Rescinded [2011-09-28] - Common Look and Feel Standards for the Internet, Part 1: Standard on Web Addresses
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This standard comes into effect on January 1, 2007, and replaces the following Treasury Board Common Look and Feel Standards and Guidelines for Internet :
- Standard 3.1 - Domain Names; and
- Standard 7.1 - Domain Names.
This standard applies to institutions listed in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act .
The institutions in question must also apply the following policy instruments:
- Common Look and Feel Standards for the Internet, Part 2: Standard on the Accessibility, Interoperability and Usability of Web sites ;
- Common Look and Feel Standards for the Internet, Part 3: Standard on Common Web Page Formats ; and
- Common Look and Feel Standards for the Internet, Part 4: Standard on Email
Institutions must also respect the obligations set out in the Directive on the Use of Official Languages on Web Sites and in Appendix A of the Federal Identity Program policy.
Registration and promotion of sites in the gc.ca sub domain contributes to greater awareness and recognition of the government's unique sub domain and reassures site visitors that the content they are viewing and the services they are accessing online can be trusted.
Private individuals or entities have in the past registered domain names on Internet top-level domains that might reasonably be attributed to Government of Canada institutions. This situation may create confusion for Web site visitors and prevent legitimate access to government programs and services.
Deputy heads are accountable for implementing this standard in their institutions.
1. Domain names
Appropriate management of domain names is required to prevent confusion for Web site clients and promote legitimate access to government programs and services.
To help protect the unique identity and integrity of Government of Canada Web sites, the institution must register and maintain the registrations for its domain names in the gc.ca sub domain and, where required based on a risk-based assessment, any domain names that include its title and abbreviation in commonly used Internet top-level domains.
For multi-department sites, such as portals, gateways and clusters involving only Government of Canada partners, the lead institution must register and maintain the registrations of the name or abbreviation of the initiative in the gc.ca sub domain and, where feasible, in commonly used Internet top-level domains.
For collaborative sites, such as portals, gateways and clusters involving non-Government of Canada partners, the level of participation of various institutions and organizations determines whether an address in the gc.ca sub domain is warranted and, if so, the lead institution must register and maintain the registrations of the name or abbreviation of the initiative in an appropriate top-level domain and, where feasible, in other commonly used Internet top-level domains.
The institution must use only its domain names registered in the gc.ca sub domain for the purposes of advertising, marketing and promotion. In exceptional circumstances, a non-gc.ca address may be used, provided the authorization is obtained via the usual communications approval process in the institution.
Direction on the official languages obligations with regards to domain names is provided in the Directive on the Use of Official Languages on Web Sites and Appendix A to the Federal Identity Program policy establishes the order of elements. Instructions on registering domain names in the gc.ca sub domain are available from the GC.CA Domain Name Registrar.
1.1.2 Additional Web addresses
The institution will facilitate the public's access to its Web sites by registering more intuitive addresses to supplement the existing address as specified by the Directive on the Use of Official Languages on Web Sites. For example, www.tbs-sct.gc.ca would meet the requirements of 184.108.40.206 and www.TreasuryBoardSecretariat.gc.ca and www. SecretariatduConseilduTresor.gc.ca would meet the requirements of 220.127.116.11. These unilingual addresses must resolve to the main menu page in the language used in the address.
Where a private individual or entity has registered a domain name with apparent bad-faith intent, the institution shall conduct a risk-based analysis to determine if it is appropriate to pursue the cybersquatter using the established redress provisions of the governing body that oversees the Internet domain in question.
2. Page addresses
The institution gives equal treatment to both official languages when naming folders and files that appear in Universal Resource Locators (URLs) and when displaying the content of query strings in URLs that are dynamically generated by such applications as ASP (Active Server Pages).
Where an institution is not deploying two distinct navigation structures based on official languages, it must include a suffix on the filename and choose from the following naming options for directories, sub directories and filenames:
- one word spelled the same in both official languages (for example, /options/ that could have menu-eng.htm and menu-fra.htm within it);
- naming with both official languages (for example, /links-liens/ that could have fip-pcim-eng.html and pcim-fip-fra.html files within it); and
- language neutral, such as numbers (for example, /100/ that could have 123-eng.htm and 123-fra.htm within it); alphabetic characters (for example, /aaa/ that could have abc-eng.htm and abc-fra.htm within it) or an alphanumeric combination (for example, /10aa1/ that could have 34de1-eng.htm and 34de1-fra.htm within it).
The suffix must reflect the three-letter ISO 639_2/T code for the representation of names of languages. Refer to ISO 639_2/T for the Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages.
For pages in languages other than English and French, an institution must either deploy an additional distinct language structure or use a language neutral filename with suffix structure.
Where an institution chooses option b), the order in which the languages appear is determined by the location of the office or facility providing the service, as prescribed by Appendix A of the Federal Identity Program policy.
It is acknowledged that the query language portion displayed in some URL paths that are dynamically generated could require significant programming effort to comply with this requirement. Where feasible, this portion of the URL must follow the naming options above.
Monitoring and reporting
Consistent with the requirements above, deputy heads will monitor adherence to this standard within their departments, taking direction from Treasury Board's Active Monitoring Policy, Evaluation Policy and Policy on Internal Audit.
At a minimum, the institution assesses the following:
- registration of institution title and abbreviations on the gc.ca sub domain and Internet top-level domains; and
- application of a bilingual naming convention for Web page addresses.
The Treasury Board Secretariat will monitor compliance with all aspects of this standard in a variety of ways, including but not limited to assessments under the Management Accountability Framework, examinations of Treasury Board Submissions, Departmental Performance Reports and results of audits, evaluations and studies.
With respect to the Office of the Auditor General, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, the deputy head of the institution is solely responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with these standards within their organizations, as well as for responding to cases of non-compliance in accordance with any Treasury Board instruments that address the management of compliance.
Deputy Heads are responsible for addressing significant issues that arise regarding compliance and ensure appropriate remedial actions are taken to address these issues commensurate with the specific nature of the failure.
Consequences of non-compliance can include informal follow-ups and requests from the Treasury Board Secretariat, external audits and formal direction on corrective measures.
Authority to amend
The Treasury Board of Canada delegates to the President of the Treasury Board the power to amend, revoke or add to the approved Common Look and Feel Standards for the Internet. Treasury Board is to be kept informed of updates and amendments.
Requests for exemption
The Treasury Board of Canada delegates to the President of the Treasury Board the power to grant exemptions from the Common Look and Feel Standards for the Internet. The minister presiding over the institution may apply in writing to the President of the Treasury Board for an exemption from one or more requirements of this standard. The application must consist of a detailed rationale and risk analysis for exemption from each requirement.
For more information, please contact:
Common Look and Feel Office
Information Technology Division
Chief Information Officer Branch
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
2745 Iris Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R5
Toll free: 877-636-0656
Teletypewriter: 613-957-9090 (TBS)
- Canadian Internet Registration Authority (Autorité canadienne pour les enregistrements Internet)
- The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is a
non-profit Canadian corporation responsible for operating the .ca
country code top-level domain.
Government of Canada institutions do not, as a rule, register directly under the .ca domain name but register their domain names in the gc.ca sub domain with the Department of Public Works and Government Services of Canada registry that is accessible at registry.gc.ca.
- Cybersquatter (cybersquatteur)
- A cybersquatter is a private individual or an entity that registers, traffics in, or uses an Internet domain name with bad-faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers the domain to the trademark's owner at an excessive or exorbitant charge.
- Deputy head (administrateur général)
- This term is equivalent to "deputy minister", "chief executive officer" or some other title denoting this level of responsibility.
- GC.CA Domain Name Registrar (Registraire de nom de domaine GC.CA)
- Instructions on completing the gc.ca sub domain name registration request form are available at http://registry.gc.ca/en/SubdomainFAQ.
- For the purposes of CLF, an institution is any organizational entity listed under a unique title in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act.
- Top-level domain (nom de domaine de premier niveau)
- A top-level domain (TLD) is the last part of an Internet domain name; that is, the letters following the final dot of any domain name, for example, .ca, .com, .org, .net, .info.