Registration Overview

The Canadian domain landscape is changing. The .ca registry, once run by a co-operative under the University of British Columbia, is being transitioned to a new, non-profit corporation (CIRA) on November 1, 2000. At that point, registrars across Canada will be competing to offer .ca names to their clients. is one such registrar.

As a result of this registry change, all existing .ca registrants must "pre-register" their existing names with the new authority (CIRA), through an accredited registrar. Tucows is now offering pre-registration through our domain resellers.

Registrants in the .ca namespace risk losing their names after 12/01/00 if they do not "pre-register" them.

"Pre-registration" officially begins Monday, 09/18/00.


During the pre-registration process you can choose one of the following:

a) pre-registration of an existing second level domain name
b) pre-registration of an existing third level domain without upgrade
c) pre-registration of an existing third or fourth domain with upgrade keeping the old name
d) pre-registration of an existing third or fourth level domain with upgrade releasing the old name

Advance Registrations

On or around 11/01/00 (date still tentative), CIRA will begin accepting new .ca registrations, under much less stringent registration restrictions. Previously, .ca registrants were only allowed one registration per individual/organization, and there were further rules restricting access to the .ca space to federally incorporated organizations. is now accepting advance registration requests for new .ca domain name. These requests will be kept in a queue until November 1, 2000, at which point CIRA will open its systems to the registrars' advance registration queues.

Essentially, the only restrictions for new .ca registrations are that the registrant must be any of the following:

  • Canadian citizens / Permanent Canadian resident or legal representative of aforementioned

  • Canadian corporations, trusts, partnerships. and associations

Upgrading Third and Fourth Level Domains

Registrants with existing third or fourth level names can choose to upgrade to second level name during the pre-registration process. The following are CIRA rules:

An EXISTING REGISTRANT may request an upgrade of a third or fourth level EXISTING REGISTRATION to a second level .ca Domain Name (for example to prior to OTD (November 1, 2000).

A request for an upgrade will only be approved if:

  • the EXISTING REGISTRATION existed in the .ca Registry operated by UBC in August 1, 2000; and

  • the requested Domain Name is not in conflict with any other Domain Names in the .ca Registry at any level. (For example, if there are EXISTING REGISTRATIONS of and, neither EXISTING REGISTRANT would be permitted to upgrade to the

Registrants also have the option of simply renewing a third or fourth level name and not upgrade. Additionally, registrants have the option to discard the original third or fourth level domain name and only request the upgrade.

Registration Process

During the registration process, CIRA will email the administrative contact of the domain to confirm the application is correct and the registrant accepts the terms and conditions of the agreement. The administrative contact will have 48 hours to visit the CIRA site to confirm the registration and accept the registration and accept their terms and conditions. 

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