Update on CIRA’s Governance

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CIRA is a federal not-for-profit organization. As such, we are subject to the Government of Canada’s legislation that governs not-for-profits. Recently, changes were announced to the federal legislation that governs not-for-profits like CIRA. Given that the current legislation dates from 1917 – the height of the First World War – these changes are definitely welcome.

To comply with the new legislation, we need to make some changes to our governance documents, including our by-laws. That’s a good thing – it’s healthy for an organization, from time to time, to look at the foundations on which it operates. And, since CIRA recently passed its 10-year anniversary, the timing seems appropriate. The last time significant changes were made to CIRA’s bylaws was in 2006, half of CIRA’s lifespan ago. To put that in context, in 2006 there were fewer than 700,000 .CAs registered – we’re currently fast approaching the 2,000,000 mark.

CIRA is in a very different place now. As an organization, we’ve matured – we’ve   grown both in domain names registered and in the number and experience of our operating staff. It is time, in short, to update the governance structure and process that was intended to build the organization. So while we’re looking at some of these mandatory changes, CIRA’s Board of Directors decided to take the opportunity to review our overall governance processes and structure.

The result of this review will be a robust set of governance documents and processes that:

1.  Results in a process that is more open, transparent and robust.

2.  Reflects current best practices.

3.  Increases efficiency and effectiveness by reducing the complexity and time of the current Board selection process.

CIRA is a Member-driven organization. .CA Members are one of our critical stakeholder groups, and likely the most important one when it comes to governance. We are intent on ensuring they are informed and involved in this process. We want to ensure our Members have the opportunity to ask us questions and provide us with feedback on the proposed changes before they are formally submitted to them, the .CA Members, for approval.

To that end, we’ve developed a comprehensive process to consult with Members and obtain their feedback. This feedback will be used to finalize the new bylaws:

1.  This week, Members were invited to review the new proposed changes, and share any questions or feedback with us before May 2, 2012. This can be done via the dedicated governance@cira.ca email account.

2.  CIRA will review the feedback and make updates to the changes, as necessary.

3.  Members will then have the opportunity to vote on the final proposed changes. We anticipate this would take place at our Annual General Meeting on September 18, 2012, in Ottawa.

I hope you will join us in strengthening CIRA’s governance. By the way, if you’re not already Member, it’s a good time to become one. It’s easy and free, and available to anyone with a .CA domain name. Visit our Member portal for more information.