Canadian Internet Registration Authority: History
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The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) (French: Autorité canadienne pour les enregistrements Internet ACEI) is the organization that manages the .ca country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Canada. Its offices are located at 979 Bank Street in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. CIRA sets the policies and agendas that support Canada's Internet community and Canada's involvement in international Internet governance. It is a member-driven organization with membership open to all that hold a .ca domain. As of May 2020, there were more than 2.9 million active .ca domains.

  • cira
  • canada
  • cctld

1. History

1.1. Inception

In May 1987, the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California, delegated the ccTLD to the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver , Canada. The university was named the sponsoring delegation for .ca. John Demco, the university's Computing Facilities Manager for the Department of Computer Science, would be its administrator and technical contact. For ten years, under his leadership, a group of volunteers managed the .ca domain.

In 1997, the Canadian Internet community, part of an evolving and rapidly expanding Internet, wanted changes with the administration of the .ca domain . After its annual conference, it formed the Canadian Domain Names Consultation Committee. After public consultations, the committee's recommendation was to form a private-sector, not-for-profit corporation to administer the .ca domain in Canada.[1]

On 30 December 1998, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority was incorporated, and in an 11 March 1999 letter, the Government of Canada officially recognized CIRA as the authority to manage the .ca domain for Canada. On 9 May 2000, CIRA, the University of British Columbia, and the Government of Canada entered into an Umbrella Agreement that stated: "the .ca domain space should be developed as a key public resource for social and economic development for all Canadians".[2]

On 10 October 2000, Industry Canada sent a letter[3] to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) formally designating CIRA as the Government of Canada's designee for the .ca domain. On 30 November 2000, CIRA sent ICANN a letter[4] requesting a redeligation of the ccTLD .ca domain, effective 1 December 2000. ICANN agreed, and on that day, the ccTLD .ca was redeligated to CIRA, effectively transitioning all .ca domains from UBC to CIRA. By 30 November 2000, it had registered approximately 120,000 .ca domain names.[1]

In March 2001, CIRA initiated the process to elect its first Board of Directors. In May 2001, it opened its offices in Ottawa, Ontario and in June 2001, it held a public election for its initial twelve directors. Its first annual general meeting was held 1 December 2001 in Toronto, Ontario.

1.2. Milestones

In April 2008, CIRA announced that it had surpassed 1 million registered .ca domains. It announced in October 2009, that it would initiate testing for securing the .ca domain space using DNSSEC.

In 2010, CIRA stopped accepting new registrations for third-level domains like "", which prior to CIRA's inception, were imposed on registrants wanting a second-level domain like "", but who could not meet the domain name registry's (UBC) standing requirements. Also in 2010, it announced it had reached 1.5 million registered .ca domains, and it launched a national consultation called the Canadian Internet Forum, designed to engage Canadians on Internet governance and policy.

In 2012, CIRA announced it had already reached 2 million .ca registered domains. That year it launched Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). In 2014, CIRA started a Community Investment Program, and in 2015, launched the Internet Performance Test initiative.

2. Additional Activities

2.1. Security

In September 2012, CIRA held a DNSSEC key signing ceremony, and published its first signed .ca zone file in January 2013. In 2014, it launched its D-Zone DNS firewall and introduced Anycast DNS. A year after its launch, D-Zone was protecting 800,000 users from malware, ransomware and other cyber-attacks in schools, hospitals, municipalities and small businesses across Canada. In June 2016 it announced delivering a white-label Anycast version of D-Zone. In June 2018, CIRA announced a partnership with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, safeguarding K-12 schools by incorporating data from its Project Arachnid into its D-Zone platform.[5]

2.2. Fury

In July 2016, CIRA announced it would be offering its back-end registry service called FURY, to gTLDs and ccTLDs around the world. Its first gTLD was .kiw in October 2016.[6] The first ccTLD would be .sx which went live on FURY in November 2017. In 2019, its second and largest ccTLD .ca was added to the platform, and later it added gTLD .mls.[7][8]

3. Controversy

In March 2006, Clyde Beattie, former chair of the CIRA Board of Directors and Bernard Turcotte, former President and CEO of CIRA sent an open letter to ICANN expressing concerns on ICANN's "accountability", "transparency", and "fair processes".[9]

CIRA has itself invited concerns and controversy by changing the make-up of its Board of Directors, and by removing the reference to "registration" from a clause in its letters patent, allowing it to now go beyond its original mandate by venturing into more lucrative commercial endeavours.[10]

In 2014, Mark Jeftovic, a former CIRA director, and co-founder of easyDNS Technologies Inc, an accredited ICANN domain name registrar, and CIRA certified, sent an open letter[11] to Canada's Industry Minister, the Honorable James Moore. In his letter, he expressed his concerns about CIRA entering the business of managed DNS, while having a monopoly to operate the ccTLD .ca registry. He proposed the registry be opened to a competitive bidding process, in order to operate it under a fixed three to five-year term.[12]

4. Governance

The CIRA board is composed of twelve elected directors and currently, three non-voting board advisors. The board members are elected annually by CIRA members through an online process.

4.1. Board of Directors

The current Board of Directors as of May 2020:[13]

  • Helen McDonald, Chair
  • Tyson Macaulay, Director
  • Ryan Black, Director
  • Matt Gamble, Director
  • Crytal Nett, Director
  • Jill Kowalchuk, Director
  • Andrew Escobar, Director
  • Iris Almeida-Côté, Director
  • Colleen Arnold, Director
  • Rob Villeneuve, Vice-chair
  • Don Bowman, Director
  • Bill Sandford, Director

4.2. Board Advisors

The current Board Advisors as of May 2020:

  • Byron Holland, Board Advisor and President and CEO
  • John Demco, Board Advisor
  • Charles Noir, Board Advisor, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

4.3. Leadership Team

The current Leadership Team as of May 2020:[14]

  • Byron Holland, President and CEO
  • Sanita Aias, Director of human resources
  • Steven Barry, Vice-president of information technology
  • Dave Chiswell, Vice-president, product development
  • Andrew Fraser, Director of sales and support
  • David Fowler, Vice-president, marketing and communications
  • J. Paul Havey, Vice-president, corporate services
  • Jacques Latour, Chief technology officer

The content is sourced from:


  1. "IANA | Report on Request for Redelegation of the .ca Top-Level Domain". 2000-12-01. 
  2. "IANA | Umbrella Agreement Among University of British Columbia, CIRA, and the Government of Canada". 2000-05-09. 
  3. "IANA | Letter from Michael Binder, Industry Canada, to Michael Roberts, ICANN". 2000-10-10. 
  4. "IANA | Letter from Maureen Cubberley, CIRA, to Michael Roberts, ICANN". 2000-11-30. 
  5. GmbH, finanzen net (2018-07-05). "D-Zone DNS Firewall celebrates one year of protecting Canadians | Markets Insider". Retrieved 24 March 2019. 
  6. "CIRA becomes first new gTLD back-end since 2012". DomainIncite. 22 September 2016. Archived from the original on 25 September 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2019. 
  7. "Sint Maarten’s .SX domain registry: Powered by Fury". Canadian Internet Registration Authority. 13 December 2017. Archived from the original on 1 June 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2019. 
  8. ".sx switches from KSRegistry to CIRA's Fury". DomainIncite - Domain Name Industry News, Analysis & Opinion. 13 December 2017. Archived from the original on 1 June 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2019. 
  9. "Open letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)". 2006-03-17. 
  10. Buckler, Grant (2006-02-10). "CIRA votes for change" (in en-US). 
  11. "Dear Industry Canada, Is Now a Good Time to Replace CIRA?" (in en). 2014-06-24. 
  12. "Web registrar says CIRA should face competition to operate dot-ca domain". 25 June 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  13. "Meet the Board" (in en). 
  14. "Leadership team" (in en). 
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