Canadian Internet Registration Authority

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Type: Non-Profit
Industry: Registry
Founded: Canada (1998)
Headquarters: 979 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5K5
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@CIRANEWS
Key People
Byron Holland, President & CEO

Jacques Latour, Chief Technology Officer
Dave Chiswell, VP Product Development
David Fowler, VP Marketing & Communications
Albert Chang, Corporate Counsel

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is the organization that manages the .ca ccTLD.[1] This non-profit organization was created in 1998 and became the official .ca registry on December 1, 2000.[2]

A 15 member Board of Directors, consisting of both elected and appointed members, oversees CIRA's operations. Board members are elected annually by CIRA Members through an online process. Membership in CIRA is free, and open to anyone who holds a .ca domain.

Evolution of .ca domain

.ca is the ccTLD for Canada. Registrants of .ca domains must meet Canadian Presence Requirements as defined by the registry.[3]

IANA operator Jon Postel allocated the ccTLD originally to John Demco of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1988.[4] At the time, the internet was used mostly for research.[4] The administration of the .ca domain was carried out by John Demco with the assistance of a .ca committee of volunteers. The names from the .ca domain were assigned without charge to the applicants.

The first .ca domain name was, registered in 1988 by the University of Prince Edward Island.[5]

In 1997, at the Canadian Internet Community's annual conference, discussions of reform led to the formation of CIRA.[6]

French IDNs

In January 2013, CIRA began offering registration in French, fully catering to both the nation's official languages. CIRA noted that implementing French-language characters is a more challenging and complex process than it may appear to be. For example, the domain "pré" could have 62 different spelling variations depending on the choice of characters used. Therefore, it was important for CIRA to develop a number of policies to simplify the procedure. Consequently, CIRA created a bundling policy that removes the necessity to register every special-character variant of an existing .CA domain.[7]

Registry Services

CIRA’s Fury Registry Platform is a next-generation TLD management platform with the features and functionality designed for the modern TLD business. Fury features a modern interface with roles-based access that provides flexibility in pricing, promotion, and domain management to help operators run their business and grow their registry. Released in 2016, Fury is the current platform of choice for .CA, .KIWI, .MLS and .SX.

History of CIRA

  • 1998: At the closing of the the Canadian Internet community's annual conference in 1997, the CDNCC recommends that a private sector, non-profit corporation be set up to take over the administration of the .ca from UBC and John Demco.[8] In late December 1998, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is created for this take-over.
  • 1999: In a letter, the Canadian Government recognizes CIRA as the new administrator of the .ca domain.[9]
  • 2000 June: The Umbrella Agreement for the Transfer of the .ca Domain Name Registry is signed between the Canadian government, CIRA, and the University of British Columbia. A Transition Agreement for the Transfer of the .ca Domain Name Registry is also signed between CIRA and the University of British Columbia. Through these agreements, CIRA gains complete responsibility for managing the .ca domain from then on.[10]
  • 2000: There are 86,976 .ca registrations in effect.
  • 2001: Up until this year, CIRA also oversees third-level Canadian domain names (such as, in addition to the standard ccTLD (ie:
  • 2001 March: CIRA launches Public Board Elections.[11]
  • 2001 May: CIRA officially opens its offices in Ottawa, Ontario on May 2.
  • 2001 June: CIRA Members (CIRA Registrants with at least one active .ca domain name) vote in the first Board of Directors election.
  • 2001 December: The first CIRA Annual General Meeting is held in Toronto. By the end of the year, the registry manages 270,655 .ca domain names.[12]
  • 2003 June: ICANN holds a public meeting in Montreal.[13]
  • 2005 December: CIRA hosts an event during ICANN's 2005 Annual General Meeting in Vancouver.
  • 2008 April: CIRA announces that it has surpassed one million .ca domain name registrations.[14]
  • 2009 October: CIRA announces the launch of a test-bed initiative for DNSSEC.[15] Officials from CIRA say the process of implementing DNSSEC had begun in early 2009, while the implementation date was set for 2010.
  • 2010: CIRA releases a new version of its domain name registration system and stops accepting new registrations for third-level domains,[16] but promises to continue supporting existing third-level domain names. It also achieves achieves 1.5 million .ca domains registered.[17]
  • 2010: Late in the year, CIRA begins a national consultation on the future of the Internet, called the Canadian Internet Forum; it is the first time CIRA engages in dialogue with Canadians about issues of Internet governance and policy.[17]
  • 2012: CIRA celebrates anniversary and launches Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs).
  • 2014: CIRA announces the Community Investment Program (CIP).
  • 2015 May: CIRA launches the Internet Performance Test (IPT).
  • 2015 October: CIRA introduces D-Zone Anycast DNS services (D-Zone).
  • 2016 June: CIRA announces it will deliver IIS (.SE) a complete white-labelled Anycast solution based on it's D-Zone service.
  • 2016 July: CIRA announces it is now offering Backend Registry Services to gTLDs and ccTLDs around the world.
  • 2016 September: The .ca registry hits 2.5 million registered domain names.
  • 2016 October: The first gTLD customer .KIWI goes live on the FURY Registry Platform.
  • 2017 November: The first ccTLD customer .SX goes live on the FURY Registry Platform.
  • 2019 February: The second and largest ccTLD customer .CA goes live on the FURY Registry Platform.
  • 2019 March: The second gTLD customer .MLS goes live on the FURY Registry Platform.
  • 2020 November: The third ccTLD customer .IE goes live on the FURY Registry Platform.

Cybersecurity Services

CIRA Canadian Shield is a public DNS resolver, which means it connects its users to the websites they're trying to visit and double-checks to see if they're Malicious Domains; if they are, the service stops the user from visiting them. The service protects users from malware and phishing with the same threat feed data as the CIRA DNS Firewall, using AI from Akamai to analyze billions of daily DNS queries globally.[18]


External links