CIRA Internet Factbook 2016


The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) manages the .CA top-level domain, supports the development of Canada’s Internet community, and represents the .CA registry internationally. With 2.5 million domain names under management, .CA continues to be one of the fastest growing country code top-level domains in the world.

The sixth annual CIRA Factbook tracks global and domestic trends in Internet growth and use. Within these pages, you can discover how Canadians use the Internet, where .CA ranks in the rapidly-changing domain market, and information about the ever-changing world of digital security.

Data presented in the 2016 Factbook shows that Canadians continue to be among the most avid Internet users in the world. The way Canadians access the Internet is changing. Although many still use a laptop or desktop device for traditional online activities such as banking and email, more and more are shifting to mobile devices to engage in social media and to stream audio and video. Age also matters. Younger adult Canadians are more likely to use smartphones and tablets and less likely to subscribe to traditional cable as a means of consuming content than older Canadians.

It’s an exciting time in the domain space. Within the last year, the domain market has experienced an unprecedented shift. The emergence of more than a thousand new domains -- including .xyz, .top and .wang, -- has shaken the market. Investors in Asia have started looking to the booming domain market as a hedge to traditional investments. This has led to a surge in domain registrations, garnering momentum for the world’s most popular domain, .com, while triggering rapid sales and resales in the new gTLD space.

We hope the charts and data points in the pages that follow help to inform and engage readers on the Canadian Internet, offering a glimpse at the integral role the Internet plays in the lives and livelihoods of Canadians.

A message from CIRA’s president and CEO

Our annual Internet Factbook is an opportunity for us to take a step back and remind ourselves of the important changes that are affecting our market. CIRA’s core product – .CA – maintains a strong position in the Canadian Internet landscape. Tracking the growth of new gTLDs and continuing to evolve our understanding how Canadians use the Internet is critical to keeping our work aligned with our customers’ needs. We need to ensure that we remain at the forefront of this rapidly changing industry.

CIRA’s approach is driven by our hope that digital technology can have a transformative effect on Canadian and global communities. Seeing the massive growth in connections in developing countries is motivating, and tracking persistent digital and economic divides drives us to develop and build programs that will help connect the next billion Internet users.

In recognition of the changing cybersecurity threats that Internet users are facing, this year’s report has a special chapter looking at how Canadians understand this risk and some of the implications for governments, companies, and non-profits.

Data helps us understand how our world is changing and we hope that our Factbook helps you stay informed on how digital technology is transforming how we engage and interact online.

-Byron Holland

About this report

CIRA’s Internet Factbook is produced with data collected from a study by the Strategic Counsel as part of CIRA’s annual Internet Tracking study. Data were collected using an online panel methodology. A total of n=1,200 adult Canadian Internet users and n=350 SME decision-makers completed an online survey in February, 2016.

Additional data on Canada’s Internet and trends in digital behaviour can be downloaded at

About CIRA

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) manages the .CA top-level domain on behalf of all Canadians. A Member-based organization, CIRA also develops and implements policies that support Canada’s Internet community, and represents the .CA registry internationally