Unconnected: Funding Shortfalls, Policy Imbalances and How They Are Contributing to Canada’s Digital Underdevelopment

Posted December 9, 2020

In an effort to understand the challenges and opportunities facing civil society and community organizations working to improve the quality of Canada’s internet, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) commissioned research firm The Strategic Counsel to conduct a qualitative and quantitative assessment of stakeholder perceptions of the nation’s digital philanthropy landscape.
 
Researchers started by identifying not-for-profits, charities, academics, funders and government program officials that work on initiatives promoting access to safe, reliable, high-quality internet services – or “internet-related projects” – across the country. The researchers then asked what these groups thought about the priorities and availability of digital funding in Canada. In doing so, they unearthed key funding gaps and issues with fundraising, but also serious systemic issues and blockages that are keeping those problems from being addressed both in policy and in funding. Without long-term funding for these gaps, needed systemic changes are not likely to happen.
 
The research results show that digital development in Canada is underfunded, piecemeal, ad hoc and unorganized despite stakeholders sharing many of the same goals.
 
The research results show that digital development in Canada is underfunded, piecemeal, ad hoc and unorganized despite stakeholders sharing many of the same goals – the connecting of Canadians to the internet in an affordable and reliable manner so that they can comfortably and knowledgeably participate in an increasingly digital economy and society.
 
The research also found that these goals and the challenges surrounding them have only become more pressing with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a global crisis that has pushed nearly every aspect of our daily lives online.
 
The Strategic Counsel’s research was undertaken between April and June of this year and was supplemented with further interviews conducted by CIRA in August. The result is a landmark study on the gaps in Canadian digital funding and underlying systemic issues. This report presents those findings and suggests potential actions that can be taken by different stakeholders to address and correct Canada’s digital underdevelopment.
 

 

 

 

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