Overview of .CA WHOIS: Navigating the Canadian Domain Landscape

Each country carves out its own digital territory with a country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). For Canada, this digital territory is marked by the .ca domain. Understanding the .CA WHOIS protocol is essential for anyone looking to navigate Canada’s online landscape, offering insights into domain registrations within this unique digital ecosystem.

Sooner or later, everybody should learn how to check when a domain name was registered, and who is managing it. That’s just one of the things .CA Whois is for, and Canadian businesses and individuals can find it extremely helpful.

The Significance of .CA in Domain Administration

The .CA domain stands as the digital flag for Canada, indicating websites and online services rooted in Canadian soil. Just as a lighthouse guides ships to safety, the .CA domain guides internet users to Canadian digital content. It’s a symbol of trust and authenticity for Canadians and those interested in Canada’s vast cultural and economic offerings.

Who is Eligible to Register .ca Domains?

To register a .ca domain, the registrant must meet specific Canadian presence requirements as defined by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). These requirements ensure that .ca domains are closely tied to Canada and its entities. The following are eligible to register a .ca domain:

  1. Canadian Citizens: Individuals who are citizens of Canada.
  2. Permanent Residents: Individuals who are permanent residents of Canada as defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  3. Legal Representatives: Representatives of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, such as a legal guardian or executor.
  4. Corporations: Corporations registered in Canada.
  5. Trusts: Trusts established in Canada with a majority of trustees being Canadian.
  6. Partnerships: Partnerships registered in Canada where the majority of partners are Canadian.
  7. Associations: Associations established in Canada with a majority of members being Canadian.
  8. Trade Unions: Trade unions recognized by the Canadian Labour Congress.
  9. Political Parties: Official political parties registered in Canada.
  10. Educational Institutions: Educational institutions recognized by provincial legislation, such as universities and colleges.
  11. Libraries, Archives, and Museums (LAMs): LAMs established in Canada.
  12. Hospitals: Hospitals located in Canada and recognized under provincial legislation.
  13. Her Majesty the Queen: This includes registrations on behalf of the Crown.
  14. Aboriginal Peoples: Indigenous peoples (individuals or groups) indigenous to Canada.
  15. Government: Government entities, including federal, provincial, and local governments.
  16. Official Marks: Holders of Canadian official marks registered with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO).

These rules are designed to protect the .ca domain space and ensure it serves the interests of Canadians and Canadian entities. Applicants must provide evidence of their eligibility based on these categories when registering a .ca domain. This policy helps maintain the .ca domain as a Canadian resource and supports CIRA’s mission to create a trusted Canadian online identity.

Understanding ccTLDs

A ccTLD, or Country Code Top-Level Domain, is a two-letter domain extension reserved for a country or territory. These domains are part of the global Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy, allowing countries to establish a distinct digital presence. Examples of ccTLDs include .bg for Bulgaria, .se for Sweden, and .br for Brazil. Each ccTLD is a critical component of the internet’s infrastructure, enabling diverse global online identities.

.CA is one of the most popular ccTLDs with over 3,380,000 registered domains (as of February 2024), according to CIRA’s website.

The Genesis and Governance of .CA

The .CA domain was officially established on May 14, 1987, creating a dedicated digital space for Canada. The domain is organized and managed by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), a non-profit organization responsible for operating the .CA ccTLD. CIRA plays a pivotal role in ensuring the stability and security of Canada’s digital identity, overseeing domain registrations and advocating for a safe and accessible internet within the country.

A Glimpse into Canada

Canada is known for its breathtaking landscapes, multicultural society, and strong economy. It’s a country of innovation, with a commitment to environmental conservation and technological advancement. The .CA domain reflects these national values, providing a platform for Canadian businesses, cultural institutions, and individuals to connect with a global audience.

Toronto Canada, skyline
Photo by James Thomas on Unsplash

The Role of .CA WHOIS

.CA WHOIS is a vital tool for transparency. It allows users to query databases for information about .CA domain registrations. This includes details about domain owners, registration and expiration dates, and contact information. The .CA WHOIS service, regulated by CIRA, adheres to privacy laws, balancing the need for openness with protecting registrants’ personal data.

.CA WHOIS serves multiple stakeholders:

  • Domain Buyers: It provides essential information for those interested in acquiring .CA domains.
  • Legal and Security Professionals: It’s a resource for addressing legal disputes, copyright issues, and security concerns.
  • Researchers and Marketers: It offers insights into the .CA domain landscape.

.CA Whois Example

The .CA domain and its WHOIS protocol are cornerstones of Canada’s digital infrastructure. They not only represent Canada’s identity on the global stage but also ensure the digital space remains transparent, secure, and accessible. As Canada continues to evolve, the .CA domain will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping its digital future, reflecting the country’s values and ambitions in the digital age.

The example above shows a WHOIS record obtain with a Whois API with detailed information about the .ca domain registration, specifically for “canada.ca,” which is managed under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). Here are some key points from the record:

  1. WHOIS Server and Status:
    • The WHOIS server handling the query is “whois.cira.ca,” and the query was “Successfully processed” with a status code “0,” indicating no errors in processing.
    • The domain is “registered,” confirming its active registration status.
  2. GDPR Impact:
    • Several fields, including “whois_raw” and personal contact information for the registrant and admin contacts, are “Disabled due to GDPR.” This reflects adherence to privacy regulations that restrict the public display of personal data.
  3. Domain Information:
    • The domain “canada.ca” was created on “2002-11-25” and is set to expire on “2024-10-16.” This long registration history indicates the domain’s longstanding presence on the internet.
    • The domain’s status includes “clientTransferProhibited” and “clientUpdateProhibited,” indicating restrictions on transferring and updating the domain without proper authorization, enhancing its security.
  4. Registrar and Registrant:
    • The registrar is identified with an organization name “Authentic Web Inc.,” with contact details provided, showcasing the entity responsible for the domain’s registration.
    • The registrant organization is “Shared Services Canada,” indicating that this domain is registered for a Canadian government entity. Specific details like names and addresses are withheld due to GDPR.
  5. Nameservers:
    • A list of nameservers, including “dns2.nrc.ca” and “gocns-kedc.gc.ca,” among others, are provided. These servers are responsible for directing internet traffic to the correct location for “canada.ca,” indicating a robust infrastructure likely to support government online services.
  6. Cached Data:
    • The record indicates that the data was “_cached” with a timestamp, suggesting that this information was stored temporarily for efficiency and might not reflect real-time data. A Live Whois record is likely available as well.
  7. Requests Available:
    • “Requests available: 91” indicates the number of remaining WHOIS queries available to the requester before hitting a limit, a common measure to prevent abuse of the WHOIS system.

This WHOIS record offers a snapshot of the “canada.ca” domain’s registration details, reflecting its official use by the Canadian government and adherence to privacy laws and domain security practices.


Goran Duskic has been the Founder and CEO of WhoAPI Inc. since 2011, a company that specializes in developing APIs, including the well-known Whois API. He started his career in internet entrepreneurship in 2006 and has co-founded several online businesses, including a web hosting company that he later sold. Goran's work primarily involves creating practical API solutions to meet technological needs.