Byron Holland is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). View bio
You’re probably aware that CIRA is in the middle of an election for our Board of Directors. It’s probably a good time to explain some of our elections processes and talk about why they exist.
The rumours are true: CIRA does have a complicated governance structure, and I’m the first to admit the process for electing the Board of Directors can appear convoluted.
Let me explain.
First, though, I think it’s important to provide a bit of background. CIRA was founded in the late 1990s as a not-for-profit corporation designated to “…administer the .CA (dot-ca) domain space on behalf of Canadian users.” We receive our mandate from Industry Canada.
With the exception of three ex-officio seats (Industry Canada, CIRA’s president and John Demco, who helped establish the .CA domain and CIRA), two thirds of the seats on the Board are intended to provide for broad skills, experience and representation. CIRA’s Board of Directors is intended to be representative of the Canadian Internet community – there are plenty of stakeholders in the work CIRA does and we need to ensure their voices are heard.
Simply put, there are two slates of candidates for seats on our Board of Directors: a Nomination Committee Slate and a Members’ slate. This year, there are four seats to be elected from the Nomination Committee slate (three because their term was up and one due to a resignation) and one from the Members’ slate.
Each year, a Nomination Committee is formed by the Board. There is an open call to apply to fill vacant seats on this Committee. Their mandate is to select nominees, as set out in our Policy on Nominations & Elections, that: (A) represent different regions, cultures, genders and linguistic groups, that are consistent with the diverse make up of the Canadian population; (B) provide necessary professional expertise; and, (C) have significant relevant corporate and/or organizational governance experience.
This year, CIRA received 1,601 applications from which eight nominees were chosen to run for the four open seats from the Nomination Committee slate, using the above criteria.
The remaining third are selected directly by CIRA’s Members. Membership in CIRA is free and open to anyone who holds a .CA domain name. Currently, CIRA has about 15,500 Members.
This year, one of the three seats which are elected from the Members’ slate is open. Members are currently in the process of selecting the candidates who will make it to the election ballot from this slate. To run for one of these seats, an individual (either a member or non-member) must be nominated by a Member. To ensure relevance, Members’ Slate Nominees must secure 20 shows of support from Members to become candidates by September 9, 2010. Note: to provide a show of support, Members had to sign up before August 30, 2010.
There are eight candidates on the Nomination Committee slate. A total of 38 nominees are on the Members’ slate, awaiting shows of support. We’ll be posting the final full list of candidates on September 13, which will include both the Nomination Committee slate and the Member’ slate.
Voting opens on September 22 and closes on September 29 – we’ll post the results of this year’s election on or before October 6, 2010.
The entire process is overseen by an independent returning officer who is not an employee of CIRA.
One final note: To vote in the election itself, the application deadline to become a member is September 17, 2010.