CIRA History

In Canada and around the world, CIRA is closely associated with the .CA domain. CIRA was incorporated in December 1998 and became the official .CA registry on December 1, 2000. But .CA’s history pre-dates CIRA’s.

Who was responsible for registering the .CA domain before CIRA?

From 1987 to November 2000, .CA domain names were assigned and registered by a group of volunteers headed by John Demco, former Computing Facilities Manager for the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC). UBC provided the technical and administrative resources to house and operate the registry.

The Framework for the administration of the .CA domain name system laid the foundation for the transition of the .CA registry from UBC and the creation of CIRA. Governed by an elected board, 12 directors and three non-voting board advisors are responsible for managing the business and affairs of the .CA domain. When CIRA took over the management of the .CA domain, there were some 60,000 names registered. There are now more than 2.5 million .CA domain names.

Not only has the .CA registry grown and changed dramatically in CIRA’s 15 year history, but so too has the Internet.

After years of explosive growth, the domain industry is now maturing, and focus is increasingly on offering a safe and trusted domain experience for Internet users in Canada and around the world, as CIRA applies its expertise in DNS and registry operations to help build a better online Canada.

Achievements of CIRA and .CA

A timeline of CIRA's milestones

In recent years, CIRA has been very active in the Canadian Internet community:

  • In 2008, CIRA celebrated one million .CA domains registered, an indication that CIRA is among the world’s leading ccTLDs.
  • In October 2010, CIRA simplified the process to register and manage .CA domain names, and launched a new registry system.
  • In February 2011, CIRA launched its first ever Canadian Internet Forum (CIF), a national discussion about Canada’s Internet future. This marks the first time CIRA has engaged in dialogue with Canadians about issues of Internet governance and policy.
  • In 2012, CIRA celebrated 25 years of .CA and launched Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) – domain names containing French accented characters.
  • In May 2014, the Community Investment Program (CIP) was founded. This program gives back by funding innovative community projects to build a stronger, safer and more accessible Internet for all Canadians.
  • 2015 was also a big year. CIRA launched Registry Lock, a service that provides an extra layer of security against domain name hijacking, and D-Zone Anycast DNS (D-Zone), a secondary Anycast DNS service that improves performance, increases resilience and helps to mitigate DDoS attacks.
  • Most recently, CIRA's greatest milestone has been hitting 2.5 million registered domains and signing .kiwi as the first customer on the Fury Registry Platform, also known as .CA 3.0