About Us

CanTrust is and why.

Mission & Vision

CanTrust Hosting Co-op is a member-owned, triple-bottom-line (people, planet, and profit) information technology enterprise. Our mission is to help like-minded social economy organizations thrive by providing access to fairly-priced open source technology, IT infrastructure, and hands-on support. For our community, CanTrust is a go-to for non-profits, arts, co-operatives, and social justice organizations for an alternative to cloud hosting and a return to secure self-hosted services.

CanTrust Hosting started out with website hosting in 2009. At that time, most business was conducted on local computers – many people were already using Gmail or Hotmail or another cloud based email, but otherwise they would edit documents and chat using software installed on their local computers. Free and open source options abounded for organizations that could not afford to purchase commercial software – for example OpenOffice could be used to replace MS Office at no cost.

In the space of just 11 years, the computing landscape as we know it has changed utterly. With the meteoric rise of Amazon Web Services came “the cloud”, and shortly after that the rise of “cloud services”, meaning cloud-hosted versions of the business apps that used to be locally installed on computers. In 2020, the cloud computing market is estimated at $200Bn and is growing rapidly.

The challenge for organizations with fixed budgets or little financial income, is that modern cloud services are provided by US for-profit corporations. The standard pricing model is per-user, per-month, per-application, typically billed in $USD. This is neither sustainable nor scalable for organizations operating on fixed budgets. The corporate pricing model is especially punishing for organizations who rely on part time workers or volunteers – as cloud vendors charge for those users the same as full-time employees.

Cloud-hosted open source (free) versions of the tools do now exist, but it is extermely challenging for an organization of limited means to successfully operate their own service. CanTrust Hosting Co-op already has the expertise and infrastructure to be able to provide these open source apps to value-aligned customers. Over the past three years we have conducted market research, selected a viable suite of applications to offer, and beta tested with real organizations. We are confident we can provide an equivalent business experience, but one that is billed fairly – by server resources used – not by the number of users.

We support organizations and help give them the ability to grow with our fair pricing model

Mission & Vision

CanTrust Hosting Co-op is a member-owned, triple-bottom-line (people, planet, and profit) information technology enterprise. Our mission is to help like-minded social economy organizations thrive by providing access to fairly-priced open source technology, IT infrastructure, and hands-on support. For our community, CanTrust is a go-to for non-profits, arts, co-operatives, and social justice organizations for an alternative to cloud hosting and a return to secure self-hosted services.

from Canadian worker co-op: https://canadianworker.coop/about/what-is-a-worker-co-op/

“Worker co-operatives are businesses that are owned and democratically controlled by the members.  The main purpose of a worker co-operative is to provide employment for its members through operating an enterprise that follows the Co-operative Principles and Values. When new employees join the business, after a successful probationary period they are encouraged to apply for membership. The worker co-op is, in principle, designed to provide benefits not just to the founding members but also to all future employee/members.

..In summary, worker co-operatives are a radical break from the conventional business model. The worker co-op’s primary goal in operating an enterprise is for service to its employees and its community rather than in service to the owners of capital. The goal is to provide the best possible employment conditions for the members and to provide the customers and community with a service or product at a fair price that meets their needs and leads to a sustainable community.

CARE FOR OUR COMMUNITIES AND CLIENTS

CanTrust is committed to providing services and solutions for our clients and community members to best suit their technical and business needs, budget, and privacy/security requirements. As a core value, care for our communities and clients is a high priority for our Co-op. We treat each person who comes to us with respect, and we provide the best advice we have from our shared team knowledge. This value encourages us to maintain a lean business model that ensures that the scope of our service offerings never exceed our ability to offer excellent client service. To us, this means that our clients will be able to reach one of dedicated trcore staff on the phone, by email, or through our ticketing system as per our SLA. CanTrust does not oversell and we aim to ensure that our clients are only provides services that they need.

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CanTrust is committed to providing services and solutions for our clients and community members to best suit their technical and business needs, budget, and privacy/security requirements.

Our priority is to create a co-operative that can grow to meet the needs of a wide variety of organizations and provide these organizations with long-term, easy-to-use, Canadian-based, sustainable technology infrastructure.  Each new organization that hosts with us brings more strength to our community.

CanTrust’s core value is to help as many organizations as possible by providing a secure, financially sustainable, open source business tools or CTsuite.

We care for our communities and clients are a high priority for our co-op. This encourages us to maintain a lean business model that ensures that the scope of our service offerings never exceed our ability to offer excellent client service. CanTrust does not oversell and we aim to ensure that our clients are only provides services that they need.

Valued aligned organizations only. Our alignment check.

Team

Damien Norris – Executive Director – Software Engineer

Damien has over 25 years of Internet experience. After completing 3 years of a B.Sc in Computer Science at the University of Victoria, he joined Victoria Internet start-up JCI Technologies in 1994. There he led development and support for several versions of the company’s JobMatch and MLS.ca sites.

For the next 10 years Damien split his time between interesting and engaging consulting projects and acting as CTO/Senior Developer roles for numerous BC startups. He gained a broad range of experience in different programming languages, as well as database administration, server administration, security, hosting, devops. He wrote and deployed production enterprise code in the verticals of finance, entertainment, retail, real estate, and defense. He performed R&D work in numerous fields including security, cryptography, wireless communications and payment technology. In 2005 he co-authored PCT patent WO2007036763A1: “Biometric authentication system”.

In 2006 Damien switched to working with Open Source and he began hosting and developing Drupal sites. He co-founded CanTrust Hosting Co-op in 2009 with a mission to empower small non-profits, co-ops and social organizations with affordable enterprise-grade infrastructure and support. He has served full time as CTO of CanTrust ever since and is proud to support mission critical services for hundreds of inspiring organizations.

Mack Hardy – Director – Business – Software Engineer

Mack Hardy is a software engineer who works extensively with Drupal and Open Source software. Mack holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University in Information Systems and Marketing. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Mack’s contributions to the co-op include expert skills in information architecture, project management and software development. Mack is actively engaged in project management and development of the tools, as well as directly mentoring and training junior programmers. Mack also brings extensive business operations experience to the team and helps to develop services for social enterprise clients.

Robin Puga – Director – Software Engineer

Robin Puga is a software engineer who has been documenting and developing custom content management systems for over 15 years. He earned his Bachelor of Science with distinction from the University of Victoria where he specialized in Software Engineering. Robin developed software for private industry for a number of years; including a documenting NCompass Labs’ (pre-Microsoft) Site Server project. In 2000, Robin started a web development company specialising in affordable Open Source web solutions, providing non-technical users with the ability to update their own websites. Robin joined the British Columbia Institute for Co-operative Studies (BCICS) in 2002 to help enhance the Institute’s information technology facilities. He served as Technology Director there until 2008; his favourite contribution during that time was to help coordinate the publishing of Youth Reinventing Co-operatives – a book about youth co-operatives around the world. Robin has since returned his focus to web development and community-based web solutions.

Spencer Davis – Senior Network Administrator

Spencer Davis is a systems and network administrator who has worked primarily with open source products for 8 years. He has worked with CanTrust to automate time-consuming processes, improve on existing infrastructure and documented crucial systems. As a first response technician, he handles unexpected issues and coordinates front line customer support.

Previously, Spencer worked as a technician at Vancouver Co-op Radio, with responsibilities including maintaining the online stream, website updates and office IT support. Spencer is a strong believer in co-operative values and strategies as a method of placing people before profits and encouraging collaborative solutions. He has been part of various Vancouver art and media collectives such as the Red Gate Arts Society, VIVO Media Arts and Sacred Sound Club.

Nikki Kent – Digital Strategist / SEO and SEM Expert

Nikki is a Vancouver based designer with over 25 years experience in the design industry. Nikki specializes in digital strategy, marketing/SEO, web development, graphic design, and prepress for print. She works as a digital strategist offering organizations that focus on technology ways to improve their online presence and create new competitive advantages using technology to achieve better results. Nikki has been working with CanTrust Hosting Co-op managing their digital marketing, SEO services, as well as developing their website and product offerings.

Nikki is passionate about supporting women in tech. She is on the board (and part of the volunteer moderation team) of a Vancouver-based women and female identified group of; creators and makers in media, communications, and digital media tech. Where they foster connections and support one another in professional development. This group currently has over 8000 members in the lower mainland, and is making a shift to the non-profit sector.

Proficient in website development, coding, and a vast understanding of online strategies from Google Ads, to the value of your own native content. She connects the dots to make sure it all works together, so you work with search engines, and not against them.

Anju Singh – Analyst

Anju has worked in the non-profit and tech sectors in management and coordinator roles for over 15 years, and she also brings to CanTrust her experience working for a co-operative for over 7 years in the position of Director of Technical Services at Vancouver Co-op Radio. Anju’s degree in Philosophy from Simon Fraser University trained her for critical and analytic thinking, as well as a love for problem solving, which lends to her strong skills as a business analyst, especially with non-profits, community and arts organizations. Following her studies at SFU, her training was nicely rounded out by her experience working in non-profit organizations and for a co-op where she developed values that prioritize people, relationships, and more equitable practices. Anju continues her studies in IT at BCIT, project management at UBC, and she has recently completed a management level human resources mentorship via the CHRC (Cultural Human Resources Council) national mentorship program, which trained Anju in safe and equitable human resources standard practices. Anju brings to CanTrust Hosting Co-op a breadth of skills including experience from the tech sector, non-profit management, human resources training, and a strong history of operations management experience.