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A-label: One of the sequences of characters in an Internationalized Domain Name that sits between the dots which contains non letter-digit-hyphen characters and is encoded in a way that can be interpreted by the domain name system (DNS).  A-labels begin with the case-insensitive string “xn--”.  For example, the domain name system would interpret ç as In that context, “xn--ira-1la” is an A-label.

Add Grace Period: a five day period within the registration date of a domain name where the domain name can be deleted upon the request of the Registrant’s Registrar for any reason, with or without the Registrant’s consent.

 Administrative Bundle: All which share the same base (referred to as a “common canonical form”) are considered variants of each other and form an administrative bundle. For example, ç and cirà.ca are variants of a common canonical form ( and are part of an administrative bundle.

The Registrant of a domain name has the exclusive right to register all the variants of that domain name in an administrative bundle and no one else can register any of those domains. The domain names in an administrative bundle must be registered separately with the same Registrar. Each registered  domain name in an administrative bundle has its own  lifecycle.

Administrative Contact: This is the main point of contact for the management of a domain name, who has control over the domain name. The Administrative Contact can either be the Registrant of the domain name or someone authorized by the Registrant.

ASCII: Acronym for the American Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII is a code for representing English characters as numbers, with each character assigned a number from 0 to 127. Most computers use ASCII codes to represent text, which makes it possible to transfer data from one computer to another.

Authorization Code (auth code): An Authorization Code (auth code) is a code provided to a Registrant of a .CA domain name by their Registrar. The auth code is required to perform some management tasks for your .CA domain name, for example transferring your domain name to another Registrar.

Auto-renewal: .CA domain names are registered for a specified period of time up to 10 years. Upon its expiry, the domain name is automatically renewed for one year provided that the Registrar has sufficient funds in its deposit account, and keeps renewing each year, unless the Registrant has specified otherwise.

Auto-renew Grace Period: This is a 45-day grace period following the auto-renewal of a domain name where a Registrar can delete the domain name and obtain a refund of the fee charged by CIRA for the renewal of the domain name.

Country Code Top-level Domain (ccTLD): A country code top-level domain is a two letter suffix for Internet domain names that corresponds to a country, territory, or geographic location. .CA is the ccTLD for Canada.

CIRA Member: CIRA is a member-driven organization. Members elect CIRA’s Board of Directors and participate in other CIRA governance-related activities. Membership in CIRA is free and open to all .CA Registrants, through a simple application process. More  information on .CA Membership can be found here.

CIRA's Dispute Resolution Policy (CDRP): CIRA's CDRP is a forum to deal with cases of bad faith registration of .CA domain names. More information on the CDRP is available here.

Domain name: A string of words used to identify computer addresses on the Internet. ‘’ is an example of a domain name.

Domain Name System (DNS): The Internet service that translates domain names, such as, into IP addresses, such as, in order that computers can communicate with each other. The DNS underpins the functionality of the Internet.

Generic Top-level Domain (gTLD): A generic top-level domain is a suffix attached to Internet domain names, made up of three or more letters that identifies it as associated with a domain class. Common examples are .com, .net, .org, and .biz.

Internationalized Domain Name (IDN): IDNs are domain names or web addresses, represented by local language characters outside of ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) a-z alphabet, numbers (0-9) and hyphens (-) characters.  French IDNs include characters such as à, œ, ç, and ÿ, however, IDNs can also include characters from many other languages. CIRA currently only supports the registration of French character .CA domain names.

The following characters can be registered:

  • é, ë, ê, è
  • â, à,æ
  • ô,œ
  • ù, û, ü
  • ç
  • î, ï
  • ÿ

Internet:  A global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) to communicate with each other.

IP address: A unique number that identifies a computer and its location on the Internet. These numbers correspond to domain names. For example, the IP address is associated with the domain name

Punycode: Punycode is a syntax for describing the accented version of a domain name. It uniquely and reversibly transforms a Unicode string into an ASCII string so it is readable by a web browser. For example, when ç is typed into  a browser, the browser first converts the string to punycode "", because the character 'ç' is not allowed in regular domain names.

Redemption Grace Period: When a domain name is deleted during the Auto-Renew Grace Period, there is then a 30-day period called the Grace Redemption Period where the domain name can be redeemed and renewed. During this period, the domain name is suspended, meaning that any websites or email addresses associated with it will not work.

Registrar: A Registrar is a person or organization that registers and manages .CA domain names on behalf of their customers. Registrars are the main point of contact for .CA Registrants in the management of their .CA domain names.

Registrant: A person or organization that has registered a .CA domain name.

Registry: A database of all domain names registered in a top-level domain. CIRA runs the registry for .CA domain names. A registry operator, such as CIRA, is the part of the DNS that generates the zone files which convert domain names to IP addresses.

To be Released (TBR): When a registration for a particular domain name is deleted by a Registrant and is not redeemed during the Redemption Grace Period, it becomes available through the TBR Process. During the TBR session, authorized Registrars, acting on behalf of a Registrant, have the opportunity to register deleted domain names on the TBR list. If a domain name is not registered during the TBR session, it is then made available for registration.

Top-level Domain (TLD): The suffix attached to Internet domain names, such as .CA.

U-label: A U-label is the domain name a user types into a browser, for example cirâ.ca. An encoding system called Punycode converts the U-label into an A-label represented by ASCII characters (letters, digits, and hyphens) readable by a web browser.

For example, when you type ç in your browser, your browser first converts the string to "", because the character 'ç' is not allowed in standard domain names. Punycode domains won't work in older browsers.

Unicode: A standard for representing characters as integers. Unlike ASCII, which uses 7 bits for each character, Unicode uses 16 bits, which means that it can represent more than 65,000 unique characters. This is necessary for languages such as Greek, Chinese and Japanese. Many analysts believe that as the software industry becomes increasingly global, Unicode will eventually supplant ASCII as the standard character coding format.

Variant: A variant of a domain name is a modified version of the name in which some of the characters have changed. For example, variants of the domain name include cirà.ca, cirâ.ca, cï and cî

WHOIS:  A generic term used to describe an online directory service that allows people to look up information about Internet domain names. CIRA maintains a WHOIS look-up directory which permits queries to the .CA Registry database to determine the availability of .CA domain names or to view the administrative contact and technical information provided by Registrants who have registered a .CA domain name.