Giving .ca a French accent

Canadian businesses, organizations and individuals can now register their .ca Internet domains in both of the country’s official languages following a decision by the Canadian International Registration Authority to support all French characters in domain names using the .ca suffix.

On Sunday, CIRA added 16 new characters that can now be used to create a .ca domain in French. Previously, the only characters that could be used in a .ca domain name were the letters A to Z, the number 0 to 9 and hyphens.

With the new development, French .ca domain names can now be spelled with the language’s full range of characters and ligatures such as: é, ë, ê, è, â, à, æ, ô, œ, ù, û, ü, ç, î, ï, ÿ.

“This is great news for owners of .ca domains and their web site visitors because it means that domain names can precisely match names, businesses and trademarks,” said Bryan Holand, president and CEO of CIRA, which manages the .ca Internet domain.

Implementing French-language characters, according to the registration body, was more challenging and complex that it may appear.

For example, the domain pré could have 62 different variations depending on the choice of characters used. CIRA had to develop a number of new policies and procedures to keep the process simple and straightforward.

Under the new systems, whoever registers, or has already registered, a specific domain, is automatically granted an exclusive right to register all of its variants, but is under no obligation to do so. For example, only the owner of will have the right to register cï and cî

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