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The Canadian Postal Code


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

The Structure of the Postal Code

The postal code is a six-character, uniformly structured, alpha-numeric code in the format "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" (FSA) and "Local Delivery Unit" (LDU).

FSA - The First Segment of the Postal Code

Referred to as the "Forward Sortation Area" or "FSA", this alpha-numeric-alpha sequence represents a specific area within a major geographic region or province. The FSA provides the basis for the primary sorting of forward mail.

The First Character of the FSA Segment

The first character of the FSA segment is used to split the country in to 18 major geographic areas, provinces or districts:
= Newfoundland
= Nova Scotia
= Prince Edward Island
= New Brunswick
= Eastern Quebec
= Metropolitan Montreal
= Western Quebec
= Eastern Ontario
= Central Ontario
= Metropolitan Toronto
= Southwestern Ontario
= Northern Ontario
= Manitoba
= Saskatchewan
= Alberta
= British Columbia
= Northwest Territories
= Yukon Territory

The Second Character of the FSA Segment

This character is an important component in the mail preparation process as it identifies either:

An Urban Postal Code: numerals 1 to 9 in the second position eg. L4B

Urban postal codes are generally serviced by Letter Carrier or community mail boxes.

A Rural Postal Code: numeral 0 (zero) in the second position eg. A0A

Rural postal codes are serviced by rural route drivers and/or postal outlets.

The Third Character of the FSA Segment

The third character of the FSA segment (L4B) in conjunction with the first two characters, describes an exact area of a city or town or other geographic area.

LDU - The Second Segment of the Postal Code

The Local Delivery Unit (LDU), identified by the last three characters of the postal code accommodates a more final sort within an FSA.

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 FSA, identify a specific Rural community.

Placement of the Postal Code

The postal code is placed on the same line as the municipality and the province and is separated from the province by two spaces. If municipality, province and postal code exceed 40 characters, the postal code is placed on the bottom line (left justified).


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