changes that they might think advisable to the program
going forward. So I hope that answers that question satisfactorily. There is one question online
that popped up here very quickly. And the question is, “What is being done
to give all Canadians high-speed internet service?” And it’s submitted by
Greg Snow, who is a voting member. Byron, would you like to respond to that
because I think that that responded to it. – I mean in terms of what’s being
done to provide high-speed access for all Canadians, clearly that’s well outside
of CIRA’s remit, that is more up to the internet service providers and/or
any government policy or regulatory intervention. CRTC has made known they’re
trying to get to the 50/10 mark for Canadians. And certainly, the Canadian
government has allocated significant funds to try to improve broadband access
coverage, not the least of which is the relatively recently announced $750 fund.
But that has nothing to do with CIRA. As far as where CIRA can participate in
helping policy makers or communities or municipalities create better speed
or higher quality of service overall, that’s the kind of thing that our internet
performance test is focused on. Understanding the lay of the land, setting
baselines and helping people then, set measurable and realistic goals going
forward as well as all the work we’re doing around IXPs, which they in
themselves, can help improve performance and quality and certainly resiliency
of the internet in a given area. – Sorry. I’ll start over at this
queue. It looks slightly longer. – [Bruce] Individual Could we have some microphone
assistance over in the queue please? Yeah, I can’t hear you, I’m sorry. I’ll
go to this one, I’ll come back to you. Okay. – Hello. So my name is Bruce Barkos, I’m
a voting member. I had a question about the compliance audits and the presence
requirement. Roughly, how many audits do you do a year and were there any
revocation of .ca domains as a result? – In terms of a compliance environment,
we have both a proactive and a reactive compliance regime, so we do our own random
audits on domain names as well as we respond specifically to any inbound
complaint. In terms of the actual number of specific audits we did this year, I’m
going to turn to Albert who is our… You saw Albert run up here. Albert is our
corporate counsel, and at the end of the day, holds responsibility
for that. So Albert, do you have a specific number for us? – [Albert] Check. Hi, so my name’s
Albert Chang. I’m corporate counsel with CIRA. We audit about 100 domain names
every two weeks. And we look specifically at criteria that highlights that they
might potentially not be Canadian. So for example, foreign addresses, things
like that. So we do about 100 every two weeks and we have a very…the
ones that we do audit, generally don’t respond or don’t meet
Canadian presence requirements. – Okay, so just a quick follow-up.
So then there’s no examples of proven non-compliance, being
out of the country, for example? – No, that’s exactly the case. So
when we look at the domain name lists, the ones that we choose to audit typically
are the ones that don’t have Canadian addresses. And those are
the ones that we do audit. – Okay. Thank you. – You’re welcome. – Is the gentleman at that microphone? – [Andrew] Hi, thanks.
My name’s Andrew Sullivan and I’m a CIRA member, and I don’t represent anyone other than me.
This is a two-part question. First, is there any relationship between the
non-registry lines of business and the registry? In particular, do those other
lines of business have access to the registry databases for, you know,
business development or whatever? And then secondly, what is the board’s
view on what the correct relationship is between those two things? Thanks. – Paul. The first part? – For sure – Paul Havey? Is Paul in the room? Paul,
could you respond to the first part of the question, just so we make
sure we’re very accurate. – [Paul] Test. So I think
your question was, “Is there any access to the registry for the other lines of business?” So the answer
is no, as it relates to the registry. From a DNS perspective though,
the answer would be potentially yes. – Paul, maybe you could
elaborate on the yes part? – Yeah. So to the extent that a DNS
address would benefit from a product such as a dezoned and managed service,
then we would potentially reach out to them and offer it as an opportunity
for them to take advantage of. – Okay. Does that answer your question? – Well, it answers the factual
question about what the relationship is. But also, I wonder what the Board’s view
is on the privacy implications of using the access to the registry information as,
you know, marketing opportunity for the other lines of business. – For ourselves? – Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, there’s a
strategic question here that the Board needs to answer. – In all honesty, I can’t say that
the Board has turned its mind to this specific policy question, but the
issue of privacy, generally speaking, which also touches on things like
the members lists and this particular activity, will be coming
under review. Yes, sir. – [Gordon] Gordon Woford, I am a voting
member. I’d like to know if CIRA does anything specific to ensure that .ca
domains don’t fall into the hands of spammers? – Well, ca domain names don’t
fall into people’s hands per se, they have to be registered by people who
meet Canadian presence requirements and those could be institutions,
organizations, business, or individuals, like you and I, as long as a registrant,
which is our name for somebody who holds the domain name, as long as the registrant
meets our presence requirements and acts according to our basic rules and
procedures, we don’t govern content or what people do with the domain name.
But we’re not in the content business, we’re not in the censorship business.
If it’s not malicious or harmful to the network or if we haven’t received a court
order, some sort of independent judicial instrument, we don’t take
people’s domain names from them. – But a lot has been said about
having confidence in a .ca domain. If we’re not doing anything to ensure
that spammers don’t hold .ca domains, what does that say about building
confidence? That’s something maybe the Board might consider. – I don’t… I will say, sir, I don’t like
receiving spam any more than you do. But I will reiterate the fact that CIRA
doesn’t have a role in censorship, we don’t police the internet per se.
And I get your point about trust, I truly do. In fact, my last blog, to some
degree, speaks around this issue of where CIRA’s remit is as separate and distinct
from what I, or many of us who work at CIRA might like to do, but in
maintaining a free and open internet, I think it’s also very important that the
right actors are in the right swimlanes in terms of how the internet is
operated. We know what our role is, primarily a technical role, as long as
people meet the basic requirements of that. It’s up to other actors in the
internet ecosystem to determine the kind of policies overall that you’re speaking
about. And to which the Government of Canada, of which we’re a private
not-for-profit corporation, so I’m certainly not speaking on behalf of the
government of Canada by any stretch, but they have done a lot of work
around this space. Arguably, in terms of legislative requirements, they’re the
ones who would be able to deal with how spammers can act or how spam is treated. – Yes. – [Steve] Yes, my name
is Steve Dunnock, I run a small ISP. One thing my customers are asking me for on a continuing
basis is registration for .canada. Is this not something that CIRA should
take an interest in as another revenue stream to register .canada domains? It seems logical that
CIRA would take this on. – So, you know, that’s a great question.
Why not .canada, especially in the advent of all of these new generic top-level
domains. The short answer is, at ICANN, where a number of different
constituent actors come together to determine policy, that includes
technical actors like ourselves, it also includes government actors. And by
and large, the government actors do not want the names of their countries out in
the hands of other independent operators. So it’s a little bit up to the country of
the land as to how they will deal with a top-level domain using the country name.
And in Canada, there isn’t a position on what a .canada might look like. – Shouldn’t this be something that
you might want to take an interest in? Because, I mean we are getting .lasvegas,
.ottawa. Those domains are coming along very quickly, it would make sense for CIRA
to take an active position in this item, with our government. – It is something for discussion right
now. As far as I know, the Government of Canada hasn’t made any
determination one way or the other. They hold the rights to it. – CIRA’s current position has been
that we don’t hold any of the new gTLDs, we simply operate on our own
behalf .ca. But your point is taken. – So I have a side question. I noticed
that there are quite a few employees of CIRA here and they’re wearing membership
cards. And they voted for the election of auditors? Is this not inappropriate?
Shouldn’t it just be the paying members of CA, not just employees as well?
I mean, employees voting for auditors doesn’t make a lot of sense. – We don’t have any dual tier member
system. And as you know, anybody who holds a .ca domain name is eligible for
membership. So our bylaws don’t currently permit us to segregate our membership
between voting or non-voting on issues A or B. So that would require us to
make a bylaw amendment I believe. – But I would think employees
of CIRA should not be voting members. – But there is no such prescription
in our bylaws, at the present time. – I understand it. I would suggest
you take it for a consideration. – For consideration, yes sir. Yes. – [Josh] Hi. My name is
Josh Leslie. I’m a CIRA member and my organization is Stewardly. My question is around, you know,
with the change of the guard to the South, I think there’s a real and present threat
to net neutrality. And sort of picking up on Terry’s great presentation earlier,
kind of, you know, I think that presents a bit of an Audi Wi-Fi car show moment
for Canada to sort of put our flag in the ground and say, “You know, this is what we
stand behind. This is what we stand for.” And has this been a topic of discussion
within CIRA? Do you have any thoughts one way or the other? You know, one
way to look at it is it’s the Audi Wi-Fi opportunity. The other is to harken back
maybe three years ago when we had a discussion about redoubts and sort of
IXPs and, you know, what is our fallback position if something goes awry and there
are major changes to the FCC or something like that? Whichever way you want to
take the question and whomever it’s best directed to. I’d love to
hear your thoughts on it. – Go ahead. – So in terms of CIRA and net neutrality,
again, there’s those of us who live and breathe in the space, who are
strong believers in the principle. Again, I certainly don’t speak for Canada,
but I would say you start to see light between the Canadian and U.S.
positions, as you have articulated. Right now, CIRA’s not doing anything
proactive on the net neutrality file per se. Over the years, we have provided a
technical perspective to some of the discussions, be they at the CRTC
or otherwise where we have offered what we believe are informed views based on our
core competence and around specific parts of that debate. But right now, we
are not doing anything particular on it. – Thanks. – We have one question online and I think
that’ll be the last question that we have time to take in this. There’s really a
compelling question, because we are running over time. “With recent CRTC
rulings towards 50-megabytes down and 10-megabytes upload
speed and internet deemed a basic service that all should be able to access, does CIRA see itself with an
advocacy role to move this initiative forward? Northern Ontario is an example
with a very low population densities are being disadvantaged, as ISP have no
financial incentives to improve/extend access. Thank you.” This question
was submitted by Paul… Sorry, my vision’s not what it should be
today. [inaudible], I think is correct, a voting member. Byron, you do some
advocacy, we do a number of partnering activities, we engage in a number of
facilitation activities to try to further issues like this. But I’ll ask Byron
to respond to this because this really is somewhat outside our mandates.
So I’ll ask him to describe that more fully. – Yeah. Thanks, Susan. Yes, again this is
another question that is somewhat outside CIRA’s specific remit though, again,
as people at the heart of some of the internet space, an ecosystem, and
certainly within Canada, we all have feelings about what Canada could
and should be in terms of internet performance. I think the CRTC ruling is,
at this point, is an aspirational ruling and provides guidance there. As
far as, are we advocating for that, we don’t per se do, what I would call,
political advocacy, we try to stay as a neutral third-party independent expert
where we can offer that expertise and guidance to folks who are working on
policy. So, yes we communicate with the CRTC and provide expert advice where
we can. We do it in other areas too. But would we be out there advocating,
marketing for this? No, that’s not a role that we take. If we advocate for anything,
it’s the healthy, high performing, high functioning internet in Canada and
around the world, but from the perspective of technical experts. – Folks, the question period.
And I thank you all for your questions. It never ceases to amaze
me…the different character of the questions that we get in different
locations and I wish I could understand why that happens. Anyway, I’d like to
thank you all very much for joining us today for our Annual General Meeting.
So it’s now time to adjourn the official portion of this meeting.
And in order to do that, I require a motion to conclude that the meeting is now in order. May I have a
motion please to conclude the 2017 Annual General Meeting? Thank you, Tim
Benton. And seconded by Paul Anderson. Now I’m afraid I have to ask you to put
those cards up again. So if you’re on the webcast, please vote now. For those
in the room, please raise your cards and I’m sorry, you’ll have to hold your
hands up again while we have a count. – Manual process. – Yeah. Well, for this kind
of motion, it’s ridiculous. Yes, the motion… No, I’ll call now for any opposed. I don’t see any, so… And
I will call for abstentions. And I’m not seeing any. The motion is
carried and the Annual General Meeting is adjourned. I’ll just add one little…

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