Last year CIRA started talks on the possibility of creating IDN domains with the .ca extension to accommodate the french language, which is one of the two official languages of Canada. French is spoken as a first language by millions of Canadians, most of whom live in Quebec.
The first round of consultations is complete, and the results are posted on their site (link below).
CIRA has now made changes to their IDN proposal based on the feedback received, and these changes can also be seen on their site. I read through the changes and I like them at first glance. Basically they will treat IDN registrations like they used to treat provincial codes. For example, if you owned Money.ca, no one could register Money.qc.ca or Money.bc.ca and so on without your approval. The same thing will go with IDN's, for example if you own celebrite.ca, no one can register célébrité.ca, célébrite.ca or celébrité.ca without your permission. Any letters with possible accents are therefore protected in domains you already own. I don't know how they will do this, because there are so many possibilities for accent combinations, but I'm sure it's possible.
This also means I don't have to go out and re-register all my french domains with the proper accents in order to protect them, though I will do this for at least some of them. I'm interested to see if they will get more traffic with the correct IDN version, or better search engine placement. From my research, many french users do use accents when searching on the net and typing in domains.
Here is the info from CIRA:
Last fall, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) invited you to participate in a consultation about our proposed implementation of French characters (also known as Internationalized Domain Names, or IDNs) in .CA domain names.
That first phase of our consultation has now closed. Based on this feedback from .CA holders, Members and other stakeholders, CIRA has revised its proposal for launching IDNs.
We are now inviting you to read our revised proposed policy and share your thoughts on some of the changes we've made in this final round of consultation at idnconsultation.ca.
This next round of consultations ends Feb 24, so if you have any comments there is just under a month left to submit them.