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.CA FAQ - October 12, 2010

On October 12, 2010, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) will release a new version of its domain name registration system and simplify its policies and procedures.

What is CIRA changing?
CIRA is rewriting its domain name registration system – the system that enables Registrars  to communicate with the .CA registry database. CIRA will be replacing its current registry system with an EPP-based system, the de facto industry standard.

CIRA will also be changing some of its policies and procedures for managing information about domain names and the people and organizations that register them.

Why is CIRA changing its registry system?

CIRA has been the registry for the .CA domain name for 10 years. The current registry system is nearly a decade old and is no longer suited to match CIRA’s growth in data and volume of service use. Therefore, it is time for CIRA to invest in the design of quality, well documented and scalable systems to best serve its customers.  

The domain name management system that CIRA is adopting – EPP – is the industry standard.  There are nearly 200 million domain names in the world and the majority of domain name holders and tens of thousands of Registrars use EPP, as it is considered the industry best practice.

CIRA’s policies for registering and managing .CA domain names have also been described as complicated as compared to many other registries. Accordingly, CIRA is simplifying its policies so that they are more user friendly for its customers.

What are the benefits?

On October 12, 2010, CIRA will adopt an EPP-based domain name management system. This system will allow CIRA to continue to offer a safe and secure service, while simplifying and streamlining its policies and procedures. There are nearly 200 million domain names in the world. The majority of domain name holders and tens of thousands of Registrars use a standard approach to domain name registration management – EPP – as it is considered the industry best practice. CIRA’s customers deserve to be part of that group.

How will this affect me and my domain names?
Your domain name will not be affected in any way, nor will it affect the operation of your website or email addresses. For a short period of time leading up to October 12, 2010, there will be a moratorium on certain transactions regarding domain names, such as transfers, registrations, renewals, and cancellations.More information on which transactions are affected, and for how long, is available here cira.ca/ca-faq/.

What are the specific changes to CIRA’s policies and procedures?

The changes to CIRA’s policies and procedures arising out of the new system include the following:

  • Elimination of CIRA user IDs.
  • No longer need to confirm certain transactions with CIRA.
  • Auto-renewal of domain names.
  • CIRA no longer supports new 3rd and 4th level domain names (with the exception of 4th level municipal domain names, and CIRA will provide ‘grandfather’ support to existing 3rd and 4th domain names)

Why is CIRA eliminating CIRA user IDs?

Currently, Registrants have CIRA user IDs and passwords to manage their domain names with CIRA’s registry. These credentials are used to authenticate and approve special requests such as Registrant transfers, Registrar transfers and updates of critical information.

Once CIRA launches the new system, these CIRA IDs will no longer be needed. All transactions will be carried out directly with your Registrar, and you will no longer need to confirm special requests such as Registrant transfers, Registrar transfers and updates of critical information with CIRA.  CIRA will focus on allowing our trusted partners – certified .CA Registrars – to fulfill that role. CIRA will still notify Registrants by email after the above transactions have taken place.

How do I transfer a domain name to another person in the new system?

Currently, in order to transfer a domain name to another person you are required to request your Registrar to initiate a transfer request with CIRA. Once the transfer request is validated and approved by CIRA, the transfer request must then be confirmed with CIRA by you, the new Registrar and the new Registrant within the specified time frame.

Under the new system, you will no longer need to confirm the transfer request with CIRA. You simply need to contact your Registrar, who will then submit the transfer request to CIRA. Once the transfer request is validated and approved, CIRA will update the contact information for the domain name so that the new Registrant is listed as the Registrant. CIRA will notify you, the Registrar, and the new Registrant of the transfer by email. This is done in order to advise the parties of the transfer as well as to provide an alert in case you did not request or authorize the transfer request.

How do I change Registrars in the new system?

Currently, in order to change Registrars you must request the new Registrar to submit a Change of Registrar Request to CIRA. Once validated and approved by CIRA, you are then required to confirm the Change of Registrar Request with CIRA within the time frame specified.  

Under the new system, you will no longer be required to confirm the Change of Registrar Request with CIRA. To change to a new Registrar, you must first obtain the applicable authorization code from your current Registrar. Once you have this authorization code, you then request the new Registrar to initiate a change of Registrar request with CIRA. Once validated and approved by CIRA, the new Registrar will be identified as your Registrar. Your domain name registration will also be extended by one year, up to a maximum of 10 years, and you will receive an email notifying you of the Change of Registrar.

How do I change the mailing address or email address of my Administrative Contact in the new system?

Currently, in order to change the mailing address of your Administrative Contact, or any other information which is defined as “critical information” by CIRA, you are required to contact your Registrar and have them submit the request to CIRA to change the information. Once validated and approved by CIRA, you are then required to confirm the changes with CIRA within the time frame specified. In order to change the email address of your Administrative Contact, you are required to fill out and have your Registrar submit to CIRA the Manual Change of Administrative Contact email form.

Under the new system, you will no longer be required to confirm critical changes with CIRA, or to submit the Manual Change of Administrative Contact email form. All these changes will be done through your Registrar. Once completed, CIRA will send you an email notifying you of the changes.   

How will Domain Names be auto-renewed in the new system?

Currently, domain names must be renewed prior their expiry. A domain name can be renewed at any time for a period of one to nine years, up to a maximum of 10 years. If a domain name is not renewed at its expiry date, it becomes suspended for 30 days. A Registrant may reactivate the domain name by renewing it during this suspension period. If the Registrant does not reactivate the domain name, it will then be cancelled and made available to others for registration.

Under the new system, domain names can still be renewed at any time for a period of one to nine years, up to a maximum of 10 years. However, at the expiry date, domain names are automatically renewed for one year. In other words, unless you indicate otherwise, domain names will automatically be renewed for one year on an annual basis and you will not have to go through the renewals process every year. When your domain name is auto-renewed, your Registrar is debited the applicable fee in its CIRA account. It is important to note that your Registrar must have sufficient money in its account to pay for the auto-renewal. If your Registrar does not have sufficient money in its account to pay for the auto-renewal, your domain name will not be renewed.

What happens if I don’t wish to keep a domain name that has been auto-renewed?

Once a domain name has been auto-renewed, there is then a 45-day grace period called the Auto-Renew Grace Period where a Registrar can delete the domain name and obtain a refund of the fee charged by CIRA. If you do not wish to keep a domain name that has been auto-renewed, instruct your Registrar to delete it during the 45-day Auto-Renew Grace Period.

What happens if my Registrar accidently deletes my domain name during the Auto-Renew 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 the Grace Redemption Period, your domain name is suspended which means that it does not resolve to your website. If your Registrar accidently deletes your domain name during the Auto-Renew Grace Period, simply instruct your Registrar to redeem the domain name, but make sure it’s done within the 30-day Grace Redemption Period.

What happens if my Registrar does not have enough money in its account to pay for the auto-renewal?

If your Registrar does not have enough money in its account to pay for the auto-renewal, your domain name will not be renewed. Instead, your domain name will be deleted and will go into the Grace Redemption Period. In this case, you can transfer your domain name to another Registrar and redeem it so that the domain name is renewed. You can also ask your current Registrar to redeem the domain name assuming the Registrar now has enough money in its account to pay for the auto-renewal.

Can you provide a diagram showing the differences in the lifecycle of a domain name under the current system as compared to the new system?

Yes, see the two diagrams below:

Current System

Current System

 

New System

New System

What has CIRA done to ensure that Registrars are able to provide services under the new system?

CIRA will continue to ensure that Registrars fulfill their agreement to provide quality and secure service to Registrants. To ensure .CA Registrants continue to receive a high level of customer service, CIRA has introduced a mandatory technical and policy accreditation process for Registrars who register .CA domain names.

How has the new registry affected the To Be Released (TBR) Domain Names system?

The lifecycle of a .CA domain name has changed to conform to industry best practices under the new .CA registry.

Domain names not claimed during a given TBR session are transferred to the registry for deletion. Domain names transferred from TBR to the registry enter a lifecycle stage referred to as Pending Delete which lasts for 24 hours. After this 24 hour period, the domain names are deleted in the registry and become available for re-registration. CIRA’s domain name lifecycle implementation is reviewed and revised with consideration of evolving industry best practices on an annual basis.

What are 3rd and 4th level domain names?

The majority of domain names registered with CIRA are 2nd level domain names. This consists of the name – dot – extension. An example of a 2nd level domain name would be cat.ca.

A 3rd level domain name consists of the name – dot –province – dot – extension. An example of a 3rd level domain name would be cat.on.ca, or cat.bc.ca, or cat.qc.ca.

A 4th level domain name consists of the name – dot – city – province – dot – extension. An example of a 4th level domain name would be cat.ottawa.on.ca, or cat.toronto.on.ca.

Why does CIRA have 3rd and 4th level Domain Names?

Prior to the formation of CIRA, the .CA domain name registry was originally handled by the University of British Columbia (UBC). Under the UBC system, the rules were stricter and Registrants were only allowed to register a 2nd level domain name (e.g. cat.ca) if they operated a company that had physical locations in multiple provinces. Domain name levels were used to define the operational scope of the company that registered the domain name. For example, if a company had an office in Ontario, but no offices in other provinces, it was only allowed to register a domain name at the 3rd level (cat.on.ca, or cat.qc.ca). When CIRA took over the .CA domain name registry in 2000, this restriction was lifted such that any Registrant who met CIRA’s Canadian Presence Requirements could register a 2nd level domain name.  

Why is CIRA no longer supporting new 3rd and 4th level domain names? 

CIRA has found that there is very little market demand for 3rd and 4th level domain names. For example, last year 3rd and 4th level domain names represented less than 0.68 per cent of total new domain name registrations.

Allowing new 3rd and 4th level domain names requires that CIRA continue to support the “Registration of Conflicting Domain Names” policy. This policy, which provides a mechanism for requesting 2nd level domain names when they exist at the 3rd level, is complicated and expensive to support, both for CIRA and Registrars. It was decided by CIRA, in consultation with its Registrars, that it was not worth building the technical infrastructure to support new 3rd and 4th level domain names.

Please note that CIRA will grandfather and continue to support existing 3rd and 4th level domain names. Existing 3rd and 4th level domain names will continue to be registered until they are deleted by the Registrant. CIRA will also continue to support existing and new 4th level municipal domain names as these involve a manual process for CIRA and its Registrars.    

Do I have to do anything?
No. CIRA will continue to send important notifications to you when certain transactions to your domain names have taken place such as transfers. However, in the new system, you will be required to do less with CIRA to manage your domain names.