Postal codes

Please note

The postal code is an integral part of every postal address in Canada. The postal code was designed to help sort mail by both mechanized and manual methods. It also helps to presort mail, bypassing many of our sorting processes and reducing costs.

The structure of the postal code

The postal code is a six-character uniformly structured, alphanumeric code in the form “ANA NAN” where “A” is an alphabetic character and “N” is a numeric character. Two segments make up a postal code: Forward Sortation Area (FSA) and Local Delivery Unit (LDU).

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

The LDU is a combination of three characters (numeric-alpha-numeric). It identifies the smallest delivery unit in an FSA.

An example of a postal code with its structure (FSA and LDU) broken down

Forward Sortation Area (FSA) – The first segment of the postal code

The Forward Sortation Area (FSA) is a specific area in a major geographic region or province. The FSA provides the basis for the primary sorting of forward mail.

First character

A map of Canada illustrating the different geographic areas as they relate to the FSA

The first character of the FSA segment identifies one of the 18 major geographic areas, provinces, or districts.

First character of FSA for each geographic area

First character of FSA Geographic area
A Newfoundland and Labrador
B Nova Scotia
C Prince Edward Island
E New Brunswick
G Eastern Quebec
H Metropolitan Montreal
J Western Quebec
K Eastern Ontario
L Central Ontario
First character of FSA Geographic area
M Metropolitan Toronto
N Southwestern Ontario
P Northern Ontario
R Manitoba
S Saskatchewan
T Alberta
V British Columbia
X Northwest Territories/Nunavut
Y Yukon

Second character

The second character of the FSA is an important part of mail preparation as it identifies either:

  • An urban postal code: numerals 1 to 9 (for example, M2T)
  • A rural postal code: numeral 0 (zero) (for example, A0A)

Third character

A map of Saint John, NB illustrating the different FSAs within the city

The third character of the FSA segment, in conjunction with the first two characters, describes an exact area of a:

  • City
  • Town
  • Other geographic area

Local Delivery Unit (LDU) – The second segment of the postal code

The Local Delivery Unit (LDU), identified by the last three characters of the postal code, allows for a more final sort in a Forward Sortation Area (FSA).

In urban areas, the last three digits may indicate a:

  • Specific city block (one side of a street between two intersecting streets)
  • Single building
  • Large-volume mail receiver (sometimes)

In rural areas, the last three digits, together with the FSA, identify a specific rural community.

Postal code address data

You can use our postal code address data 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 householder counts are also available.

Visit our prospect list page for more information on postal code data and mailing lists.

Canadian postal code searching tools

To find postal codes: