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Addressing Guidelines

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Last updated: 2014-01-13

IMPORTANT UPDATES
Last Updated Date
Description
Location
January 13, 2014
The Canadian Postal Code Directory is no longer available for purchase.

1

Overview

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Canada Post’s automated equipment can decipher a wide range of addressing styles, however 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. In addition, Canada Post’s commercial customers using machineable mail preparation options must follow Canada Post’s addressing guidelines to ensure their mailings achieve optimal read rates.

Visit the applicable Postal Standards guide at canadapost.ca/postalstandards for information on address printing and mail item requirements.

2

General Information

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To avoid unnecessary delays in delivery of your mail items, follow these addressing guidelines:

  • The address should ideally be printed in upper case, however lower case fonts are also acceptable.
  • The Postal CodeOM should be printed in upper case with the first three characters separated from the last three by one space. Do not use hyphens. If the Postal Code is not formatted in this manner, the mail may be delayed.
  • The municipality, the province or territory, and the Postal Code should all appear on the same line, and it should be the last line within a domestic address block. There should be one space between the municipality and the province or territory, and two spaces between the province or territory and the Postal Code. If this line in the address block becomes too long, the Postal Code may be placed on the last line by itself.
NOTE 1:
Avoid using “Canada” in domestic addresses.
2:
The last line within international addresses should only contain a Canada Post recognized country name in English or French.
  • 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”.
NOTE:
Accents are not considered to be punctuation and may be used.
  • The # symbol or the French equivalent no should never be used 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; addressing lines cannot be truncated.
  • Space between address lines should be at least 0.5 mm but no more than one blank line.
  • Characters should be well-defined, between 2 and 5 mm in height and printed in the same font.
  • The return address should be formatted in the same fashion as the destination address, however it cannot be printed in a larger font and must be clearly separated from the destination address. Acceptable locations include the top-left corner or on the back of the item along the top.

3

Illustrations

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The following sections illustrate Canada Post’s recommended addressing guidelines. Please note that in all cases the number of lines within the address block may not exceed six.

3.1

Canadian addresses

3.1.1

Civic addresses (street addresses)

3.1.1.1
Civic address

Civic addresses should contain the following information:

Figure 1:
3.1.1.2
Civic address with additional delivery information

If mailers wish to include Additional Delivery Information, it should appear between the first line (the addressee) and the second-last line (the civic address):

Figure 2:
3.1.1.3
Civic address in a rural area

Civic addresses are also commonly used in rural areas (with rural Postal Codes):

Figure 3:

3.1.2

Postal Box addresses

3.1.2.1
Postal Box address

Postal box addresses should contain the following information:

Figure 4:
3.1.2.2
Postal Box address with civic address and additional delivery information

If mailers wish to include Additional Delivery Information, it should appear under the first line (the addressee). If mailers wish to include the Civic Address, it should appear above the second-last line (postal box number and station information); see Figure 5.

Figure 5:

3.1.3

Rural route addresses

3.1.3.1
Rural route address

Rural route addresses should contain the following information:

Figure 6:
3.1.3.2
Rural route address with civic address

If mailers wish to include Additional Delivery Information, it should appear under the first line (the addressee). If there is a Civic Address for the rural area, it should appear above the second-last line (rural route identifier and station information); see Figure 7.

Figure 7:
3.1.3.3
Rural route address with additional address information

Rural addresses that do not contain a civic address may require Additional Address Information. The additional address information should appear above the second-last line (rural route identifier and station information); see Figure 8.

Figure 8:

3.1.4

General delivery addresses

General delivery addresses should contain the following information (see Figure 9):

Figure 9:

3.1.5

Bilingual addresses

Bilingual addresses must have a solid black vertical line, at least 0.7 mm thick, separating the two addresses. There must be a clear space approximately 10 mm wide on either side of the black line (see Figure 10).

Figure 10:

3.1.6

Military addresses

Military mail 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 Canadian Forces Postal Service for more information about addressing guidelines for military mail.

3.2

United States of America addresses

Addressing elements on mail items handled by the United States Postal Service should be prepared according to their Postal Addressing Standards.

The United States of America addresses should contain the following information:

  • First line: The addressee
  • Third-last line: Delivery address
  • Second-last line: City name, state abbreviation and ZIP Code
  • Last line: Country name
Figure 11:
  • All U.S.A. mail items must be addressed to a specific individual, organization or company name (the addressee).
  • The delivery address should contain all its components, such as the primary address number, predirectional, street name, suffix, postdirectional, secondary address identifier, and secondary address. There should be one space between address elements.
  • The full city name should be used and should appear as the first component in the second-last line of the address block.
  • The two-letter state abbreviation is preferred over the full state name. The state abbreviation should appear on the second-last line of the address block following the city name, separated by one space. See Table 5: States, territories and possessions names and abbreviations U.S.A. for a complete list.
  • The ZIP Code must be separated from the state abbreviation by two spaces. It may be either five or nine digits. If the nine-digit format is used, a hyphen should be used between the fifth and sixth digits.
  • The country name must be the last entry on the address. It is placed alone on the last line of the address block, below the city name and the ZIP Code information.

3.3

International addresses

International addresses should contain the following information (see Figure 12):

  • First line: The addressee
  • Third-last line: Delivery address
  • Second-last line: Municipality name, state or province, and postal or ZIP Code
  • Last line: Country name
Figure 12:
  • All international mail items must be addressed to a specific individual, organization or company name (the addressee).
  • To ensure proper processing, the country name must be spelled correctly and in full. (e.g. UAE is not acceptable for UNITED ARAB EMIRATES). See International Destination Listing for a complete list of international destination names.
  • The name of the country must be the last entry on the address. It is placed on the last line, below the municipality/city name and any Postal Code/ZIP Code information.

3.4

International destination names

See International Destination Listing for a complete list of international destination names.

3.5

Glossary

Addressee – Individual or company name or non-personalized descriptor (e.g., OCCUPANT).

Additional address information – Often required for delivery to a rural address that does not have a civic address. In such cases, a SITE and COMP (compartment) is assigned. This should be placed above the rural route identifier and station information.

NOTE 1:
If a civic address is available, it may be added above the SITE and COMP information.
2:
The word “BOX” should not be used in place of “COMPARTMENT”.

Additional delivery information – Optional data that a mailer wishes to include, i.e. Attention line, title, floor, etc. It is always placed above the civic address.

Civic address – Delivery information comprised of the following elements:

  • Unit number should be placed in one of the following locations:
Unit Number Location
Example
before the civic number with a hyphen in between
NOTE:
Do not include a unit identifier, e.g. APT, when using this format.
after the street type, using an acceptable unit identifier (see Table 3: Unit designators for a complete list of unit designators)
on the line above the street information
NOTE:
If a unit number is assigned, it is an integral part of the address and must be included.
  • Civic number should be placed before the street name
  • Civic number suffix (if present) should be placed after the civic number as follows:
Civic Number Suffix Type
Example
without a space between the civic number and the civic number suffix, if the suffix is alpha (i.e. a letter)
with one space between the civic number and the civic number suffix, if the suffix is a fraction
  • Street name is the official name recognized by each municipality and should not be translated (e.g., Main cannot be translated to Principale)

If the street name is numeric, it should be printed as follows:

Numeric Street Name
Example
without a space within an ordinal number
without a space within an alphanumeric street name
NOTE:
When the street name is numeric, there is only one space and no hyphen between the civic number and the street name.

Street type should be placed after the street name in abbreviated format (see Table 1: Street type for a complete list of common abbreviations.)

NOTE:
In some instances, the street type is also the street name (e.g. THE PARKWAY).

The only street types that may be translated are:

English
Abbreviation
French
Translation
ST
RUE
AVE
AV
BLVD
BOUL

A French street type should be printed as follows:

French Street Type
Example
before the street name, if the street name is not an ordinal number
after the street name, if the street name is an ordinal number
  • Street direction should be the last element in the civic address line and should be in abbreviated format (see Table 2: Street directions for a complete list of common abbreviations.)

General delivery indicator – Should be the two-letter abbreviation “GD.” Punctuation should not be used.

Municipality name – The official name of the municipality.

Abbreviations and valid alternates can be used, but cannot be translated, for example:

Province or territory – should be printed in the official two-letter postal abbreviation (see Table 4: Canadian provinces and territories names and abbreviations for a complete list of abbreviations). It may also be written in full:

Province or Territory
Example
Printed in the official two-letter postal abbreviation
Printed in full

The province or territory must appear after the municipality name, on the same line. There should be one space between the municipality name and the province or territory.

Postal Box number – Should always be placed on the line just above the municipality, province and Postal Code. The # symbol or the French equivalent no should not be used. Punctuation should not be used either.

Postal Code – Should be printed in uppercase and placed two spaces to the right of the Province or Territory, with one space between the first three and the last three characters. A hyphen should not be used (ex. of unacceptable format: T0L-1K0).

NOTE:
The Postal Code may be placed on the last line by itself if there is insufficient space to accommodate the municipality, province and Postal Code all on one line (the province name, however, must remain on the same line as the Municipality Name).

Rural route identifier – Should use the two-letter symbol RR followed by the route number placed one space to the right. The # symbol or the French equivalent no should not be used. Punctuation should not be used either.

Station information – Should be present to direct mail to the proper postal installation. This is especially important in larger areas where there is more than one installation within the same municipality. Station information should appear in abbreviated format, after the postal box number, rural route identifier, or general delivery identifier and after on the same line.

Station
=
STN
Retail Postal Outlet
=
RPO

4

Symbols and Abbreviations Recognized by Canada Post

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4.1

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
NOTE:
This list is not exhaustive.

4.2

Street directions

Table 2: Street directions
Street Direction – English
Abbreviation
Street Direction – 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

4.3

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
Unit Designator – English
Abbreviation
Unit Designator – French
Abbreviation
Apartment
APT
Appartement
APP
Suite
SUITE
Bureau
BUREAU
Unit
UNIT
Unité
UNITÉ

4.4

Canadian provinces and territories

Table 4: Canadian provinces and territories names and abbreviations
Province or Territory – English
Abbreviation
Province or Territory – French
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

4.5

States, territories and possessions – U.S.A.

Table 5: States, territories and possessions names and abbreviations U.S.A.
Destination
State Code
Alabama
Alabama
AL
5
4
6
7
Alaska
Alaska
AK
7
7
7
7
American Samoa
Samoa américaine
AS
7
7
7
7
Arizona
Arizona
AZ
7
6
4
7
Arkansas
Arkansas
AR
5
4
5
7
Armed Forces Africa
Forces armées Afrique
AE
2
1
7
6
Armed Forces Americas
Forces armées américaines
AA
5
5
7
7
Armed Forces Canada
Forces armées Canada
AE
2
1
7
6
Armed Forces Europe
Forces armées européennes
AE
2
1
7
6
Armed Forces Middle East
Forces armées Moyen-Orient
AE
2
1
7
6
Armed Forces Pacific
Forces armées Pacifique
AP
7
7
4
7
California
Californie
CA
7
7
4
7
Colorado
Colorado
CO
6
6
3
6
Connecticut
Connecticut
CT
2
2
7
6
Delaware
Delaware
DE
3
2
7
6
District of Columbia
District de Columbia
DC
3
2
7
6
Florida
Floride
FL
5
5
7
7
Georgia
Georgie
GA
4
4
6
7
Guam
Guam
GU
7
7
7
7
Hawaii
Hawaii
HI
7
7
7
7
Idaho
Idaho
ID
7
6
2
5
Illinois
Illinois
IL
4
3
5
6
Indiana
Indiana
IN
4
3
5
6
Iowa
Iowa
IA
5
4
3
6
Kansas
Kansas
KS
5
5
4
6
Kentucky
Kentucky
KY
4
3
6
6
Louisiana
Louisiane
LA
5
5
6
7
Maine
Maine
ME
1
3
7
5
Marshall Islands
Îles Marshall
MH
7
7
7
7
Maryland
Maryland
MD
3
2
7
6
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
MA
2
2
7
5
Michigan
Michigan
MI
3
3
5
5
Micronesia
Micronésie
FM
7
7
7
7
Minnesota
Minnesota
MN
5
4
2
5
Minor Outlying Islands
Minor Outlying Islands
UM
7
7
7
7
Mississippi
Mississippi
MS
5
4
6
7
Missouri
Missouri
MO
5
4
5
6
Montana
Montana
MT
6
6
1
5
Nebraska
Nebraska
NE
5
5
3
6
Nevada
Nevada
NV
7
7
3
6
New Hampshire
New Hampshire
NH
1
3
7
5
New Jersey
New Jersey
NJ
3
2
7
6
New Mexico
Nouveau Mexique
NM
6
6
4
7
New York
New York
NY
2
1
7
6
North Carolina
Caroline du Nord
NC
4
3
7
7
North Dakota
Dakota du Nord
ND
5
5
1
5
Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
MP
7
7
7
7
Ohio
Ohio
OH
3
2
6
6
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
OK
5
5
5
7
Oregon
Oregon
OR
7
7
2
5
Palau
Palau
PW
7
7
7
7
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvanie
PA
3
1
6
6
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
PR
7
7
7
7
Rhode Island
Rhode Island
RI
2
2
7
6
South Carolina
Caroline du Sud
SC
4
4
7
7
South Dakota
Dakota du Sud
SD
5
5
2
5
Tennessee
Tennessee
TN
4
3
6
7
Texas
Texas
TX
6
5
5
7
Utah
Utah
UT
7
6
3
6
Vermont
Vermont
VT
1
2
7
5
Virginia
Virginie
VA
3
3
7
6
Virgin Islands
Îles Vierges
VI
7
7
7
7
Washington
Washington
WA
7
7
1
5
West Virginia
Virginie de l’Ouest
WV
3
2
6
6
Wisconsin
Wisconsin
WI
4
3
3
5
Wyoming
Wyoming
WY
6
6
2
5

5

Postal CodeOM

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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.

5.1

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 13: Postal Code structure

5.2

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 14).

Figure 14: 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 (ex. M2T)
  • a rural Postal Code: numeral 0 (zero) (ex. A0A).

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 15: Example FSA

5.3

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.

5.4

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 or on an IBM cassette. The updates are distributed monthly.

Delivery mode data and various types of Householder counts are also available. Visit
canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/business/productsservices/atoz/postalcodeproducts.jsf for additional information on Postal Code data.

5.5

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.

Visit canadapost.ca/cpotools/apps/fpc/business/findByAdvanced 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, 2014.




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