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Legal Guide


Canada’s country code top level domain is “.ca”. Registrations for .ca domain names are administered by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (“CIRA”). In order to secure the registration of a .ca domain, the Canadian Presence Requirements established by CIRA must be satisfied. Only certain specified individuals and entities are permitted to apply to CIRA (through a CIRA certified registrar) for the registration of, and to hold and maintain the registration of, a .ca domain name.

These specified individuals and entities include: 

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident (or legal representative);
  • A corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada or any province or territory of Canada;

  • A partnership registered under the laws of any province or territory of Canada (more than 66 percent of whose partners meet one of the preceding requirements);

  • Certain associations, trade unions and political parties; and

  • The owner of a trade-mark registered in Canada (in this case, registration is limited to a .ca domain name consisting of, or including, the exact word component of the registered trade-mark).

Where an entity does not have any physical connection to Canada, one of the most effective ways for it to secure a .ca top level domain name is for the entity to secure a trade-mark registration for the mark that will comprise the Internet domain name. Because of the relatively low cost of securing and maintaining a .ca domain name registration, it may be wise to secure a .ca domain name registration, if possible, rather than risk that the domain name will subsequently be unavailable. An up-to-date list of CIRA-certified registrars can be obtained at the CIRA website located at www.cira.ca. The .ca top level domain is often used by Canadians searching the Internet for information, services, products and prices specific to the Canadian market and/or in Canadian dollars.

In June 2008, CIRA released the CIRA Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("CDRP") which has been updated as recently as August 2011. The policy provides for mandatory arbitration of disputes relating to .ca domain name registrations. It is intended to be a relatively low-cost and quickadministrative process for cases where apparently bad faith .ca domain name registrations can be adjudicated. 
The process is not binding upon the courts and recourse to formal legal proceedings remains available for bad faith registration and other domain name related disputes. While the spirit of the CDRP is the same as the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) which governs .com, .net, .org and other top-level domain disputes, there are several procedural and substantive differences between the CDRP and the UDRP.

Other top level domains such as .com, .net, .org and .biz are available as well to Canadian businesses and foreign businesses operating in Canada. Registration of those domain names must be done through the appropriate registrar or registration authority.

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