The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, or CIRA, manages .ca. They began managing the top level domain (TLD) in 2000 in order to make it easier and faster to register a Canadian TLD. CIRA was originally a group made up of ordinary people that worked to support Canada’s internet community and the country’s contributions to international internet governance.
CIRA is a member-driven organization; anyone with a .ca TDL can apply for membership and contribute their opinions and ideas. If everyone who registered a .ca TDL became a member, CIRA would be one of the largest secular organizations in the world as it registered its one millionth .ca domain name on 4/15/2008!
CIRA has established very strict criteria applying to people seeking a .ca TDL. Because these requirements are adamantly enforced, you can be sure that any site with a .ca TDL is truly a Canadian site. Some of the requirements to obtain a .ca TDL are:
• You must be a Canadian citizen of the age of majority
• You must be a permanent resident of Canada
• First Nation, Metis, Inuit or other people indigenous to Canada are eligible for .ca TDL
• Divisions of the government are eligible
• A legally recognized organization of Canada
• An Indian Band meeting the requirements of the Indian Act of Canada
• A foreign resident that holds a Canadian trademark
• The Queen as she carries out her duties as Head of State
CIRA formerly allowed the use of province abbreviations in a .ca TDL. For example, a URL such as shophere.nb.ca would indicate that the business is in New Brunswick, Canada. Although this was convenient for websites and let people know where they were doing business, it was considered too complex and discontinued in October of 2010. Those that obtained their province designation can keep them but CIRA is no longer accepting registrations with province extensions.
CIRA’s rules are quite clear that one can’t use certain expletives in a website name nor the names of cities and localities inside Canadian borders; those names are reserved for those entities to use.
Website owners with a .ca TDL will appreciate the CIRA rules governing domains that have expired. First, a website owner has 30 days after the domain expires to retrieve the name. Perhaps they forgot to renew their registration or fell on hard times and could not afford the fee. This gives them one last chance to hang onto their TDL. If the owner decides to let their TDL expire, it is assigned TBR (to be released) status after the 30 day last-chance period. The TDL is then made available during the weekly auctions. Interested parties can bid during the auction or register their bids in advance. If there are no bids on the TDL, it is released and made available for new registrants.