2018 In Review

With a network stretching 6,000 kilometres, including 27 connection points in 21 communities throughout Ontario, ORION supports more than two million students, teachers, researchers and innovators on one of the largest and fastest networks in the world.

In 2018, we made even greater strides in building Ontario’s innovation ecosystem of today – and tomorrow.

To enhance our high-speed connectivity, we upgraded almost 70% of our fibre optic network to multi-terabit capability, and in some segments, we are now carrying one terabit per second. We continued to evolve and adapt our shared chief information security officer (CISO) initiative and are scaling it for greater impact. We began offering last-mile services, bringing trusted end-to-end solutions to our users. We piloted cybersecurity services to further protect our digital community. We continued to build productive partnerships, working with the federal and provincial government, relied on the guidance of our advisory groups and engaged Ontario’s community of innovators through our 2018 conference, THINK: Innovation Ecosystem.

Acting as a champion for the digital economy, here’s a snapshot of how ORION is enabling platforms of collaboration: we provided crucial security services across a school board, enabled the advancement of intelligent health care, facilitated the training of tomorrow’s mining employees and worked toward creating a more inclusive, connected Ontario.

ORION continues to proudly support its users in their collaborative endeavours with cutting-edge digital infrastructure and leadership, enabling transformation and progress across the province. We invite you to delve into how we do this by reading more in our 2018 Snapshot.

We Do

ORION is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering Ontario researchers, educators and innovators. We facilitate groundbreaking discoveries and cutting-edge education by connecting institutions and regions across the province, providing them with the digital tools and expertise they need, and advocating on their behalf.

How We
Do It

ORION seeks to enable and support Ontario innovators in their efforts to make the world a better place.

Acting as a champion for the innovation community, ORION offers the critical infrastructure necessary for collaboration, providing researchers, educators and innovators with the tools and connections they need in order to make pioneering discoveries and provide cutting-edge education.

As a not-for-profit organization, our primary focus is the groundbreaking work of our community — and how we can help make it happen.

Together, we’re all partners in making Ontario a global leader in innovation.

Letter from the President

Alfonso Licata

Digital infrastructure plays a key role in driving Ontario’s data economy — but that’s just one aspect of what we do at ORION. Our ability to meet our constituents’ needs requires building strong, productive partnerships with research and education stakeholders and offering the right mix of technological tools and services.

It is with great pride and accomplishment that I present to you ORION’s 2018 Snapshot. This report highlights many notable achievements our organization has made to connect research and education institutions, regions and people across the province and provide them with the digital tools and expertise they need.

We worked to be more responsive to our constituents by building stronger partnerships with our research and education institutions, including government officials and our advisory group members. Through open and productive conversations with our community partners, we gained important insights on how to better champion innovation projects.

We have highlighted a sampling of our proud accomplishments from 2018:

  • Strengthened key partnerships to provide more relevant products and services
  • Connected almost 200 IT leaders, researchers, educators, librarians, policy-makers and students at our annual conference
  • Researched and produced a pivotal report on how to improve Northern Ontario’s access to the data economy
  • Developed and solicited feedback on a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy for 2018–2021

Our ability to organize services for our constituents allows them to do more for less, accessing the vital digital tools they need. We have offered a range of technology products and services to enhance our community’s power to educate, research and enable progress in the 21st century.

This year, we made several advancements to best serve our constituents:

  • Made significant network upgrades to enhance our users’ high-speed broadband connectivity
  • Partnered on transformational technology projects to support advancements in areas such as health care AI, smart cities, autonomous vehicles and smart mining
  • Advanced cybersecurity strategy and tactics at Ontario education institutions
  • Improved our ability to provide end-to-end service through last-mile product offerings

ORION enjoyed strong momentum in 2018, and we’re building on it in 2019 by pursuing new ways to enable Ontario’s researchers, educators and innovators. We invite you to share your ideas with us on how we can work together to foster a more dynamic digital economy in Ontario.

Alfonso Licata

Alfonso Licata

President and CEO

Letter from the Board

Jim Garner

According to the Conference Board of Canada, Ontario is the top performing province in innovation. As Ontario’s innovation-driven economy continues to grow and thrive, ORION continues to play an important role in driving its advancement.

As a member of ORION’s board of directors since 2011, I have witnessed ORION’s tremendous growth into a vital enabler of research, education and innovation activities in the province. As board chair in 2018, I was proud to see the organization become an even stronger champion and facilitator of knowledge sharing, collaboration and supercomputing for research and education institutions, including schools, hospitals, research centres and computing facilities.

Last year was the first year of ORION’s three-year strategic plan, and the organization made great headway in strengthening its operations with leading-edge talent and a phased-gate governance process. The plan guided the team’s outreach efforts, which helped ORION gain the input it needs to ensure it is best serving Ontario’s IT leaders, researchers, educators, librarians and others in the innovation community.

Much of ORION’s momentum in 2018 related to its enhancement of its network and business functions. These efforts included updating operational tools and processes and improving constituent onboarding practices. These improvements have helped better position ORION to support large-scale innovation projects effectively and efficiently.

Observing ORION’s evolution into a leading champion of Ontario’s innovators has been incredibly satisfying. On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to congratulate the ORION team for their deliberate, well-informed and forward-thinking approach to providing institutions and regions with the digital tools and expertise they need for their innovation projects. Going forward, ORION is well positioned to enable bright ideas, ground-breaking discoveries and cutting-edge education in Ontario.

Jim Garner

Jim Garner


ORION Board of Directors