The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has announced that registrants will be able to register .CA domain names comprising accented French characters beginning January 13, 2012. CIRA is introducing support for the full range of French characters, such as é, û, à, ç, ë.

Every French character variant of a registered .CA domain name will automatically become part of an administrative bundle. For example, the bundle for montreal.ca would include montréal.ca, and the bundle for celinedion.ca would include célinedion.ca.

Once a domain name is registered, all the variants of that domain name in the administrative bundle will be automatically reserved, and will only be available to that registrant. Third parties cannot register the variants so the introduction of French characters should not open the floodgates for cybersquatters. So, for example, the registrant of montreal.ca is the only registrant entitled to register montréal.ca, and other variants such as montreàl.ca, montreâl.ca. If the registrant wishes to use a French variant of its registered .CA domain name, it will need to register that variant, but no action is required to block others from registering it. As such, trademark owners that have registered one .CA domain name will not need to protect or police all French characters variants of that registered domain name because all the variants will be reserved for that registrant. That said, each variant within a bundle that the registrant wants to use will have to be registered separately, and each registered domain name in the administrative bundle will have its own lifecycle. All domain names within an administrative bundle will have to be registered to the same registrant and with the same registrar.