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Internationalized Domain Names and .CA

By Byron Holland
President and CEO

CIRA released key highlights of how we plan to implement French language characters, or Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in .CA

This week, CIRA released key highlights of how we plan to implement French language characters, or Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in .CA domain names. 

This plan comes as a result of seven months of outreach by CIRA. We’ve talked to subject matter experts, our CIRA Certified Registrars and conducted two public consultations to obtain feedback, and I believe CIRA’s IDN initiative is stronger for it.

CIRA received a tremendous amount of feedback during the consultation which has directly shaped our approach to implementing IDNs. Here are some of the highlights of our planned approach:

  • French Characters: CIRA will allow the registration of the following characters: é, ë, ê, è, â, à, æ, ô, œ, ù, û, ü, ç, î, ï, and ÿ.
  • Administrative Bundling: Character variants will be bundled together, meaning that the Registrant of a particular domain name will have the exclusive right to register all of the variants of that domain name (e.g., only the Registrant of will be able to register pré, prèsïdë.ca, prësîdê.ca, etc.).
  • Single Registrar: Domain names in a bundle must all be held by the same Registrar under the same Registrant contact.
  • Pricing: The wholesale pricing of IDNs, including French character variants of existing domain names, will not be higher than the pricing for any ASCII or English domain name. This will not apply, however to any price related promotions that CIRA may choose to offer, from time to time.

As stewards of the .CA domain space, we are committed to running a world-class domain name registry for the benefit of all Canadians, and that includes both English and French Canada. The implementation of French characters not only allows us to better serve Canadians in both official languages, it also creates a more accessible Internet experience for all.

About the author
Byron Holland

Byron Holland (MBA, ICD.D) is the president and CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), the national not-for-profit best known for managing the .CA domain and developing new cybersecurity, DNS, and registry services.

Byron is an expert in internet governance and a seasoned entrepreneur. Under Byron’s leadership, CIRA has become one of the leading ccTLDs in the world, with over 3 million domains under management. Over the past decade, he has represented CIRA internationally and held numerous leadership positions within ICANN. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for TORIX, and is a member of the nominations committee for ARIN. He lives in Ottawa with his wife, two sons, and their Australian shepherd, Marley.

The views expressed in this blog are Byron’s opinions on internet-related issues, and are not necessarily those of the organization.