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French accent domains coming to .ca registry

By Julie King |

Canadian organizations are now be able to register .ca domain names with any French character, enabling them to display their names correctly in both English and French.

The process CIRA is using to handle French accent variants involves having an administrative bundle for each .ca domain, which contains every possible variation of that name using French characters.

If a domain name includes any of the seven letters that can have a diacritic mark (a,e,i,o,u,y or c), the administrative bundle will hold in reserve every possible variant using those letters with accents (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ).

For example, the domain bundle for will include,,, and all other possibilities.

Here are some quick facts about this new .ca domain name registration option:

  • The ability to register French character variants of a .ca domain came into effect on January 13, 2013.
  • You need to register the variations that you wish to use for them to become active. (By default they are available, but not active.)
  • You can now elect to register just the French version of a .ca domain.
  • Existing .ca domain owners do not need to do anything to reserve their right to be able to register variants; there is no risk of losing a variation of your domain to another organization as the new system rolls out.
  • To register a French variant, you have to go through your domain registrar. Not all registrars are electing to allow French accent registrations.
  • Not all browsers will correctly display the domain. For example might display correctly in one browser, yet show as in another browser.

If you have an existing .ca domain and would like to activate French variants in your administrative bundle, you will need to determine whether your current registrar is going to accept registration of French accent domains.

CIRA notes that a domain and its variants must be registered by the same Registrant. If you choose to move one domain to a different registrant you must move all of the other domains that you have activated in your bundle as well.

This can get a bit tricky, as the transfer of each variant must be done individually, so the move to a new Registrar will only take place if you initiate the transfer for all. If this process is not done within five days, the transfer will be cancelled.

If you are planning on changing Registrars, it would be simpler to move the single domain first and then begin the process of registering variants of your domain.

For more information on these changes visit

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