Addressing Guidelines

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Last updated: 2016-01-11

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 ”Designing” module at canadapost.ca/postalservices 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 types 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 types
Street Types
Abbreviation
Street Types
Abbreviation
Street Types
Abbreviation
Abbey
ABBEY
Farm
FARM
Pines
PINES
Acres
ACRES
Field
FIELD
Place (English)
PL
Allée
ALLÉE
Forest
FOREST
Place (French)
PLACE
Alley
ALLEY
Freeway
FWY
Plateau
PLAT
Autoroute
AUT
Front
FRONT
Plaza
PLAZA
Avenue (English)
AVE
Gardens
GDNS
Point
PT
Avenue (French)
AV
Gate
GATE
Pointe
POINTE
Bay
BAY
Glade
GLADE
Port
PORT
Beach
BEACH
Glen
GLEN
Private
PVT
Bend
BEND
Green
GREEN
Promenade
PROM
Boulevard (English)
BLVD
Grounds
GRNDS
Quai
QUAI
Boulevard (French)
BOUL
Grove
GROVE
Quay
QUAY
By-pass
BYPASS
Harbour
HARBR
Ramp
RAMP
Byway
BYWAY
Heath
HEATH
Rang
RANG
Campus
CAMPUS
Heights
HTS
Range
RG
Cape
CAPE
Highlands
HGHLDS
Ridge
RIDGE
Carré
CAR
Highway
HWY
Rise
RISE
Carrefour
CARREF
Hill
HILL
Road
RD
Centre (English)
CTR
Hollow
HOLLOW
Rond-point
RDPT
Centre (French)
C
Île
ÎLE
Route
RTE
Cercle
CERCLE
Impasse
IMP
Row
ROW
Chase
CHASE
Inlet
INLET
Rue
RUE
Chemin
CH
Island
ISLAND
Ruelle
RLE
Circle
CIR
Key
KEY
Run
RUN
Circuit
CIRCT
Knoll
KNOLL
Sentier
SENT
Close
CLOSE
Landing
LANDNG
Square
SQ
Common
COMMON
Lane
LANE
Street
ST
Concession
CONC
Limits
LMTS
Subdivision
SUBDIV
Corners
CRNRS
Line
LINE
Terrace
TERR
Côte
CÔTE
Link
LINK
Terrasse
TSSE
Cour
COUR
Lookout
LKOUT
Thicket
THICK
Cours
COURS
Loop
LOOP
Towers
TOWERS
Court
CRT
Mall
MALL
Townline
TLINE
Cove
COVE
Manor
MANOR
Trail
TRAIL
Crescent
CRES
Maze
MAZE
Turnabout
TRNABT
Croissant
CROIS
Meadow
MEADOW
Vale
VALE
Crossing
CROSS
Mews
MEWS
Via
VIA
Cul-de-sac
CDS
Montée
MONTÉE
View
VIEW
Dale
DALE
Moor
MOOR
Village
VILLGE
Dell
DELL
Mount
MOUNT
Villas
VILLAS
Diversion
DIVERS
Mountain
MTN
Vista
VISTA
Downs
DOWNS
Orchard
ORCH
Voie
VOIE
Drive
DR
Parade
PARADE
Walk
WALK
Échangeur
ÉCH
Parc
PARC
Way
WAY
End
END
Park
PK
Wharf
WHARF
Esplanade
ESPL
Parkway
PKY
Wood
WOOD
Estates
ESTATE
Passage
PASS
Wynd
WYND
Expressway
EXPY
Path
PATH
 
Extension
EXTEN
Pathway
PTWAY
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
A
B
C
D
Destination
State Code
A
B
C
D
English
French
Rate Zone
English
French
Rate Zone
Alabama
Alabama
AL
5
4
6
7
Minnesota
Minnesota
MN
5
4
2
5
Alaska
Alaska
AK
7
7
7
7
Minor Outlying Islands
Minor Outlying Islands
UM
7
7
7
7
American Samoa
Samoa américaine
AS
7
7
7
7
Mississippi
Mississippi
MS
5
4
6
7
Arizona
Arizona
AZ
7
6
4
7
Missouri
Missouri
MO
5
4
5
6
Arkansas
Arkansas
AR
5
4
5
7
Montana
Montana
MT
6
6
1
5
Armed Forces Africa
Forces armées Afrique
AE
2
1
7
6
Nebraska
Nebraska
NE
5
5
3
6
Armed Forces Americas
Forces armées américaines
AA
5
5
7
7
Nevada
Nevada
NV
7
7
3
6
Armed Forces Canada
Forces armées Canada
AE
2
1
7
6
New Hampshire
New Hampshire
NH
1
3
7
5
Armed Forces Europe
Forces armées européennes
AE
2
1
7
6
New Jersey
New Jersey
NJ
3
2
7
6
Armed Forces Middle East
Forces armées Moyen-Orient
AE
2
1
7
6
New Mexico
Nouveau Mexique
NM
6
6
4
7
Armed Forces Pacific
Forces armées Pacifique
AP
7
7
4
7
New York
New York
NY
2
1
7
6
California
Californie
CA
7
7
4
7
North Carolina
Caroline du Nord
NC
4
3
7
7
Colorado
Colorado
CO
6
6
3
6
North Dakota
Dakota du Nord
ND
5
5
1
5
Connecticut
Connecticut
CT
2
2
7
6
Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
MP
7
7
7
7
Delaware
Delaware
DE
3
2
7
6
Ohio
Ohio
OH
3
2
6
6
District of Columbia
District de Columbia
DC
3
2
7
6
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
OK
5
5
5
7
Florida
Floride
FL
5
5
7
7
Oregon
Oregon
OR
7
7
2
5
Georgia
Georgie
GA
4
4
6
7
Palau
Palau
PW
7
7
7
7
Guam
Guam
GU
7
7
7
7
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvanie
PA
3
1
6
6
Hawaii
Hawaii
HI
7
7
7
7
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
PR
7
7
7
7
Idaho
Idaho
ID
7
6
2
5
Rhode Island
Rhode Island
RI
2
2
7
6
Illinois
Illinois
IL
4
3
5
6
South Carolina
Caroline du Sud
SC
4
4
7
7
Indiana
Indiana
IN
4
3
5
6
South Dakota
Dakota du Sud
SD
5
5
2
5
Iowa
Iowa
IA
5
4
3
6
Tennessee
Tennessee
TN
4
3
6
7
Kansas
Kansas
KS
5
5
4
6
Texas
Texas
TX
6
5
5
7
Kentucky
Kentucky
KY
4
3
6
6
Utah
Utah
UT
7
6
3
6
Louisiana
Louisiane
LA
5
5
6
7
Vermont
Vermont
VT
1
2
7
5
Maine
Maine
ME
1
3
7
5
Virginia
Virginie
VA
3
3
7
6
Marshall Islands
Îles Marshall
MH
7
7
7
7
Virgin Islands
Îles Vierges
VI
7
7
7
7
Maryland
Maryland
MD
3
2
7
6
Washington
Washington
WA
7
7
1
5
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
MA
2
2
7
5
West Virginia
Virginie de l’Ouest
WV
3
2
6
6
Michigan
Michigan
MI
3
3
5
5
Wisconsin
Wisconsin
WI
4
3
3
5
Micronesia
Micronésie
FM
7
7
7
7
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.

Delivery mode data and various types of Householder counts are also available. Visit canadapost.ca/lists for additional information on Postal Code data and mailing lists

5.5

Canadian Postal Code searching tools

Visit canadapost.ca/postalcode 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.

 



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