Canadians – dem not like the rest of us I tell you

Novel approach to domain name disputes? Or lunacy?

Canada torches all .ca domain names - owners must reapply

Don't forget that Canada is about the only country which has all the makings of a civil war (Quebec versus the rest of Canada) but instead of going to war people just shout at the politicians & write letters to newspapers.

Canadians in general put up with rules provided by governments a little more than Americans do. Less of 'we have the right' attitude. My own organisation happily reregistered. Also, our country also has unlimited local phone calls, not just the U.S.

Anyway, thanks for an interesting article. The Register is always one of my 'must read' internet sites. I may not agree with The Register but at least saying something is better than sitting on the fence.


If you thought the Canadians were crazy to can their existing domain registration policy, look at what we have in India. Here the local .in authority has sanctioned a new series where you can register a domain, the only problem is you need to suffix a two digit number at least with the ind bit. That would mean a and not As it is, is a bit of a mouthful.

Shyam Somanadh

I own a .ca domain, and under less than accurate pretences I might add. I'd be pleased that you not publish this fact, since it would ruin my chance to discover whether the new system is any better at weeding out people like me.

To the betterment of your copy, no doubt, you have badly misunderstood the logic of the existing Canadian system.

Under the existing system, the domains are administered free of charge mostly by local universities. For western Canada, the University of British Columbia has fulfilled this role on a basis not so different from Jon Postel, which as a Brit you should appreciate, since the system under the Postel regime was decidedly un-American.

Everyone in Canada is entitled to a domain at no annual cost. The only issue is whether you are entitled to a root subdomain or a hicksville domain. Since I operate a ******* in the province of British Columbia, I am entitled to ****** Lacking provincial status, I would probably be stuck with
*****, merely by residing in the municipality of Saanich.

What the old system fails to recognise is that the rest of the world is even less interested in the correct spelling of Saanich than I am in the correct pronunciation of Greenwich.

The old rules did not require me to be federally incorporated. What was required was a business presence in more than one province, such that neither ****** nor ****** was a sufficient umbrella. Perhaps they envisioned this in terms of bricks and brass lettering. But hey, the world changes.

The old registration system worked because no one knew how it worked. Only a small number of people in the ISP business had the necessary contacts with the registration offices and information about what you could get away with did not circulate widely. Sooner or later the professional domain campers were bound to appear. Imagine volunteers running out of CS departments at local universities armed with pea shooters confronting malaria season after a spring flood.

So what was to be done? Grant entitlement status to all the scammers like myself on the basis of what we had wheedled from a petty functionary operating in a spirit of civic duty with neither a mandate nor the authority to enforce one?

As I see it, the new system has nothing to knock against it. What they have done is created, at long last, a registration process which does have a mandate and the proper authority to enforce it, and required those who hold existing claims under the previous, rather lax regime to re-apply to the same standards which were already required in the first place.

And I'm certainly not paying for something twice. I never paid for my original registration in the first place, nor anything at all for the years I've operated it. The Canadian government wishes to deprive me of something I obtained for free by penning in a few white lies on a simple one-page application form screened by a petty functionary with no authority. How may I join the NRA?

Neither have they granted the large and powerful trademark holders a priority over my existing dubious claim. I'm only required to meet the rule that as a owner of a top level .ca subdomain I have a legitimate claim to operating in more than a single province. I doubt the large company operating under my surname is very impressed with this. However, under the rules in effect the magnitude of their claim is of no concern or threat to me. One guy who responds to his e-mail and takes on a project under our joint identity will probably allow me to slip under the bar once again.

Since this confession leaves me somewhat vulnerable to having my eye plucked out and swallowed, I might add that I obtained this domain with the intent of using it to promote and give away an open source toolkit which I am in the process of developing. If they someday manage to think in less geographical terms, I might ultimately enjoy a legitimate entitlement. That an enterprise such as mine generates no revenue is not likely to be viewed as a liability since it upholds a venerated Canadian tradition dating back at least as far the Hudson's Bay company.

Strange how you pretend to fear that the Americans would copy this nonsense when they already have such a fine system in their own national character under the auspices of ICANN.


Until now, the University of British Columbia was doing all domain name registrations for free. As you can imagine, the volunteer work got a bit heavy. I believe that this was the primary motivation for the move to commercial domain name registration - not, as you suggest, domain name disputes. Although that may have added to the motivation.


As an owner of a .ca domain, I would rather be given the choice of choosing my registrar than being dictated a registrar by an automatic switch over. It took me less than half an hour to do it and it still costs less than registering a .com domain.

only allowed to register a .ca domain if you were a federal company or owned the trademark

This is a little misleading. You can register for sub-level domains e.g without being federally incorporated.

Anyway, it may seem strange to you, but I found the process relatively straightforward. You also claim that the re-registration process was initiated to settle URL disputes, to my knowledge the re-registration was done to hand over the management of the .ca domain from a non-profit volunteer based organisation to commercial registrars.

Just thought you might like to know,

Darrel Miller

The whole affair is a big mess. Part of the reason many people did not re-register is simply because they do not know they have to!! I have been talking to a few ISPs and they decided it is not their responsibility to inform their clients!

This is how it works. CIRA sends out an email to the owner (if their e-mail is different than what they have now, too bad) and the other goes to the technical contact (the ISP or webhost). In many cases, only the technical contact gets the email and not the actual owner (because their contact info has changed since it was first created). Apparently, there are a number of lawyers cashing in on this now!

I can go on and on about this because I am sooooo upset over the whole thing.

Roger Villeneuve

If you only knew how desperately Canada needs to turf the current federal government.

This bull... is just typical.



The real issue is that we were told by the old registrars that we would NOT be charged to re-register.

We are now charged about $40 a domain, per year. A typical 2 year registration, with fees from one of the approved "registration agencies" is $96.97. I know, as I just did some.

BTW, you could always register a domain, but unless a national org it had to be in the province/country format. So we used to be Now we are allowed to register $5 charge for the change, of course!

With our best regards,

Maurice W. Hilarius

It gets even better - check out the Registrant Agreement that they want you to sign before they'll accept your domain renewal. It's located at


Twenty four pages of legal mumbo jumbo that includes nifty little things like indemnifications of third parties for all their costs and a bunch of "at the sole discretion of CIRA" parts.

Great fun! I wonder if delays involved in getting your lawyer to approve the agreement are playing any role in the relatively slow renewal rate?


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