Postal Codes for Canada

Look up Postal Codes for Canada, US Zip Codes, and UK Postcodes

Old open mailbox close up, British Columbia, Canada
Laara Cerman/Leigh Righton/Photolibrary/Getty Images

In Canada, postal codes are used as part of every mailing address. They are designed to help Canada Post, the Canadian Crown corporation which provides postal services in Canada, sort mail efficiently and accurately, whether it's done mechanically or by hand.

Note: postal code is an official mark (OM) of Canada Post Corporation.

Look up Postal Codes for Canada
Look up postal codes for street addresses and rural addresses, or find a range of addresses for a postal code. Postal code locator tool from Canada Post.

The Format of a Canadian Postal Code

A Canadian postal code has six alphanumeric characters. There is a single space after the first three characters.

Example: ANA NAN
where A is a capital letter of the alphabet and N is a number.

The first character in a postal code represents the province, or part of a province, or territory.

The first set of three characters is the Forward Sortation Area or FSA. It provides the basic geographic sorting for mail.

The second set of characters is the Local Delivery Unit or LDU. It could indicate a small rural community or in urban areas a location as specific as an individual building.

The Canadian Postal Code in an Address Label

In address labels, postal codes should be placed on the same line of the address as the name of the municipality and abbreviation of province or territory. The postal code should be separated from the province abbreviation by two spaces.

(Note: "Canada" is not required for domestic mail)

Handy Uses of Postal Codes

As well as making the sorting and delivery of mail more efficient, postal codes are used for a variety of other purposes in Canada - in marketing for instance. There are many ways for postal codes to be helpful in day to day life. For example:

  • Use a postal code to find the nearest postal outlet.
  • Find your federal riding and member of parliament.
  • Find a Service Canada office near you to access information on federal government programs.
  • The Web sites of major stores in Canada provide store locators to find the nearest outlet using a postal code.
  • Most Canadian banks also have online tools that use postal codes to find the nearest bank branches and ATMs and bank machines.

Did You Know?

Here are a few little-known facts about Canadian postal codes.

  • The Canadian postal code was first introduced in Ottawa, Canada's capital, in 1971. For other significant milestones in the development of postal services in Canada, see The Chronology of Canadian Postal History (since 1506) from the Museum of Canadian History.
  • In 2011, there were approximately 834,000 postal codes in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.
  • Santa Claus has his very own postal code. See Write to Santa.
  • All members of parliament have the same postal code - K1A 0A6.

International Postal Codes

Other countries have similar postal code systems. In the United States, ZIP codes are used. In the United Kingdom, they are called postcodes. 

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Munroe, Susan. "Postal Codes for Canada." ThoughtCo, Jul. 29, 2021, Munroe, Susan. (2021, July 29). Postal Codes for Canada. Retrieved from Munroe, Susan. "Postal Codes for Canada." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 28, 2023).