The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has determined that no characters other than a combination of the following characters may be included in a domain name Registration:
- Letters a through z (no accents of any kind will be accepted). Note: domain names are not case sensitive. This means there will be no distinction made between upper case letters and lower case letters (A = a);
- The numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and-or 9;
- The hyphen character (although it cannot be used to start or end a domain name).
As of 2013, the .CA registry, CIRA, began offering domains with accented French characters – IDNs, or internationalized domain names.
CIRA is offering .CA domains with IDNs in bundles: they are tied to the non-IDN (ASCII) domain, and include every accented character variation. For example, “cafe.ca” includes “café.ca”, “cafè.ca”, “cafë.ca”, “càfe.ca”, “çafe.ca”, etc. Being the registrant of one of these domains grants you the exclusive right to register the variations of this domain. Any IDN variations must have the same registrant and registrar, and cannot be separated from the bundle.
IDN domains can be registered separately, if the non-IDN domain isn’t already registered. For example,“café.ca” could be registered if “cafe.ca” was not registered – you do not have to register the non-IDN by default. Registering the available IDN domain, as with the non-IDN domain, grants exclusive rights to all IDN variations of the domain.