Restricted '.ca' domain opens to Canadian cities

Canada

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has amended its restrictive rules regarding the registration of domain names in the '.ca' top-level domain to allow Canadian municipalities to register their official names as second-level domain names in the form 'municipalname.ca'. A number of municipalities, including Toronto and Winnipeg, have already taken advantage of the new policy.

Previously, municipalities were required to register their name following the cumbersome form 'municipalityclass.municipalname.provincialsubdomain.ca' (eg, 'city.toronto.ontario.ca').

CIRA continues to impose restrictions where the Canadian Geographical Names Database indicates that the same municipal name is shared by a number of cities. In those circumstances, a municipality seeking to register its name at the second level must first obtain the consent of the other listed municipalities. If consent cannot be obtained, the applicant city may only apply to register its name at the fourth level.

The new policy continues to impose restrictions regarding the transfer of domain names incorporating a municipal name. Such transfers cannot be affected without CIRA's prior written consent.

Bradley J Freedman, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Vancouver

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