To Home page. Vers la version Français du site
 
Find a Postal Code Ship Track a Package Find a Post Office
      Home > Online Tools > Postal Guide > Postal Guide
Personal
Business

Addressing Guidelines

PDF to print

Last updated: 2008-01-14

1

What’s In This Chapter

The following sections are covered in this chapter:

2

Overview

  to top of page

Canada Post’s computerized systems can decipher a wide range of addressing styles – from handwritten notation to typed and printed labels, but studies show that a consistent approach to mail addressing leads to more efficient handling. For Canada Post’s Customers, large and small, this translates into better service and lower costs. Consistent and accurate addressing eliminates the need for extra handling or redelivery by Canada Post. Standardized addressing helps ensure that mail is consistently “delivered on time, the first time, every time.”

The guidelines in this chapter promote the most technologically efficient formats for addressing. It does not limit mailers to any one format. In some cases, because of individual preference or other considerations, mailers may not be able to follow these formats.

Visit www.canadapost.ca/postalstandards for more technical information on the physical characteristics necessary for effective processing by Canada Post’s automated systems.

3

General Information

  to top of page

To avoid unnecessary delays to your mail items, follow these addressing guidelines:

  • addresses should be written in upper case, however mailers may wish to use lower case due to individual preference or other considerations
  • postal codes should be printed in upper case with the first three elements separated from the last three by one space (no hyphens; if the postal code is not formatted in this manner, the mail may be delayed)
  • the municipality, province or territory, and postal code should always appear on the same line and there should be one space between the municipality, province or territory and two spaces between the province or territory and postal code
  • characters in the address block should not be underlined
  • punctuation should not be used unless it is part of a proper name, such as in “ST. JOHN’S”, but mailers may wish to use punctuation due to individual preference or other considerations
  • accents may be used as they are an integral part of language but they are not considered to be punctuation
  • the # symbol should never be used, nor the French equivalent no as part of the address
  • all lines of an address should be formatted with a uniform left margin and should be less than 40 characters per line, excluding spaces
  • space between address lines should be at least 0.5 mm but no more than one blank line between lines of addressing
  • all characters should be larger than 2 mm and smaller than 5 mm from the top to bottom (10 to 12-point) whereas return addresses may use smaller characters and should not be larger than the destination address
  • only non-proportional fonts (characters which occupy the same width) should be used, such as the following examples:
  • OCR B
  • Letter Gothic
  • Elite
  • Lotus Line-Draw and MS Line Draw
  • Courier and Courier New
  • Pica and Copy Pica
  • return addresses should be formatted in the same fashion as the destination address, and located in the top-left corner of the item, clearly separated from the destination address, or on the back of the item at the top
NOTE :
Items should bear a Canadian return address. See the appropriate service chapters for specific addressing requirements.

4

Illustrations

  to top of page

The following sections illustrate Canada Post’s recommended addressing guidelines.

4.1

Civic Addresses (Street Addresses)

 
Figure 1: Civic Addresses (Street Addresses)
  1. Additional delivery information is optional data that a mailer wishes to include. (title, floor, etc.) It is always placed above the civic address.
  1. A unit number is placed before the civic number with a hyphen between, OR after the street type, using an acceptable unit identifier (ex. APT 10). See Table 3: “Unit Designators” for a complete list. The unit information may be placed on the line above the street information if space is an issue.
  1. The civic number is the official number assigned to an address by the municipality.
  1. When a civic number suffix is present, there is no space when it is alpha (123A), and there is one space when it is a fraction (123 1/2).
  1. The street name is the official name recognized by each municipality and should not be translated. (Ex.: Main is not Principale.) There is no space between a numerical street name with an ordinal or an alphanumeric character. (Ex.: 2ND ST or 36A ST). When the street name is numeric, there is only one space (no hyphen) between the civic number and the street name. (Ex.: 123 22ND AVE).
  1. The street type is provided by the municipality. Common abbreviations should be used. See Table 1: “Street Type” for a complete list. In some instances, the street type is also the street name (THE PARKWAY). The only street types that may be translated are:
 
ST
=
RUE
A French street type is placed before the street name, unless it is an ordinal number (1re, 2e, PREMIÈRE, DEUXIÈME, etc.)
 
AVE
=
AV
 
BLVD
=
BOUL
  1. The street direction uses the common one- or two-letter abbreviation. See Table 2: “Street Directions” for a complete list.
  1. The official municipality name, as provided to Canada Post, the official abbreviation of the municipality, or an official alternate name, should be used and should not be translated. (Ex.: TROIS-RIVIÈRES is not THREE RIVERS.)
  1. The province should always be presented using the recognized two-letter symbol. See Table 4: “Canadian Provinces and Territories Names and Abbreviations” for a complete list. Mailers may wish to have the province written in full and placed in brackets. Ex.: (Québec)
  1. The postal code should be in upper case and placed two spaces to the right of the province with one space between the first three and last three characters.

4.2

Postal Box Addresses

 
Figure 2: Postal Box Addresses
  1. Additional delivery information is optional data that a mailer wishes to include. (title, floor, municipal address, etc.) It is always placed above the post office box address.
  1. The postal box number should always be placed on the line just above the municipality, province and postal code. The # symbol should not be used, nor the French equivalent no. Punctuation should not be used.
  1. Station information should be present to direct mail to the proper postal installation when there is more than one installation within a municipality.
 
Station
=
STN
 
Retail Postal Outlet
=
RPO
  1. The official municipality name, as provided to Canada Post, the official abbreviation of the municipality, or an official alternate name, should be used and should not be translated. (Ex.: TROIS-RIVIÈRES is not THREE RIVERS.)
  1. The province should always be presented using the recognized two-letter symbol. See Table 4: “Canadian Provinces and Territories Names and Abbreviations” for a complete list. Mailers may wish to have the province written in full and placed in brackets. Ex.: (Québec)
  1. The postal code should be in upper case and placed two spaces to the right of the province with one space between the first three and last three characters.

4.3

Rural Route Addresses

 
Figure 3: Rural Route Addresses
  1. Many rural areas now have civic addresses. Civic addresses may be added above the rural route. In some locations, the rural route (RR) designator is no longer required.
  1. Additional address information is often required for delivery to this type of address. Some examples include: SITE/ COMPARTMENT, LOT/CONCESSION, civic address, attention line, title, floor. The word “BOX” should not be used in place of “COMPARTMENT”.
  1. The rural route identifier should use the two-letter symbol (RR, SS, MR), followed by the number, one space to the right. The # symbol should not be used, nor the French equivalent, no. Punctuation should not be used in RR, SS, or MR.
  1. Station information should be present to direct mail to the proper postal installation when there is more than one installation within a municipality.
 
Station
=
STN
 
Retail Postal Outlet
=
RPO
  1. The official municipality name, as provided to Canada Post, the official abbreviation of the municipality, or an official alternate name, should be used and should not be translated. (Ex.: TROIS-RIVIÈRES is not THREE RIVERS.)
  1. The province should always be presented using the recognized two-letter symbol. See Table 4: “Canadian Provinces and Territories Names and Abbreviations” for a complete list. Mailers may wish to have the province written in full and placed in brackets. Ex.: (Québec)
  1. The postal code should be in upper case and placed two spaces to the right of the province with one space between the first three and last three characters.

4.4

General Delivery Addresses

 
Figure 4: General Delivery Addresses
  1. The General Delivery indicator should be the two-letter abbreviation “GD.” Punctuation should not be used.
  1. Station information should be present to direct mail to the proper postal installation when there is more than one installation within a municipality.
 
Station
=
STN
 
Retail Postal Outlet
=
RPO
  1. The official municipality name, as provided to Canada Post, the official abbreviation of the municipality, or an official alternate name, should be used and should not be translated. (Ex.: TROIS-RIVIÈRES is not THREE RIVERS.)
  1. The province should always be presented using the recognized two-letter symbol. See Table 4: “Canadian Provinces and Territories Names and Abbreviations” for a complete list. Mailers may wish to have the province written in full and placed in brackets. Ex.: (Québec)
  1. The postal code should be in upper case and placed two spaces to the right of the province with one space between the first three and last three characters.

4.5

Bilingual Addresses

 
Figure 5: Bilingual Addresses
  1. A solid black line must be placed between the two addresses. It must be a minimum of 0.7 mm thick.
  2. There must be a clear space on each side of the black line. This clear space should be approximately 10 mm.

4.6

Military Addresses

Military addressing is defined as mail sent to or by the Department of National Defence, Canadian Forces personnel, their dependants and civilians attached to Canadian Forces served through Canadian Forces Post Offices and Fleet Mail Offices. See the chapter “Canadian Forces Postal Service” for more information.

4.7

United States of America Addresses

Addressing elements required by the United States Postal Service should be prepared according to the United States postal standards.

 
Figure 6: United States of America Addresses
  1. All U.S.A. mail items must be addressed to a specific individual, organization or company name.
  1. The full municipality name should be used and should appear as the first component in the second last line of the address block.
  1. The two-letter state symbol is preferred over the full state name. The state symbol should appear on the second last line of the address following the municipality, separated by one space. See Table 5: “States, Territories and Possessions Names and Abbreviations U.S.A.” for a complete list.
  1. The ZIP code must be separated from the state symbol by two spaces. It may be either five or nine digits. If the nine-digit format is used, a hyphen will be used to separate the fifth and sixth digits.
  1. The country name should appear alone on the last line of the address block.

4.8

International Addresses

 
Figure 7: International Addresses

All international mail items must be addressed to a specific individual, organization or company name. Also, to ensure proper processing, the country name must be spelled correctly and in full. (Ex.: UAE is not acceptable for UNITED ARAB EMIRATES).

The name of the country must be the last entry on the address. It is placed at the bottom, below the municipality/city name and any postal code/ZIP code information.

NOTE :
Canada Post encourages all mailers to respect the wishes of Customers in matters of format. These addressing guidelines have taken care to accommodate the requirements of the English and French languages by recognizing and accepting the use of upper- and lower- case characters, including accents, as well as the full spelling of and punctuation between addressing elements.

4.9

International Destination Names

See “Part H: International Destination Listing” for a complete list of international destination names.

5

Symbols and Abbreviations Recognized by Canada Post

  to top of page

5.1

Street Types

Table 1: Street Type
Street Type
Abbreviation
Abbey
ABBEY
Acres
ACRES
Allée
ALLÉE
Alley
ALLEY
Autoroute
AUT
Avenue (English)
AVE
Avenue (French)
AV
Bay
BAY
Beach
BEACH
Bend
BEND
Boulevard (English)
BLVD
Boulevard (French)
BOUL
By-pass
BYPASS
Byway
BYWAY
Campus
CAMPUS
Cape
CAPE
Carré
CAR
Carrefour
CARREF
Centre (English)
CTR
Centre (French)
C
Cercle
CERCLE
Chase
CHASE
Chemin
CH
Circle
CIR
Circuit
CIRCT
Close
CLOSE
Common
COMMON
Concession
CONC
Corners
CRNRS
Côte
CÔTE
Cour
COUR
Cours
COURS
Court
CRT
Cove
COVE
Crescent
CRES
Croissant
CROIS
Crossing
CROSS
Cul-de-sac
CDS
Dale
DALE
Dell
DELL
Diversion
DIVERS
Downs
DOWNS
Drive
DR
Échangeur
ÉCH
End
END
Esplanade
ESPL
Estates
ESTATE
Expressway
EXPY
Extension
EXTEN
Farm
FARM
Field
FIELD
Forest
FOREST
Freeway
FWY
Front
FRONT
Gardens
GDNS
Gate
GATE
Glade
GLADE
Glen
GLEN
Green
GREEN
Grounds
GRNDS
Grove
GROVE
Harbour
HARBR
Heath
HEATH
Heights
HTS
Highlands
HGHLDS
Highway
HWY
Hill
HILL
Hollow
HOLLOW
Île
ÎLE
Impasse
IMP
Inlet
INLET
Island
ISLAND
Key
KEY
Knoll
KNOLL
Landing
LANDNG
Lane
LANE
Limits
LMTS
Line
LINE
Link
LINK
Lookout
LKOUT
Loop
LOOP
Mall
MALL
Manor
MANOR
Maze
MAZE
Meadow
MEADOW
Mews
MEWS
Montée
MONTÉE
Moor
MOOR
Mount
MOUNT
Mountain
MTN
Orchard
ORCH
Parade
PARADE
Parc
PARC
Park
PK
Parkway
PKY
Passage
PASS
Path
PATH
Pathway
PTWAY
Pines
PINES
Place (English)
PL
Place (French)
PLACE
Plateau
PLAT
Plaza
PLAZA
Point
PT
Pointe
POINTE
Port
PORT
Private
PVT
Promenade
PROM
Quai
QUAI
Quay
QUAY
Ramp
RAMP
Rang
RANG
Range
RG
Ridge
RIDGE
Rise
RISE
Road
RD
Rond-point
RDPT
Route
RTE
Row
ROW
Rue
RUE
Ruelle
RLE
Run
RUN
Sentier
SENT
Square
SQ
Street
ST
Subdivision
SUBDIV
Terrace
TERR
Terrasse
TSSE
Thicket
THICK
Towers
TOWERS
Townline
TLINE
Trail
TRAIL
Turnabout
TRNABT
Vale
VALE
Via
VIA
View
VIEW
Village
VILLGE
Villas
VILLAS
Vista
VISTA
Voie
VOIE
Walk
WALK
Way
WAY
Wharf
WHARF
Wood
WOOD
Wynd
WYND

5.2

Street Directions

Table 2: Street Directions
English
Abbreviation
French
Abbreviation
East
E
Est
E
North
N
Nord
N
Northeast
NE
Nord-Est
NE
Northwest
NW
Nord-Ouest
NO
South
S
Sud
S
Southeast
SE
Sud-Est
SE
Southwest
SW
Sud-Ouest
SO
West
W
Ouest
O

5.3

Unit Designators

The following are the most technologically efficient unit designators. In some cases, because of individual preference or other considerations, a mailer may use other unit designators.

Table 3: Unit Designators
English
Abbreviation
French
Abbreviation
Apartment
APT
Appartement
APP
Suite
SUITE
Bureau
BUREAU
Unit
UNIT
Unité
UNITÉ

5.4

Canadian Provinces and Territories

Table 4: Canadian Provinces and Territories Names and Abbreviations
English Name
Abbreviation
French Name
Alberta
AB
Alberta
British Columbia
BC
Colombie-Britannique
Manitoba
MB
Manitoba
New Brunswick
NB
Nouveau-Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
NL
Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador
Northwest Territories
NT
Territoires du Nord-Ouest
Nova Scotia
NS
Nouvelle-Écosse
Nunavut
NU
Nunavut
Ontario
ON
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
PE
Île-du-Prince-Édouard
Québec
QC
Québec
Saskatchewan
SK
Saskatchewan
Yukon
YT
Yukon

5.5

States, Territories and Possessions – U.S.A.

Table 5: States, Territories and Possessions Names and Abbreviations U.S.A.
State
Symbol
Alabama
AL
Alaska
AK
American Samoa
AS
Arizona
AZ
Arkansas
AR
Armed Forces Americas
(except Canada)
AA
Armed Forces Africa
Armed Forces Canada
Armed Forces Europe
Armed Forces Middle East
AE
Armed Forces Pacific
AP
California
CA
Colorado
CO
Connecticut
CT
Delaware
DE
District of Columbia
DC
Florida
FL
Georgia
GA
Guam
GU
Hawaii
HI
Idaho
ID
Illinois
IL
Indiana
IN
Iowa
IA
Kansas
KS
Kentucky
KY
Louisiana
LA
Maine
ME
Marshall Islands
MH
Maryland
MD
Massachusetts
MA
Michigan
MI
Micronesia (Federated States of)
FM
Minnesota
MN
Minor Outlying Islands
UM
Mississippi
MS
Missouri
MO
Montana
MT
Nebraska
NE
Nevada
NV
New Hampshire
NH
New Jersey
NJ
New Mexico
NM
New York
NY
North Carolina
NC
North Dakota
ND
Northern Mariana Islands
MP
Ohio
OH
Oklahoma
OK
Oregon
OR
Palau
PW
Pennsylvania
PA
Puerto Rico
PR
Rhode Island
RI
South Carolina
SC
South Dakota
SD
Tennessee
TN
Texas
TX
Utah
UT
Vermont
VT
Virgin Islands
VI
Virginia
VA
Washington
WA
West Virginia
WV
Wisconsin
WI
Wyoming
WY

6

Postal Code

  to top of page

The postal code is an integral part of every postal address in Canada. The postal code was designed to aid in sorting mail by both mechanized and manual methods. It also enables the Customer to presort mail, thereby bypassing a number of sorting processes within Canada Post and reducing costs.

6.1

The Structure of the Postal Code

The postal code is a six-character uniformly structured, alphanumeric code in the form “ANA NAN” where “A” represents an alphabetic character and “N” represents a numeric character. A postal code is made up of two segments: “forward sortation area” and “local delivery unit.”

The forward sortation area is a combination of three characters (alpha-numeric-alpha). It identifies a major geographic area in an urban or a rural location.

The local delivery unit is a combination of three characters (numeric-alpha-numeric). It identifies the smallest delivery unit within a forward sortation area.

 
Figure 8: Postal Code Structure

6.2

Forward Sortation Area – The First Segment of the Postal Code

The “forward sortation area” or “FSA” represents a specific area within a major geographic region or province. The forward sortation area provides the basis for the primary sorting of forward mail.

The first character of the forward sortation area segment identifies one of the 18 major geographic areas, provinces or districts (as shown in Figure 9).

 
Figure 9: First Segment of the Postal Code

The second character of the forward sortation area is an important component of mail preparation as it identifies either:

  • an urban postal code: numerals 1 to 9 (E2J). Urban postal codes are generally serviced by Letter Carrier or community mailboxes; or
  • a rural postal code: numeral 0 (zero) (A0A). Rural postal codes are serviced by rural route drivers and/or post offices.

The third character of the forward sortation area segment (E2J) in conjunction with the first two characters, describes an exact area of a city or town or other geographic area.

 
Figure 10: Example FSA

6.3

Local Delivery Unit – The Second Segment of the Postal Code

The “local delivery unit” or “LDU”, identified by the last three characters of the postal code, allows for a more final sort within a forward sortation area.

In urban areas, the last three digits may indicate a specific city block (one side of a street between two intersecting streets), a single building or, in some cases, a large-volume mail receiver.

In rural areas, the last three digits, together with the forward sortation area, identify a specific rural community.

6.4

Postal Code Address Data

Canada Post’s Postal Code Address data is used to determine or verify the correct postal code for an address anywhere in Canada or identify the complete range of addresses that correspond to any one postal code. The data is available under licence by download from a secured Canada Post FTP site and on CD-ROM. The updates are distributed monthly.

Delivery Mode data and various types of Householder counts are also available. Visit
www.canadapost.ca/offerings/address_management/can/other_data-e.asp for additional information on postal code data.

6.5

Canadian Postal Code Searching Tools

The Canadian Postal Code Directory© contains postal code information for all addresses in Canada. It facilitates postal code look-up and verification. The Canadian Postal Code Directory can be purchased in hard copy through the National Philatelic Centre at 1-800-565-4362, or at selected post offices. Visit www.canadapost.ca/tools/pcl/bin/advanced-e.asp to use Canada Post’s free postal code look-up tool.

Postal codes can also be obtained by calling 1-900-565-2633 for service in English or 1-900-565-2634 for service in French.

©Canada Post Corporation, 2008

7

Address Accuracy Program

  to top of page

Customers should refer to their Addressed Admail, Catalogue Mail, Incentive Lettermail or Publications Mail Customer Guide at www.canadapost.ca/customerguides for information on the Address Accuracy Program.

8

Address Validation, Address Correction and Postal Code Look-Up

  to top of page

Canada Post recognizes several software packages that provide mailers with automated means to perform address validation, address correction and postal code look-up.

9

Recognized Addressing Software

  to top of page

Visit the Software Evaluation and Recognition Program at: www.canadapost.ca/offerings/address_management/pdf/serp-e.pdf for a list of recognized addressing software.

To Government of Canada website
Help,  Legal,  Copyright,  Privacy,  Contact Us,  Jobs © 2008 Canada Post Corporation
Text Only