CIRA’s Annual General Meeting at Canadians Connected 2019
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CIRA’s Annual General Meeting at Canadians Connected 2019

♪ [music] ♪ – [Helen M.] I would now like to call to
order the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Internet
Registration Authority. [foreign language] Internet. There will be opportunities for questions
to be posed at certain points throughout the AGM, and I’d quickly like
to go over the procedures for that. During the AGM, we ask that you come to
one of the two microphones stands to ask a question. And for those of you who are joining us by
webcast, please click on the Ask a Question link on your screen and
then you can type in your question and submit it, and your question will be
read aloud in the room on your behalf. And please, if you wouldn’t,
mind before asking a question, if you would state your name and
affiliation if that is relevant. Questions during the AGM are
reserved for members only. Now, when you registered,
members would have received a kit and a folder, and I encourage you to review the
materials inside. It includes today’s agenda and CIRA’s
audited financials and report to members. And for those who are joining us by
webcast, all of these materials are available on CIRA’s website at So for voting instructions,
since we are a member-based organization, only eligible CIRA members may vote. And as per CIRA’s bylaws and the Canada
Not-For-Profit Corporations Act, in order to vote in this AGM,
you must have been a CIRA meeting for 21 days prior to today’s AGM, and continue to
be a member in good standing as of today. Eligible members who are joining us via
the webcast are able to vote, and they will receive instructions for when to
do so during my presentation. So for the members here in the room,
when a vote takes place, we would ask that everyone remain in the
room and that you would show your vote by raising a voting card
when the vote is called. And you will find this in your kit that
you received at check-in. So this is your voting card. And when you vote, please hold it up high
until you’re asked to put it down because we need to count every vote. And if you’re joining us by webcast,
when a vote is called, members, you will see a motion appear in a box on
your screen and simply click on your selection and your vote will be
registered. In accordance with our bylaws, Brigitte
Leblanc-Lapointe will act as secretary, and I will act as chair. And I have been advised that we have the
required quorum of 100 members present in the room and online. And with that, I declare the meeting duly
constituted, and we will now proceed to the business at hand. Today’s agenda was posted on the
Cira’s AGM website on August 6, 2019. And you will find a copy of the agenda in
your kit, given to you at check-in today and online on the CIRA website. Unless I hear objections, we will
proceed with the agenda as distributed. Okay. The next item on the agenda is the
verification of the 2018 AGM minutes, and a copy of the minutes from 2018 is also
available on your kits and also online on CIRA’s website. They were put online on August 6, 2019. So if there are no objections,
I’m looking around the room, 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 and support to CIRA, and I
would ask if each board member would please stand up when I say your name. Alex Beraskow. Don Bowman, I think was unable at the
last minute to attend. Ryan Black who is our chair of the
Governance Committee. John Demco our founder. Somewhere. Thank you. Andrew Escobar, of course, on stage. He’s the chair of the Finance, Audit,
Investment and Risk Management Committee. Matthew Gamble. Thank you, Matt. Byron Holland, of course,
who is the president and CEO on stage. Jill Kowalchuk, who is the co-chair of our
Community Investment Committee. Rowena Liang. Rowena. Thank you. Tyson Macaulay, I think might not be here. He’s coming a few minutes later. Not look like here. Louise Macdonald. Louise, thank you. Helen McDonald, of course, myself,
the chair of the board. Pamela Miller is our government
representative, and I understand she was unable to attend today. Bill Sandiford, who’s co-chair of our
Community Investment Committee, and Rob Villeneuve, chair,
Market Strategy Committee. So we are now halfway through the final
year of CIRA’s four-year, 2017 to 2020, strategic plan, and we are aiming to
finalize the next five-year-plan later this calendar year. This has meant that the board and
CIRA staff have spent considerable time over the last year reflecting on how well
the current strategic plan has been implemented, and the challenges the
organization will face going forward. And I’m not going to talk much more about
the new strategic plan other than to say we are hoping to be able to approve it at
our November board meeting. But I do want to talk to you today
about what the board of directors have been engaged in in this last year. And our role is to provide oversight of
the corporate goals and direction to make sure that they are consistent with CIRA’s
mandate, strategic plan, and values. We oversee the pace of progress
against intended results. We also oversee the finances and spending
to ensure that CIRA is sustainable and using scarce resources
for the right purposes. You’re going to hear in more detail from
Byron as to CIRA’s achievements, and you’re going to hear more about
our financial position. So I want to focus on a few aspects that I
think worthy of your attention, which also, I think,
help illustrate the role of a board. CIRA has managed to buck the trend for
many years of a flattening growth curve in domain name registrations worldwide. There are now over 2.8 million .ca domains
under management and 2 years ago, .ca domains grew by 5.4% compared to a
global industry growth rate of 1.7. This last year, CIRA managed
to grow by 3.6. So not as much as the years before,
but by comparison, the industry average for the country code top-level
domains was only 0.8%. So CIRA is doing extremely well by these
measures, but we know that the net growth rate in domains under management was a
double-digit percentage before 2013. So we have to assume that the future is
likely to feature a further flattening growth rate, which makes the strategic
direction approved by the board four years ago to pursue the development of what we
call diversified services, services over and above what the essential
core mandate of operating registry. It made these services very important. We want to be successful in diversifying
our service offering, so that we can maintain or increase the depth of public
benefit programs that CIRA operates, and we want to keep the price
we charge registrars attractive. One of the things the board did this last
fiscal year was to review CIRA’s statement of purpose. We are recommending to you, our members,
that it be updated to better reflect CIRA’s mandate and current activities,
including our diversified services. And these proposed wording changes have
been shared with you in recent months and are included in your booklets today, and
as they’re going to be voted on later in this meeting, I’m going to save my
remarks as to why I think these changes are important. I’ll save them for that time. Another thing the board did was to review
the results of the cost allocation exercise,
and this was a calculation of the full costs, both investments and
expenditures of time by CIRA’s staff, for all of the CIRA activities
over a year. And this allowed us to look at whether the
costs were appropriate in light of results where we want to drill down further and
where we want to see better performance. Not surprisingly, we learned that 70% of
all revenues go to support the core mandate of providing .ca registry services
and the DNS infrastructure that protects the necessary user to registry functions. Not surprising. The board will continue to work with
management on suitable performance metrics on how well our infrastructure and
security investments are performing, relative to increasing cyberattacks and
to client needs. We want to ensure that CIRA continues to
operate a safe, reliable, and secure .ca domain for all Canadians
through world-class registry and DNS services. We learned that the new diversified
services, as an aggregate, are not yet covering their full costs,
although some are. We understand that there’s more risk in
this area and that some innovative services are an immediate
success and some are not. We also agreed that the services,
some of them, have a public benefit aspect, and thus,
we shouldn’t expect full cost recovery. And the board will continue to work with
management to set firm timelines to cost recovery for those services that
should be recovering costs. This past year, CIRA continued to grow its
revenue from D-Zone Anycast DNS and D-Zone DNS Firewall services. Anycast provides world-class DNS
infrastructure for organizations in Canada and around the globe, and firewall
protects Canadian users and organizations from ransomware, phishing,
and malware attacks. CIRA’s team is to be congratulated on the
successful migration .ca to their new state of the art registry called Fury. The Fury platform now hosts several other
top-level domains, and we hope to see others come on board. Going forward, the board expects to see
sustained development of the non .ca products and services. The board knows that CIRA’s staff are
talented and thoughtful folks, and we are encouraging CIRA management to be
ambitious and nimble in exploring new service opportunities. Another area of emphasis for the board
over this last year was whether we could increase the impact of the public interest
or public benefit investments we are making, what we call
the donate activities. In fiscal year 2019,
the organization’s flagship granting fund contributed over $1 million to 28
different projects. Community groups, charities,
academic institutions across the country received grants to improve access,
digital literacy, and adoption. And these are all worthy projects,
but the grants tended…in the past, they tended to be small,
which makes it difficult to assess the longer-term impacts of these investments. And so, the board approved an increase to
the grant size, so we could learn whether this change would better respond to needs
and the board will continue to assess as to whether further changes are needed
to this program in this fiscal year. The granting program is not the only way
that CIRA gives back to the internet community, and the board values CIRA’s
continued support 2018, 2019 for the development of internet
exchange points or IXPs, which help make Canada’s internet faster,
safer, and more resilient. These IXPs are often run by…they’re often
very small, they’re run by volunteers, in some cases, and so,
CIRA’s governance advice and technical support are important, and we’re very
pleased that Iqaluit’s ArcticIX is now in the development phase. We welcome to support CIRA’s role in
organizing the inaugural Canada or Canadian Internet Governance Forum,
which brought internet policy stakeholders from across the country together in
Toronto to discuss governance of the domestic and global internet. And the board continues to support the
thought leadership from CIRA’s participation in international fora like
ICANN, or the IGF, and the Global Internet and Jurisdiction Policy Network. Overall, the board is pleased with CIRA’s
accomplishments in the fiscal year 2019. The organization has developed or has
delivered on its core mandate to manage .ca on behalf of all Canadians and
delivered on its mission to help build a better online Canada. CIRA continues to invest time and money in
initiatives that promote a safe, secure, and accessible internet in Canada, and as
a mission-driven organization, reinvesting in the health of Canada’s
internet is an important part of CIRA’s role. And I want to thank my fellow board
members, as well as all CIRA staff, CEO, Byron Holland, and the senior leadership
team for all their hard work this year. And I also want to thank you, all of
our CIRA members, for your support and your engagement over this year. And I’d like to ask Byron Holland,
CIRA’s president and CEO to take the stage now and share some of the highlights from
2018, ’19 and our corporate goals for the current 2019, ’20. And after that, my fellow board member,
Andrew Escobar, chair of our finance committee will review our audited
financial statements with you. Thank you very much. – [Bryon] Thank you, Helen. So I’m going to start in a very Canadian
way with an apology? I have kids, I’m not apologizing for them,
but it’s September. They go to school, they bring back colds
and illness into my house, and I have succumbed. So I will try not to cough my way through
the presentation, but no guarantees. Anyway, thank you all for joining us
today, both in the room and on the webcast. Thank you very much to all the members who
are here as well and to today’s speakers who, Dr. Anne who joined us
this morning in the panel will be here this afternoon. I think that was a really interesting
start to our day and privacy, of course, is something very near and dear to
our own hearts at CIRA. So particularly relevant and germane to
myself and to the team. But I’d also like to start by thanking the
entire CIRA board, including our chair, Helen, and my fellow leaders at CIRA and
our staff because we had a very strong year overall from a domains under
management perspective, from a revenue perspective,
and from the projects that we executed on perspective. And that’s what I want to talk a little
bit about today. So fiscal 2019 was a very important year
for CIRA as Helen just touched on. it’s the final year in a multiyear
strategic plan. And we managed to do a number of very
significant things, one being grow the core business. So .ca, of course, is our prime mandate
and the core business. And as you’ve heard,
there’s some material headwinds in that industry written large, but nevertheless,
we continue to significantly outperform the market and had a good year in terms of
developing the core business. We’ve continued to diversify and expand
upon our product offerings as per our strategy. And I think we’ve also continued to really
build out and expand the reach and access of our Community Investment Program, and
the impact that it’s had on the internet community in Canada. And finally, because of some of the new
products and services that we’re offering, we’ve also been able to protect more
users, more organizations, more institutions, more companies in
Canada with our cybersecurity products. So I want to go into a little more detail
through the next few minutes, but suffice it to say, that it’s been an
interesting year. It’s been, I think, a really successful
year in the overall strategic plan where we’ve been able to really execute on the
vision that we put forward several years ago in our plan. So just as a reminder,
because sometimes people get confused because the dates don’t line up,
I’m talking about last fiscal year, which for us, our fiscal year was 2019,
and it ran from April 1st, 2018, to March 31st, 2019. So our primary goal at CIRA, as
expressed by our strategy, is to build a better online Canada. So that’s our kind of our number one
overarching overall goal. And under that, fit a number of core
strategic pillars that you can see on the screen behind me. I’m going to walk through essentially each
one of these pillars, and just touch on them. And we will have an opportunity for Q&A
after because I’m going to touch on a number of things. So I just ask you if there’s something
that doesn’t make sense, you need clarification,
we will have that opportunity at the end. So let’s start with .ca. As everybody in this room knows,
that is our core mandate. That is why CIRA came to be originally,
and it always has been and always will be job number one. During the fiscal year,
during the 2019 fiscal year, we exceeded 2.8 million, about 2.835 total
.ca domains under management. We registered just over 500,000 new
domains which makes last year, in spite of the headwinds that we’ve been
facing, the second-best year on record, and, in fact,
in the past four years, three of the best years ever on record for
CA, in terms of new registrations, have happened in the past four years. And I think that’s a pretty significant
accomplishment when we look around the rest of the world and see our peers in the
ccTLD community, and certainly in the gTLD community, there’s very few
registries in the world that are continuing to grow at the rate that we
have been, even though it is declining and that have registered that many absolute
net new registrations. So we’re definitely among the top
registries in the world when it comes to net new registrations. So 2.834 million .ca domain names under
management at the end of the last fiscal year. And that growth, as Helen mentioned,
comprised 3.6% growth. Now, that may seem like a relatively small
number, but relative to the industry, we are continuing to dramatically
outperform the industry. But we also have to face the fact that we
do seem to be at an inflection point where the days of double-digit growth are long
behind us, and as an industry, we’re moving towards what we call a
technical crossover internally, but essentially, we will move to roughly
one or so percent growth over time, all other things staying the same. But still, our 3.6% dramatically
outpaced the industry. The industry average last year was 0.08%. So we’re well ahead of industry average. Now, this doesn’t happen by accident. We’re a mature legacy operator,
like many of our peers around the world, and yet we continue to outperform as we
have over the last five-plus years. It doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a significant amount of hard work
by the team, starting from the board, and strategy, and down through the execution,
down to all the individual members in CIRA. Pardon me. But it’s through the disciplined execution
of that strategy that we’ve managed to maintain our performance, and continue
to outperform the market through the last number of years. And I believe with the plan that we have
and the plan that we’re working towards for the next five years,
we will still be able to outperform the market, and deliver the quality of service
that .ca holders expect. Now, how do we continue to
outperform the market? As I said, it doesn’t happen by accident. There’s just a lot of planning, and a lot
of work that makes it happen. But also one of the things that makes us
somewhat unique in the internet ecosystem, or the part of the internet ecosystem that
we occupy, is we’ve been quite aggressive in terms of how we market and communicate
to Canadians because we, and certainly I believe that a key part of
our mandate is not just to run the technology that makes this happen,
but it’s really about how do we actually get .ca’s into the hands of Canadians? How do we get Canadians online
with their own presence? Their own presence online? And I make that point because that’s very
different than subjugating your presence to somebody else’s brand,
as we’ve heard about this morning on other people’s platforms. And we truly believe and I truly believe
that having your own space, place website, online under your own domain name is your
real estate in the digital world. And it’s part of our responsibility to
help Canadians find their place in the digital ecosystem with .ca
domain names, primarily. So the marketing effort has been a
significant effort, both in terms of people, mindshare but also in terms of
financial resources, and we have invested significantly,
and I would say probably more than most ccTLD operators in terms of getting that
message out, helping Canadians understand domain names and getting
their presence online. And this is just an example
of how do we do that. We do do mass media in certain markets,
and we drive that awareness down into our channel partners, our registrars, who then
help the end customer or the registrant actually get a domain name and, of course,
often than websites, emails, and all the other products that they need
to be online truly. But, of course, if our goal is to build a
better online Canada, we’re not going to do that just by selling
domain names. And that’s why over the past few years
we’ve also really taken advantage of and began to leverage our deep knowledge
internally and our deep expertise in and around the domain name system or the DNS. For those of you who are maybe a little
bit new to CIRA, we don’t just domain names, we also manage and operate
the underlying DNS or domain names system that enables .ca domain names
to be online, to be found. So the DNS, to some degree,
essentially is the phone book of the internet. It helps you find the domain name that
you’re looking for, the one and only official one. And we operate a piece of that global
internet phone book, and then we do that through operating the DNS. But that’s given us very significant
expertise, and a depth of knowledge about what the DNS is, how to operate it,
but also what else can we do with it? And we’ve done a number of things in terms
of offering new products and services that leverage that core expertise
around the DNS. And one of those is having built a
cloud-based, cybersecurity solution called D-Zone DNS Firewall. And over the past year,
this firewall product has experienced significant growth. And we focused our efforts around firewall
on a few particular verticals, usually in what we would consider
underserved markets. So municipalities, universities,
hospitals, school systems, in particular, the kind of environments that are often
financially challenged, as we all know. So we offer a secure outer DNS-based
protection layer or essentially a virtual firewall that helps mitigate the inbound
bad actors, phishing, malware, that type of thing. And, you know, if you think about those
kinds of organizations, particularly hospitals, universities,
think of the number of users of their networks, think of universities,
and schools, and where young people are trying to get to online and the kinds of
things that they may be doing. Often those networks are really subject to
questionable activity. So DNS firewall has become a very popular
service in those communities, particularly in the education communities. And when we think about our strategic plan
and we think about that overarching goal of building a better online Canada,
and then we think about these other services that we’re offering and the
outcomes of those. You know, one of the examples that I like
to use, and it’s on the screen behind me, is that we have more than 400,000 young
people, students, children, K to 12, and university students who are protected
by CIRA’s DNS firewall. There’s 400,000 young Canadians
protected by our services. And to me, that’s a perfect example of
thinking about how can we build a better online Canada and how can
CIRA do its part to do that? So I think DNS firewall is a really
concrete example of how we live the goal that we’re trying to succeed at,
which is build a better online Canada. Another product that we offer,
another service that we offer is a service called D-Zone Anycast DNS. It’s been growing year over year. It was one of the first main services that we got into. And our Anycast service provides service
for a number of top-level domains. Of course, customer number one is us, .ca. All those 2.8 million .ca domain names are
served by our DNS Anycast service, but we also have many other top-level
domains that use our service. I’m fortunate to say CIRA has a good
reputation in the global community for the quality of service that we offer,
the depth of our expertise that we have in-house, and 50 top-level domains. So top-level domain is anything to the
right of the dot. So .ca is a top-level domain, .sc for
Sweden, top-level domain, .NL for the Netherlands, top level domain. And then, of course,
there’s the gTLDs, com, net, org, and 1,000 others. And we provide our Anycast. We sell our Anycast service to 50 top
level domains around the world, including SC and NL that I’ve mentioned. So those happen to be also sophisticated,
mature, large registries who look at the service that we offer, and they are
educated buyers because they do what we do, they understand what we do,
and they buy from us. So we have had very good
success in those markets. Of course, DNS is not the
only thing that we do. Running the registry itself is kind of the
thing that most people know, that we run the registry for .ca.
And as Helen just touched on, we developed and built over the last
couple of years, a new generation registry platform, which during the course
of this past fiscal year, we migrated .ca, all those 2.8 million names across from
our 10-year-old registry onto our brand new next-gen leading-edge registry. You know, it was as big a project as an
organization like us can do, and, of course, absolutely as critical a
project as an organization like us would ever undertake. And I’m certainly pleased to report that
it went as planned, literally down to the minute, and we transferred more than 200
million records from the old registry onto the new registry, and had it up and
running in a matter of hours. And when you think of the scale, and
scope, and criticality of that actual project, it was essentially the fastest
cut-over of a large scale registry ever in the industry. And we did it without missing a beat. So that was… Thanks. Needless to say,
that is a team effort starting with the board who we know part of their core
responsibility is managing risk, but also providing the resources to allow
us to do that right down to literally every single person in our shop touched
that project at some time. So massive achievement and certainly,
from my perspective, incredibly proud of a team
who executed on it. Those are the main things that people know
us for, DNS and the registry, but because of the world that we live in
and the internet innovation has to be a key part of what we do too. And a couple of years back,
for those of you who have been coming to these AGMs over the years,
you’ll recall that we started talking about creating a group
within CIRA, CIRA Labs. And that was an area where we could kind
of ring-fence them, put them in a sandbox, so to speak, and allow them to do real
innovation in and around the industry that we participate in and
the spaces that we occupy. And when we talk about some of these new
products and services, elements of them are the result of what
bubbles up out of the lab. So the lab is starting to find its
footing, gain traction, and allow CIRA, in general, and the lab,
in particular, to work on these kinds of thorny cybersecurity problems.
In particular, to help protect Canadians from malware, phishing, ransomware,
and all the other kinds of cyberattacks that we see and hear about
in the popular media. So that’s kind of the quick tour of how
CIRA helps build a better online Canada in terms of the core business that we’re
engaged in, and how we generate our revenues because as I think everybody here
probably knows, we received no funding from anybody. We sell domain names and other services in
order to generate the revenues to allow us to execute on our core mandate and the
other things that we do. And one of the key things that we do is
invest in the Canadian internet in various ways, and contribute back
to the internet community. And as most of you know,
we have quite a robust community investment program, the flagship of which
is our granting program, but it also includes investments in other
activities like internet exchange points, our own internet performance test,
facilitating key meetings and conferences in Canada like the Canadian Internet
Governance Forum and others. All different kinds of ways that we give
back to and invest in the internet community in Canada. So our flagship program, as I mentioned,
is our granting program, and we grant roughly $1.25 million a
year through the program to worthy internet activities. The organizations have to be
not-for- profit….well, not-for-profit, academic charities, those kinds of things. We don’t invest in for-profit activities. And this fiscal year, this past
fiscal year marked the fifth year that we’ve done that,
so we’ve invested just shy of $5.5 million into the grant
program and into these worthy projects at roughly 130 projects over the
course of the program. And these programs have a range of
activities and particularly if they’ve been focused around digital literacy,
infrastructure related to internet, academic research, cybersecurity,
online security, kind of writ large, all activities focused around making the
internet better or more useful to Canadians and citizens. And with 130 projects, there is
quite a broad cross-section of them. And many of them have
made significant impacts. You know, for example,
we recently funded a project called Connected North, which delivers e-learning
services to remote indigenous communities and has dramatically ramped up the kind of
content and the richness of content that they can receive in remote communities. We also supported ACORN Canada’s research
on internet access in low-income communities right across Canada. And that organization ultimately released
a very significant report calledBarriersto Digital Equity in Canadawhich has
received a lot of uptake in terms of mass media and awareness for the challenges
of that particular segment of society experiences. So those are just a couple of examples of
some of the projects that we funded through the funding arm of the Canadian
Investment Program. Of course, that isn’t the
only way we do it. As I mentioned, we also invest much more
directly in terms of not just dollars, but also our own resources, our people,
our time, our expertise. And we do that in things like the internet
governance forum, the Canadian Internet Governance Forum, which is part
of a larger internet governance forum ecosystem. And that’s where we convened a one-day
meeting of civil society, government, business, technology,
industry actors to really come together as thought leaders and discuss the
significant internet-related issues of the day. So clearly, in this past one, definitely
included security, privacy platforms. I mean, some of the big thorny issues that
we’re wrestling with that we heard about this earlier today. And, of course, the other thing is the
sort of pending advent of increased legislative and regulatory regimes across
the Western world, of which Canada’s likely to be no different. So a meeting like that,
it doesn’t just come together. It takes a lot of work by a lot of people,
be it an original organizing committee, which had a number of participants but
certainly included CIRA staff members. When it came to the day itself,
CIRA staff provided the resources for the facility and the people in the room to
actually make it happen. And I’m pleased to report that it was very
well received and successful day. And that’s just an example of how CIRA at
an operational level, at a company level contributes back to the
internet community to help try to make it a better place. So other major focus of the community
investment program more from a corporate standpoint,
but also from a granting standpoint is supporting IXPs or internet exchange
points in Canada. And for those of you who’ve been with CIRA
for a little while, you know that a few years back, we took this on as a major
challenge because there was really only one internet exchange point in
Canada TorIX which is very long-established and successful internet
exchange point, but really, there weren’t any others in Canada, and we
took it upon ourselves to try to facilitate a movement towards creating
more of them because they increase the performance, the resiliency of the
internet in Canada. They help in terms of jurisdictional data
flows, maintaining them in Canada. They certainly can help in terms of
mitigating the price of internet, especially trends in the
wholesale transit in Canada. And we’ve seen actually, really good
results on that front in some of the cities that these new
internet exchange points are in. This gives you a sense of how the IXP
fabric has changed over the last five years because everyone there except TorIX,
we were a catalyst for and an active participant in. Domestically, that’s kind of
activity that we do. Internationally, we also play a
significant role because, as I’m sure we all know,
the internet is a global network of networks. What happens there, impacts here, and what
happens here can impact there, wherever there is in the world. And CIRA’s played a very active role. The board has been very supportive of CIRA
being an active participant in trying to express Canadian views, values,
expertise, technology in the global internet ecosystem, particularly in the
governance space, but also in the technical space. The slide behind me just shows you some of
the forums that we participate in, be they technical or governance-related. ITF being a particularly technical one. Same with ARIN. ARIN is the organization that works on the
numbers side of the address space, so IP addresses in
the North American region. So this just gives you a flavor of where
we participate, and we participate actively, whether it’s myself,
very active in the internet governance space or our CTO,
Jacques, who’s very involved in the cybersecurity and technical space. And a
number of other participants or CIRA staff members who participate in the various
forums, making sure that Canadian voices and values are heard as we shape technical
standards, as we shape internet governance policies around the world. So as Helen mentioned,
we’re now in the final year of our current strategic plan, and we’re in the process
right now of finalizing our next plan, a five-year plan. In fact, we had a mile day board meeting
yesterday where that was central to the discussion and we have a number of more
coming up, something we’ve been working on for the better part of a year. But that plan, going forward, of course,
will ensure that we continue to do everything that we can to stay ahead of
the curve on domain names, continue to outperform the rest of the
world to the best of our ability, continue the plan towards diversifying our
businesses and services, and how we can make the Canadian internet ecosystem a
better place. And also, of course, how we can continue to develop the team
because sure, we run a lot of gear, and we run a lot of infrastructure,
but at the end of the day, our business is a people business because
it’s an expertise business. It’s a knowledge business. So making sure that we have the best,
most inclusive, most high-performing team that we can is a core part of our strategy
as well because it takes all of that and more to build a better online Canada. So as I said earlier,
success doesn’t just happen, takes a bunch of hard work. It takes a bunch of smart people all
pointed in the same direction, growing together, you know,
more or less to accomplish what we’ve been able to accomplish over
the past fiscal year. So, you know, as I started with,
I’d like to absolutely thank my board, the CIRA board, and our chair for the
support and the challenge function that they’ve offered me and my senior
leadership team. But most especially,
I’d like to thank the team, the actual employees of CIRA. There’s about 100 of us in total who run
this entire thing, whether it’s granting programs, internet governance
policy, registry, DNS, other services, all those things that we
just talked about. There’s only about 100 of us
who do all of that. So I would like to most definitely thank
the whole team for that and my team that’s here in the room for putting
on the event today. So with literally half a year to go, right
now as we wind down this final bit of the current strategic plan,
I just wanted to say also thank you to the membership for having supported us along
the way, for having provided feedback and input to the CIRA team, to myself. As you know, we run member events,
not just an AGM, but we run member events across the country often in conjunction
with board meetings, and we get lots of feedback. And the one thing that I think we all know
about the internet community, we’re not shy to provide
feedback and input. So thank you to all of the people who help
us develop our strategies and thoughts as we deliver the business to you, and as
we go out into the world and try to express Canadian input into not just a
better online in Canada, but a better online globally. So thank you very much. That concludes my report from the
president’s standpoint, and now I’d like to invite Andrew Escobar,
CIRA’s chair of the Finance Audit Investment and Risk Committee
to deliver his report. – All right. A little higher. Good morning, everyone. Going to go off-script just for a second. Beause Dr. Anne Cavokian is a
personal hero of mine is as well. This morning, I mentioned on Twitter how
excited I was to have her in the room today, and how I thought that she would be
one of the most exciting speakers we’ve ever had at an AGM. And I sent my apologies to Biz Stone,
who is one of the cofounders of Twitter, and he replied back and said,
“That’s okay. I’m in great company.” And I agree with him. So thank you very much, Dr.
Cavokian, for joining us this morning. So, yeah, good afternoon. My name is Andrew Escobar. I am the chair of the CIRA Finance Audit
Investment and Risk Management Committee, which I’m going to just refer to today as
the audit committee. Our job on the audit committee is to
ensure that CIRA’s budget and financial activities are aligned with the
organization’s objectives, that risks are noted and managed, and that
the organization has the financial resources it needs to achieve its goals. As part of our mandate,
we review the financial performance of CIRA on a quarterly basis. This includes a review of CIRA’s proposed
annual audit plan, the performance, and services provided by the external
auditor, the result and audited financial statements, and the independent
auditor’s report. That is what I’m here to talk
with you about today. A full copy of the audited financial
statements and the independent auditor’s report were circulated in
advance of our AGM. For those of you in the room today,
a reference copy has been included in your information package. Those joining by webcast can find them on
our website at Today, I have good news. Our auditors at KPMG are of the opinion
that our financial statements presented an accurate picture of CIRA’s financial
position, operational results, and changes in net assets and cash flows. This audit was completed in accordance
with the accounting standards of a not-for-profit organization and represent
a clean opinion from the auditors. Simply put, we passed. For those of you reviewing the documents,
you will see that the structure of the financial statements, note disclosure,
and significant accounting policies are consistent with how we
presented them last fiscal year. To keep my presentation brief,
I’ll touch on some key financial and aspects of our business,
but I encourage you to take a full look at the documents at your leisure. Here are what we see as four major
highlights from CIRA’s past fiscal year. First, CIRA is in a
strong financial position. We have a healthy balance sheet with
nearly 39.5 million in total assets of which 26.1 million are held within our
restricted investment portfolio. Our investments are managed by Phillips,
Hager, North with oversight from the audit committee. Second, our registry internal control
framework and design are strong. The audit committee oversaw a review of
CIRA’s registry, internal control framework design, and the data conversion
on the migration to our new state of the art registry platform, Fury. To make sure we are keeping sensitive
registrant and registrar information safe, the audit committee
worked to ensure that there was a sufficient level of security
across our organization’s registration revenue processes. This meant reviewing role-based
permissions as well as secondary approvals for the registry platform. That’s a mouthful. Let me give you a sense of the scale
they’re working with. Helen and Byron just touched on how we
transferred 2.8 million .ca domains over to Fury this past year. But we didn’t just transfer over 2.8
million .ca’s. We also transferred over 200 million
records of customer history and payment data generated over the past 20 years. This is a lot of important data, and a
strong internal control framework is necessary to keep these
records safe and secure. The board is happy to report that CIRA has
a strong set of procedures in place. Third. Once again, we outperformed our
peers in fiscal year 2019. Although we began to feel the
industry-wide downturn of domain sales around December, we still managed to reach
two major milestones. First, our .ca registration revenues
topped 25 million for the first time in the organization’s history. Second, our new product diversification
strategy gained traction with our DNS registry and other cybersecurity revenues,
surpassing the $1 million plateau. This is a tremendous accomplishment for an
organization transitioning from a single service company to a multi-product entity
servicing both domestic and international markets. As I mentioned earlier,
registration growth rates have been slowing four country code top-level domain
name operators worldwide known as simply ccTLDs in the industry. With greater choice in generic top-level
domains and social media platforms giving users and businesses an online presence,
it’s clear that the ccTLD market is maturing and facing tough competition. And, of course, .ca is not immune to
global market trends. While year over year percentage growth
rates have declined, we still have managed to
outperform our ccTLD peers. Fiscal year 2019 was no different. This past year, we managed to achieve a
growth rate of 3.6%, nearly 5 times higher than the global
industry average of 0.8%. We ended the year with a total of 2.8
million domains under management, an absolute increase of approximately
97,000 domains over the closing balance from the prior fiscal year. Fourth and finally, we put more money into
our marketing strategy. To help counter the industry-wide downward
turn of new domain registrations, CIRA has increased investments in our
advertising and brand awareness activities and invested in promotional
partnerships with our registrars. We believe that these are critical in a
more competitive and crowded online market space. Of course, this is just a high-level
overview that only begins to scratch the surface. I invite you to review the financial
documents contained in your information packages to get a complete picture of
CIRA’s performance over the past fiscal year. For those joining online,
you can find everything we just discussed at And, of course, we are more than happy to
answer any questions you might have with respect to the financial statements
in our question period at the end. That’s it for me now. Thank you for your attention. I now invite our chair,
Helen McDonald, back to the podium for the appointment of the auditors by you,
our members. Thank you. – Thank you, Andrew. We will now be presenting two motions. One is for the appointment of CIRA’s
external auditors, and the second is for the proposed amendments to CIRA’s
statement of purpose. So let me remind you again, sorry,
process for questions and discussion relating to the motions
when they’re presented. For members in the room,
if you could please line up at one of the two microphones in the aisles, and I’ll
call upon you one at a time. And in the interests of time and fairness
to each member, I would ask that each of you limit yourself
to a single question. For those members joining us by webcast,
please click on the Ask a Question link on your screen and then type in your
question, submit it so we can read it aloud on your behalf. And before asking a question,
please state your name and with whom you’re affiliated, if relevant. And as this is a meeting for CIRA members,
I would ask that only members participate in this portion of the meeting. If your question has been posed already,
I would also ask you to refrain from asking it again. After questions, we open for discussion,
and the process of discussion is going to follow a similar process. So as with the questions,
please use one of the microphones in the aisles or if online, click the Ask
a Question link on your screen, and then you can type in your comment and
submit it, and your comment will be read aloud in the room. Again, in the interest of time and
fairness to each member, I’d ask that you limit yourself to a
single comment. And before posing a comment,
please state your name and affiliation. And similar, I would ask only CIRA
members pose comments in this portion of the meeting. And if someone before you has posed a
similar comment, please refrain from repeating it. We want to have an opportunity to hear
from as many of you as possible. So first, we’re going to move to the
appointment of the auditors. KPMG has agreed to serve as CIRA’s
auditors until the next annual general meeting. And before we move to questions or
discussion, may I please have a motion from a member to reappoint KPMG? I’ve saw Matt first as CIRA’s auditors,
and could I get one of the seconds? Bill, thank you very much. Do any members have a specific question
with respect to the appointment of the auditors? Okay.
Tiering, no questions. Seeing none on the screen,
I’d like to move to discussion of the motion. Are there any comments that
members would like to make? Any further discussion? No? Nothing on the screen. Thank you for your questions and
discussion to the motion. I’m going to remind you of your cards. We’re now going to move to voting on the
motion as set out in the screen. Eligible members may vote by raising their
voting card once the vote is called. If you’re an eligible member,
you would have find that card in your AGM kit you received at check-in today,
and you’ve seen what it looks like. When you vote, please hold it up high
until you’re asked to put it down. This gives us a chance to count every vote
for those who are first in favor, then against and those
who wish to abstain. And again, for those of you on webcast,
when a vote is called, you’ll see the motion
appear on your screen. Simply click on your selection and submit,
and your vote will be automatically registered. So if you’re on the webcast,
please vote now. And for those of you in the room,
all in favor, please raise your voting cards now. Keep it up. People running around the room counting. So I’m going to assume now
that we’ve had time to count. No one’s telling me otherwise,
so thank you. Put your cards down. For those opposed, please raise your
voting card now. No one in the room. I’m just going to wait for a moment to see
if anything’s coming on screen. Julie, no. Anyone who wishes to abstain,
please raise your voting card now. I see three. And there may be others online. Thank you. If you could put your cards down,
we’ll wait till all the votes are tallied. And I’m waiting for something
to appear on the screen. Motion is passed. Thank you very much. KPMG will serve as CIRA’s auditors until
the next annual general meeting. Second, let’s move to the amendments to
CIRA’s statement of purpose. Why are we doing this? This is really to align our statement of
purpose with the current activities of the organization. CIRA’s a not-for-profit organization
incorporated under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, and under
this act, not-for-profit organizations are required to set out a statement of purpose
in their Articles of Incorporation, and this is a statement that describes the
goals or objectives of the organization. The language in CIRA’s statement of
purpose was last updated in 2006 and since then, CIRA’s activities have
expanded and evolved over time. At its meeting in last November,
CIRA’s board of directors approved amendments to CIRA’s statement of purpose
that we thought better reflect the organization’s current activities, and set
out on the slide above are the amendments to the statement of purpose. And these amendments propose to
accomplish the following. In B, we have in red, domain name
system DNS this reflects that CIRA has for a number of years now been
providing, well, professional registry services, DNS Anycast Firewall
services and other related services that enhance the security and protection of
Canadians online. And we’ve been talking today,
Byron and I, about DNS Anycast and firewall services that are being provided
to municipalities, universities, schools, and hospitals. We also deleted a line comparable
to other major and international internet registries. CIRA is a major internet registry, and we
don’t think we should be limited by what other registries may be doing. The amendments to see provide more clarity
regarding the internet-related activities provided by CIRA. The term internet-related
activities is very broad. The changes to see narrow these activities
and reflect that the activities, both domestic and internationally that
CIRA does to promote good governance development and the use of the internet
are for the country of Canada. These include initiatives like CIRA’s
Community Investment Program, the granting program,
Canada’s internet exchange points, the IXPs, engagement in international
organizations like ICANN and launching the Canadian Internet Governance Forum in
conjunction with other organizations. And it’s important to note that these
changes don’t really change what we’re doing, but they simply align our
statement of purpose with our current activities. So before we move to questions or
comments, may I please have a motion by a CIRA member? Thank you, Matt. To pass the special resolution
and will a member… Thank you, Bill. Please second the motion. Do members have specific questions with
respect to the amendments to CIRA’s statement of purpose? Yes, sir. – [Brett] Hi, Brett, Brett Delmage. I’m a independent news publisher
located here in Ottawa. I generally support the amendment. I have one small concern and possibly
would like to move an amendment on it. In our daily lives, everywhere we look,
we’re surrounded or have no choice but to do business increasingly with U.S. corporations, whether it’s Home Depot,
Staples, Starbucks, Google corporation, Facebook corporation. It’s getting depressing and increasingly
more difficult, I find, to do, you know, to even have a choice to do business in
Canada with Canadians. One thing I like coming to CIRA meetings
is I feel very much Canadian here. All the talk, all the direction,
all the purpose is buy-in for Canadians. And so, that is an amendment I’d like to
see in the language, very subtle, but I think or very small,
but I think it’s important. The “for Canada” is a bit vague to me, and
I would like to propose an amendment that it be changed for and by Canadians. For and by Canadians, just a change
to keep the focus on the direction is by Canadians for Canadians. For Canada, I don’t know. McDonald’s Canada is for Canada, but
really, they’re a U.S. corporation. And I’d like to keep the focus here
because CIRA is Canadian. Pardon me. Canadian members to keep that focus. – We had a bit of discussion around is it
for Canadians, is it by Canadians, is it for Canada? And we felt that for Canada captured both
the… When I look at ICANN, when you’re trying to set up international
governance rules, the beneficiary is less directly to you or me, more to for Canada. We thought that for Canada would also
include Canadians. It’s for Canada, it’s for Canadians. It covers both aspects. It can’t really be, in my mind,
by Canadians because sometimes we’re engaging in international discussions and
multi-stakeholder fora, so it’s not just Canadians
who are doing these things. So I hear your point. I want to encourage,
are there other questions that might come up and commentary discussion
of that or other topics? – I’m just concerned, I guess,
that although CIRA’s very strongly Canadian right now, and members here have
to be Canadian to get .ca domain, etc. I’m concerned about the future and where
things could shift, and that we could just become, you know,
overrun with other interests outside the country. – Are you concerned about… – Other relationships,
I like what CIRA is doing now, basically, and I’d like to ensure we serve our fellow
citizens here, and we’re not just being served, you know,
or serving outside Canadians. – So if the question is around, are we
going to keep the Canadian restriction? – Yes. Yeah. – I don’t have a problem with anything
that’s happening now. It’s the future I’m looking forward to,
and these are usually longer future-looking statements. – Maybe I could just add
a couple comments. So as a general notion,
I absolutely agree with you. CIRA, CA for Canadians, by Canadians. There was lots of discussion
on this language. So one thing I want to assure you is there
was lots of talk, every word here got debated, discussed, weighed back,
and forth and certainly, something like this did. To Helen’s point, we believe that for
Canada captured the essence of it because part of the pragmatic reality for us is
we’re a piece of a global interoperable network of networks. And I don’t know if you recall seeing a
slide up there of the world, and it had a bunch of purple dots sprinkled around the
world, those are our physical points of presence. We have racks and servers
in data centers that we run to make all of this run, and we have to engage
non-Canadians to do that often because, I mean, we’re just, we’re racking servers
in foreign jurisdictions and other people’s data centers. So, we’ll, you know,
be a little bit uncomfortable saying it’s only by Canadians because that’s not the
pragmatic reality of the business that we’re in, in an international
network of networks. So I just want to offer you that
perspective as to why some wording like this is there. But the other thing that may be…
I think more important to this discussion is what you touched on regarding what we
would call Canadian presence requirements or CPR. To get a .ca, you have to be legally
Canadian in some way, whether you’re a citizen,
a landed immigrant, permanent resident, institution, corporation, you know,
something, but you have to be legally tied to Canada to get a .ca, and
that’s not up for discussion. That continued CPR for .ca holders is just
the law of the land that’s CIRA. It has occasionally surfaced in boardroom
conversations because we get outside input that we should do something about that. And, you know, Helen can, obviously,
speak for the board more than I will, but what I can say is over my years with
multiple boards and a number of board members, there is zero interest
or uptake in that. There is 100% support for CPR, which,
to me, really gets to the heart of what you’re asking. So I would just suggest we take the issue
on board very seriously, but we address it in a
slightly different way. And that’s through CPR. So I would just offered you those two,
the pragmatic point and the essence of CIRA point. – Thank you. Ad I’m also going to encourage,
say that we’ve got text out. You’ve had texts, you had
time to think about it. We can’t really take onboard any proposed
edits or wordsmithing. It’s either you like it,
you vote against it, you vote for it. But I do want to continue
with the questions. And I understand we have Paul Anderson
online who has asked a question, “What consideration was given when
developing these changes to limiting activity CIRA undertakes to those where
the commercial sector or other Canadian organizations are not
already filling the need? So should we be staying out of where the
commercial sector is present or is active?” And Paul goes on to say,
“I realize the existing ones do not limit these activities today,
but would like to understand what thought was given to this.” We have this discussion a lot about how
far do we stay away from what is already going on in the private sector or what our
partners or registrars might be doing. We don’t want to compete with them. But on the other hand,
there are some places, and I think of some of the Anycast
services where there might be some private sector activity, but they’re not really
engaged in assisting the municipalities or the hospitals. They’re focused on different players. So we tend to see it as why don’t we keep
to unmet needs? Why don’t we focus on the unmet needs,
recognizing that over time, things may change and the private sector
may engage much more in that? But no, this isn’t part of what we were
trying to accomplish with these changes. We were trying to better reflect the range
of activities we’re currently doing. I’ve got another question online. Why is increasing use of .ca explicitly
part of your statement of purpose? Because it’s so built into our mandate,
that this is what we want to do. Did we need to build it in? We didn’t feel there was a need to change
since it’s been our goal and the aim of this organization to make sure that
everyone who wants or needs a .ca can have it. Bruce Easton, sorry,
I forgot to name who had asked the last question asks, “So are all the services
for this webcast supplied by Canadians?” Hard point to push, but I like it. Sorry about this web. I’m sorry. I’m looking for questions that would hold
to the resolution, and I’m missing the link between that
question and this resolution. Sorry. I do want to focus on the…
Sir, at the microphone. – Hi. – Oh, she was first. – Oh, I’m sorry. I’m having trouble seeing with the light
in my eyes. First. – [Helen E.] Yes. Hello. My name is Helen Ezonye [SP]. I’m a web and multimedia developer, and I
took interest in CIRA last year because I recommend domain names to my clients. I’m a freelancer. And I was wondering,
since CIRA expends a little bit in services, what kind of competition is
CIRA expecting to go against? Probably like…I’m thinking about
international competition. Would it be in DNS or anything else? – Could I get the question linked to a
specific part of the resolution where we would expect to see competition? I’m trying to focus on
the wording changes. – It’s more like when it said by Canadian,
so since CIRA, I guess, is trying to focus their service
in Canada, I was wondering if there’s anything, because it’s,
let’s say domain names, it’s not something that’s particularly
unique to Canada. So what kind of competition does it expect
to go against or this year? For example, I think you
[inaudible] mentioned earlier. Sorry there. – Remember we are not changing the… – I’m not saying changing,
I’m just curious about, in those lines, if CIRA kind of includes that they plan on
going toward, or staying really Canadian, they’re only focusing
on Canadian services. – I would have said our big
competitor is .com but… – Yeah. I mean, I’m not sure that where
we’re thinking about going over the next five years is materially different
than where we are right now. Because when we think about the domain
name business, you know, this may be my personal pet peeve,
but often people say, “Oh, well, you’re a monopoly,” to which the word
monopoly has very specific meaning. And, of course, when you’re a distant
number 2 in your own market with a 1,000 competitors, I don’t think we would
fit any economists definition of the term. So the reason I make that point is we
compete against international companies all the time, every day,
right now in Canada because you can buy .com, .net, .guru, .app,
whatever you want. There’s a thousand choices you can make of
which .ca is but one. So we are competing against those folks,
international competitors all the time right here and on our own home turf. And we will continue to do that,
but we are also doing it in some other lines of business like firewall or Anycast
where the majority of our customers right now are Canadian customers. So we will continue to do that. I’m not sure if I’m answering your
question, but we also participate in the international environment particularly
around organizations like ourselves. Because of the expertise and the
infrastructure that we have, other people in our business recognize
that, and we sell capacity to them internationally. We do that today. We will likely continue to do that
tomorrow, regardless of what happens, bringing it back to what we’re doing right
now, the special resolution, regardless of what happens
in fine-tuning the purposes. – Thank you. Thank you. Sir. – [Eric] Hello, my name is Eric. I own a personal blog, .ca. So I noticed that the government of
Quebec, they have their own domain called .quebec. It’s under the new generic top level
domain program by ICANN. And they have their own registration on
authority similar to CIRA. It’s called .quebec. So they have their own website,
very similar to CIRA. I was wondering if they are working with
you guys, and also if CIRA is looking forward to buy generic domains like
.ontario, for example, .alberta. Thank you. – So I’m just trying to make a link to the
wording changes that we’re proposing, and I’m missing the link. I understand that some of the location
domains .ontario .quebec may be of interest and maybe a growing market,
but how do I link that? How do I link your question to the
specific wording changes we’ve suggested? – Well, I’m just wondering if… – I mean, if it’s a broader question,
not linked to this, there will be a period shortly after this to ask
those kinds of questions. But I really need to get through this to
find out whether it’s going to pass or not. – All right. – I’m sorry. So please come back during
the Q&A at the end. I’ve got one more here. Sir. – [Colin] Yes. I’m Colin Cantley. I am a .ca domain owner because I chose
to set up hosted email with a provider and chose .ca as the place to put it. My question is about this item about the
statement of purpose. You mentioned that promoting the growth of
the .ca domain is part of the mandate, and therefore, doesn’t need to be in the
statement of purpose. So if the mandate is also part of the
Articles of Incorporation, that would make sense. But if the mandate you’re talking about
isn’t in the Articles of Incorporation, then the only place a mandate exists is in
the statement of purpose. I don’t actually know, either way,
I haven’t read the Articles of Incorporation, but maybe the board
could reflect on that for the future because if the only thing in the Articles
of Incorporation that gives the corporation a mandate is the statement
of purpose, then maybe you want to think about whether you need to add something
else to the statement of purpose in future. I am going to vote in favor of this change
because it certainly does bring the language more into alignment with the
current activities, and that’s always a good thing. – Thank you very much for that. It’s a thoughtful suggestion. It will be one that we will take back and
consider, and I’m looking at Albert to make sure we’ve taken a note of
that to take a look at those. Sorry. Whoa, there went that microphone. If there are no further questions,
I’m going to ask if there would be any discussion you would like
to have of the motion. Are there members with specific
comments to make? Not questions at this time. I see no movement in the room, and I see
no traffic on the website, so I want to thank you for your questions and what
discussion there was, and we’ll move to voting on the motion as
set out in the screen. So according to section 197 of the Canada
Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, this is considered a special resolution,
which requires a two-thirds majority vote. So we can… Do I not need to
first get a motion, Albert? Well, sorry. Okay. Then we’re going to proceed with the vote. And I’m going to ask all those in favor,
please raise your voting cards now. And if you’re on the webcast,
please vote now and please keep them up because we’ll be
running around counting. I’m thinking we’ve had enough time. Thank you. For those, opposed, please raise your
voting card now. Or show on screen. Yep. Thank you. For those who abstain,
please raise your voting card now. Okay. Thank you very much. I’m just going to wait until we get
all of the votes tallied. I think the room supported it,
but one never knows what’s happening on the webcast. Overwhelmingly passed. Thank you very much. Motion is carried. The statement of purpose of the
organization is now amended. So now we are at the general
questions from members. So there are the two microphones. I’m going to encourage you to use those,
lineup, and for those on webcast, to click on Ask a Question, so you can type it in,
and submit it and your question will be read in the room on your behalf. And if, again, you could please tell us
your name and affiliation before asking your questions. As this is a meeting of members,
we’ll start by taking questions from members. We need to keep an eye on the clock and
we’ll open the floor to additional questions if time permits. So I’m going to start with you, sir. Because it was a question around… I’m
going to ask Byron to come with me because often, these questions are not
really something a board member or a board chair can easily answer. But, sir, if you want to phrase your
question one more time. – Sure, no problem. Far as you know, like, CIRA is the only
researching authority for Canadian domains,
but the government of Quebec is pushing their own domain and their own research on
authority called .quebec. So I’m wondering if they are working in
with CIRA and also, if CIRA also looks forward to expand their domains like
besides .ca, are we going to have like .ontario or
something like that? – Thank you. So .quebec or .quebec is a gTLD, a
generic top-level domain like .com, net, or guru, whatever. And they are very different than country
code top-level domains .ca, .uk, .au for Australia, etc. Country code domains like CA are operated,
you know, quote, owned and operated by a country code manager,
which in this case is CIRA. .Quebec is a private entity in the generic top-level
domain space, so it’s actually quite different than what we do. We certainly, you know, I know those guys,
we absolutely interact with them. In fact, sometimes, we do some joint work
in the international community, ICANN and such, but they use a different
registry operator than us. So no, we don’t run their platform. I think that’s probably
the first question. And then the second question,
would CIRA consider buying, because that’s what you do,
buying another generic top-level or buying a generic top-level domain like .ontario,
or .alberta, or something. I think the answer to that is no. We provide backend registry services to
top-level domain operators. In fact, we do that today. So .kiwi as an example. We run their backend registry for .kiwi. We could do that for .quebec. We don’t right now, but we could. But we are not in the business of actually
buying and owning generic top-level domains. And I never say never,
but I don’t see appetite for that for CIRA. – Thank you.
– Thank you. We have a question online from Bruce Eason
saying… I think I’ve mentioned it before. So are all the services for this webcast
supplied by Canadians? Hard point to push, but I like it. Byron. – I’m going to admit,
that’s probably a little more granular than I have all the answers to. However, most of the people in the room
who are running it, I’m going to assume are Canadians, but I haven’t
checked their passports. I’m not sure. Julie, is the webcast service?
All Canadian. There you go. Voice of authority from the back.
– Excellent. – So could we go to this gentleman on this
microphone, please? – Hi. Brett Delmage. Byron, about five years ago we talked
about IXPs in Canada. And I’d like to congratulate, sir,
and your extensive continuing development of those and support of
jurisdictional dataflows, as you call it, and keeping Canadian
internet profit in Canada. I’d like to ask about something,
it’s a bit technical, but it’ll be familiar I’m sure to a bunch
of people in the room. The big elephant in the room,
DNS over HTTP, which is being, as I’m sure you’re aware,
rolled out in Google Chrome and Firefox, two browsers to start. That they’re going to start sending
everyone’s very sensitive DNS traffic to something like Cloudflare or a U.S.
internet-based server. Where does CIRA stand on this? What do you perceive as the issue there? And where are you going with it? – So the short answer is we
don’t have a stance yet. I mean, this is still pretty… So we pay
very close attention to it. In fact, Jacques, our CTO is a member of
the security and stability advisory committee to ICANN, which has a lot
of oversight over this space. So, Jacques, our CTO was in the thick of
the discussion, but I would also say right now, it’s still very much a
discussion, and you’ve already seen organizations like Mozilla Firefox kind of
back off a pretty hard stance that they came out with in the IETF or the internet
and engineering taskforce where the standards are made. Still very much a discussion. So from a CIRA standpoint,
we are very much involved in the discussion, aware of the situation,
but consider it evolving, and don’t have a defined policy stance on it yet because, I
mean, there are puts and takes to that issue. But let me just say,
I feel like I may be talking to you. The broader room, DOH,
DOH as it’s often referred to, is a essentially a new standard that’s
evolving that changes the nature of DNS traffic and how that traffic happens and
where it’s encrypted and start sending the traffic fully encrypted from the browser
over to recursive servers. So, again, that might not be this perfect
conversation for a broad audience right now. Let me leave it with…it’s an issue we
should all have some awareness, general awareness of,
because it’s an important issue to how the internet functions and what parts and
where and why are certain parts encrypted because that is a big change and has
ripple effects and impacts to operators like us to law enforcement,
to all kinds of different actors and it impacts them in different ways. But it’s very much an evolving situation
that we’re paying close attention to. And if you want nitty-gritty detail,
I suggest you talk to Jacques, who’s right there, who’s our CTO,
who can talk a lot more about the pure tech of it. – I just… – I’m sorry. – I hope that CIRA will follow this up
because this is kind of a privacy discussion today, and this
is very important. Thank you. – I totally agree. Totally agree. – Thank you. I’m conscious that we’re running behind. We have four people up,
nothing on the screen. So I’m going to ask for very brief and
pointed questions and brief… – Brief and pointed answers? Okay. – Brief answers, if we could. Sorry. – I’m really good at those. – [Tala] So my name is
Tala Madani Tartuffe. So including today’s AGM,
the last three AGMs have been here in Ottawa, and the last four
have been in Ontario. Does the board intend to hold future AGMs
elsewhere in Canada? – We consider it, and part of the
consideration is where are we going to get turnout and therefore quorum? And Ottawa, Toronto,
not sure how easy it was in Montreal, have worked for us. It also makes it, of course,
very cost-effective given so many of the people supporting this are all
Ottawa-based. So we do try and consider whether we can
move out, but we also rely on our member events to try and provide us an
opportunity as board members and as CIRA management and staff to
go around the country. So we do consider it. Can I tell you when the next meeting
will be out of town? No, I don’t have that answer. It’s something we consider every year. Thank you. – Thank you. – We understand the importance
of trying to get out. – And, Helen, could I just add to that? – Yeah. We do. – Because we’re very aware of that
exact issue, we run member events, so not a full AGM like this,
but actual physical member events in cities across Canada every year. And I mentioned earlier,
we often hold a board meeting against the member events, the board meeting, one day
member event the next or that evening so that members from different cities can
interact directly with board members themselves and CIRA staff too. So we try to have that interaction. We just do it in a different
way than AGMs. – Thank you. Yes, sir. – [Jerry] My name is Jerry Lowery. I’m going to try and keep the background
to my question as short as possible because of the time constraints. I’ve been a .ca member-owner way back,
since was registered with the University of British Columbia. When I go to the .ca WHOIS website,
something has changed. And what has changed,
and I encourage everybody to do this, you might find that all
your entries are redacted. Now, Dr. Cavokian said that…what
were her words roughly? That the fate of personal information
should be controlled by the people who hold it. There’s a flip side to that coin. It’s related to other things Dr. Cavokian
mentioned, such as, you know, bots, fake websites and so forth that if registration
information is not available, just as we have to have a driver’s
license, a health card with information on them, that it turns out that
practically every domain that you go and search for on the
WHOIS is redacted. Now, that’s interesting. I had to go jump through
hoops to get mine unredacted. During that time, I learned that ICANN has
nothing to do with ccTLDs. And the feedback I got was that this
redaction is occurring because of things like the GDPR, General Data Protection
Regulation, which is a European Union thing, not a Canadian thing. That’s Canadian sovereignty being
overruled by the EU. Okay? Now… – Sir, can I… I really need the question. – Okay. Well, the question, basically, is,
you know, we have to look at…you know, that not hiding of, you know,
WHOIS information. Now, if somebody is doing business on the
internet, I should be able to see who’s behind their website. And the question is, you know,
is CIRA going to address it because it’s a very important issue. I don’t know why organizations like
Homeland Security have even allowed this to happen because it’s also .com accounts
[crosstalk] and so forth. So that’s the question. How is CIRA going to address it? I strongly believe it’s a sovereignty
issue, and it’s a personal choice issue and it should be, you know… I mean,
I wasn’t even notified that my information had been redacted. So that’s the question.
– Sir, thank you for the question. – So the question is around WHOIS and the
information that gets shared publicly? – No, the question is why are we hiding
information that should be public? – Okay. Well, in your opinion,
it should be public, but what I’m saying is that WHOIS,
as a service, if you look up a domain name, this is for everybody,
if you look up a domain name, there is information available
about that domain name. There are fundamentally two categories,
personal and business. And business information…. So if a business has a website,, all of the WHOIS information is available. If it’s an individual, a citizen,
by definition, that personal information is not made public by CIRA. So that is CIRA policy and has been since
2008, which essentially was an outflow of Canadian…
– GDPR. – No. Has nothing to do with GDPR. This is 2008. GDPR came out in 2015. This was an outflow of Canada’s PIPEDA
legislation in the early 2000s, and we implemented in 2008. The privacy regime that we have now,
it is definitely different than GDPR and long predates it, and certainly different
than the generic top-level domain space, com, net, org, those guys,
although now all of them are moving to GDPR friendly rules, let’s say. So from a privacy standpoint,
CIRA took a pretty progressive stand in ’08 around personal information,
not corporate, personal and continues to stand by that privacy
protection for individuals. It has nothing to do with Homeland
Security or GDPR. It’s strictly CIRA. – Are you telling me if I go look up a…
– I’m sorry. I’m sorry, sir. Sir….
– … Canadian business. The information will be there? – Sir, I’m sorry to say we are now well
over time, we’re half an hour over. I would encourage you to take an
opportunity to get further answers, but I’m afraid we’ve run out of time for
questions at this meeting. So those who are still in line,
and I know there were some online, I’m going to ask, I’m sorry,
but we need to continue. We’ve got a panel and so on. There are a number of staff,
you can recognize them with the gray shirts. There are board members. Please take an opportunity in the period
after to ask the questions you need. We really have to conclude
the rest of them. Not the AGM part, but the rest of the
meeting we’ve got. So it’s time to adjourn the official
portion of this meeting, and that means I require a motion to conclude the meeting. Thank you, ma’am. And can I ask some… Thank you back there. To second the motion and will now proceed
with the vote if you could just let me know that we can adjourn, and just hold
them up to make sure that… Thank you. Keep holding them just a minute more. Yes? We have anyone who would like to abstain
and anyone who would like to object? Yes, sir. Thank you very much. I’m sorry that we have… Maybe it’s a good sign of success that
we’ve run a little long. But clearly, there are lots of questions
that you would like to ask and so, I would like to ask Tanya to come back,
and try to get us back on track. Thank you very much. ♪ [music] ♪

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