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Changes to the Canadian .ca Domain Name Registry


September 1, 2000


Cappone D'Angelo
Beth Macdonald
Charles S. Morgan

As you may be aware, changes are underway that will significantly affect the administration of the .ca Domain Name Registry and the rules regarding entitlement to .ca domain names. This article is intended to notify you of some of these changes and to suggest that you review your domain name portfolio now.

As a result of the new Canadian .ca Registry rules, all current registrants of .ca domain names, including provincial level domain names ( and municipal level domain names (, will be required to take active steps to renew their .ca domain name registrations with the new administrators of the .ca Domain Name Registry, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA).

CDNnet, the current administrator of the .ca Domain Name Registry, has attempted to communicate the procedures for registrants to pre-register their existing .ca domain names in the new .ca Domain Name Registry via the e-mail address of the administrative contact listed in .ca Domain Name Registry database. Accordingly, it is extremely important that your contact information listed on the .ca Domain Name Registry database is accurate and up to date. If your organisation has not yet been contacted, you should review and modify your contact information in respect of your own .ca domain name at the web page located at

CIRA began accepting pre-registrations from registrants of existing .ca domain names on September18, 2000. Rather than pre-registering directly with CIRA itself, Registrants must complete a pre-registration application made available by a CIRA certified registrar, such as, or (a complete list of CIRA certified registrars is available at Because of the huge numbers of registrants that are attempting to pre-register, the CIRA registry is experiencing some technical delays. Nevertheless, you should make sure you pre-register your .ca domain names, if any, prior to the "operational transfer date" (OTD) currently estimated to occur on or about November 1, 2000. Those .ca domain names that are not pre-registered by the OTD will not be included in the CIRA Registry and will cease to function. Following the OTD, registrants will nonetheless be accorded a 30 day "grace period" in which to pre-register, subject to a surcharge of $20.00. Once this grace period ends (on or about December 1, 2000), CIRA proposes to make any domain names that have not been pre-registered available for registration by others.

Please note that during the pre-registration process CIRA is allowing holders of municipal and provincial level domain names (, to "upgrade" to a national level domain name (, where available, for no additional fee. This may give you an opportunity to acquire a national level domain name previously unobtainable due to the complex CDNnet domain name registration rules.

Finally, because new rules regarding entitlement to .ca domain names will likely permit multiple .ca domain name registrations by a single organization, it is important that you also review your domain name portfolio at this time to ensure that you have identified any additional .ca domain names that you may want registered. It may be necessary to prepare to register such names in advance so that you are able to complete the new registrations as soon as possible after the new rules take effect. Otherwise, another organization may register the domain names you want, to the detriment of your domain name portfolio and your Internet identity.

If you would like to discuss the implications of the pending changes to the .ca Domain Name Registry or opportunities to strengthen your domain name portfolio, contact any of the following members of our National Intellectual Property and High Tech Groups: