Global Sourcebook for International Data Management

                                         by Graham Rhind

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Canada

Global Sourcebook | Index | Properties

CANADA
CANADA

For supplementary information, see links to post office home pages here External, to postal code pages here External and to other personal name and addressing issues pages here External.

Table of Contents

Canada - Country information

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Local short name form

Official name

Area

Population

Capital

Currency

International telephone access code

1

ISO 3166 country codes

Car nationality plate code

CDN

Internet country code

CA

GRC Country Code

CAN

Canada - Number format

English:

   1,234.45 

(where . indicates the decimal separator and , the thousands separator)

French:

   1 234,45

(where , indicates the decimal separator and a space the thousands separator)

Canada - Date and time formats

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   mm/dd/yyyy
   mm-dd-yyyy
   mm.dd.yyyy
   dd/mm/yyyy
   yyyy-mm-dd

Both the 12-hour and the 24-hour clock notation are used.

Canada - Languages

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Languages map External

A dialect and pronunciation map and resources for Canada External

Canada is officially bilingual English External (spoken as a mother language by 14 122 770 Canadians) and French External (6 200 000 mother-language speakers). Inuktitut External (along with French and English) is the official language in the new province of Nunavut. Approximately 16% of Canadians are bilingual English-French (slightly more than half of these live in Québec province). The province of Québec has been officially unilingular French since 1977, though 8% of the population of Québec is native English-speaking (mainly living in Montréal, the Ottawa Valley and the Eastern Townships near the Ontario border). In Québec, legislation demands that all advertising material be sent in French unless your contact has made a written request to receive it in English. The province of New Brunswick is bilingual. The other provinces and territories (thus all of those except Québec, New Brunswick and Nunavut) are officially English-speaking. There are, however, significant minorities speaking English in Québec and French in the other provinces. These speakers are accorded the same rights regardless of where in Canada they live.

There are some 23 000 French speakers in Alberta, 20 000 in British Colombia, 27 000 in Manitoba, 230 000 in New Brunswick, 2 000 in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 000 in Northwest Territories and Nunavut, 23 000 in Nova Scotia, 340 000 in Ontario, 4 000 in Prince Edward Island, 6 000 000 in Québec, 10 000 in Saskatchewan and 500 in Yukon.

Québecois differs from Metropolitan French and this needs to be taken into account in mailings. Canadian English differs in its colloquialisms and spelling from both US English and British English.

There are at least 60 first-nation (Indian, Métis and Inuit) languages spoken by about 182 000 people in Canada. Many of these are spoken by few people and in some cases are threatened with extinction as they are not spoken by younger natives of these tribes. Addresses are unlikely to be encountered in these languages. The most widely spoken of these languages are Western Cree External (35 000 speakers in North Central Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta); Eastern Canadian Inuktitut External (14 000 speakers west of Hudson Bay, and east through Baffin Island, Québec and Labrador); and Western Ojibwa External (35 000 speakers from Lake Superior westwards and north-westward into Saskatchewan).

Canada - Personal names

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Since 1980, married women in Québec have been required to retain their maiden name. Those women married before 1980 have been allowed to choose between their husband’s name and their maiden name. Children may take the surname of either their mother or their father, or a hyphenated version of both.

Similar laws have been put into practice in most of the other provinces.

Tables of names can be acquired: given names External, surnames/family names External, family name prefixes External, forms of address External, job titles External

Canada - Company names

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For French company names, it is more correct, where the nature of a company is mentioned in its name, that this precedes the name of the company, thus:

   Boulangerie Dupont

You will often, however, also find these activity indications after the company name, thus:

   Dupont, Boulangerie
   Dupont (Boulangerie)

Canada - Company legal forms

Common company types include:

   Cooperative/Coopérative
   Inc. (Incorporated)
   Ltd (Limited)
   NT (iNTermediary – the company is a financial intermediary)
   SARF (Société par actions de régime fédéral)
   SCC (Société Commerciale Canadienne)
   ULC - Unlimited Liability Corporation.  This may be preceded by a state abbreviation.  For example: AULC: Alberta Unlimited Liability Corporation.

Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see http:www.grcdi.nl/addresses.htm External

Canada - Addresses

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The Canadian Post Office prefers that addresses are formatted to contain:

   - Only upper case (though Canada Post accepts mixed-case addresses)
   - No punctuation (but diacritics should be used for mixed case addresses)
   - Standard abbreviations

The format is:

   RECIPIENTS NAME AND/OR TITLE
   DEPARTMENT/BUILDING NAME
   COMPANY NAME
   NUMBER[ ]THOROUGHFARE 
   SETTLEMENT[ ]PROVINCE CODE[  ]POSTAL CODE

For example:

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should be written

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Though this is the preferred format for the CPC, the CPC encourages all mailers to respect the wishes of customers in matters of format. The Canadian Addressing Guide has taken care to accommodate the requirements of the English and French languages by recognizing and accepting the use of upper- and lower-case characters, including accents, as well as the full spelling of and punctuation between addressing elements.

The government of the province of Québec, for example, prefers their addresses to be written in a way which is more attuned to the norms of the French language:

   Monsieur Jules Thibault
   Chef de la direction
   Assurances Atout prix
   Immeuble Caron, 3e étage
   1291, rue Racine Est, bureau 400
   Saint-Eustache (Québec)  J7R 7K6

See http://bdl.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/bdl/gabarit_bdl.asp?id=3415 External (in French)

Unit or apartment number may precede or follow the street name, preceded by a type indicator such as APT. A # or the French abbreviation no. should never be used before the house number. If more space is required, this information can be moved to a line above. If the unit number is written before the house number (called the civic number by Canada Post) there should be a hyphen between the numbers is this way:

   10-123

If the house number is followed by a letter, there should be no space between them. If followed by a fraction, there should be one space:

   123A
   123 1/2

If the street name is numeric, there should be a space between the house number and the street name:

   123 22ND AVE

The street name used must be the one recognized by the municipality and may not be translated.

The postal code is placed on the same address line as the settlement and province, and is separated from the province by two spaces. If the total length of this line is greater than 40, the Canadian Post Office prefers that the postal code is moved (left-justified) to the line beneath.

The province codes to be used in addresses are:

Province/Territory (English/French) Code
Alberta (Alb.) AB
British Columbia / Colombie-Brittanique (C.-B.) BC
Manitoba (Man.) MB
New Brunswick / Nouveau-Brunswick (N.-B.) NB
Newfoundland and Labrador / Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador (T.-N.) NL (before 21st October 2002 - NF)
Northwest Territories / Territoires du Nord-Ouest (T.N.-O.) NT
Nova Scotia / Nouvelle-Écosse (N.-É.) NS
Nunavut NU
Ontario (Ont.) ON
Prince Edward Island / Île-du-Prince-Édouard (Î.-P.-É) PE
Quebec / Québec (Qué) QC
Saskatchewan (Sask.) SK
Yukon (Yn.) YT

Addresses may be written in French or English regardless of the majority language of the area concerned. The street name should not be translated, and the thoroughfare type may only be translated in the cases of street (ST)/rue, avenue (AVE/AV) and boulevard (BLVD/BOUL). Envelopes may contain two addresses, one for each language, next to each other horizontally and divided using a thick black line:

Delivery is not always to a street address. Alternative delivery forms are:

   CF (Call For/Envoi à réclamer au comptoir. Allows customers to receive mail that cannot be delivered  by their regular delivery service)
   CP (Case Postale/casier postal.  Post office box)
   DR (Direct – large user mail)
   GD (General Delivery.  Delivery to customers without a post office box, customers without a fixed address or people travelling)
   IM (Itinéraire Motorisé. Delivery of mail to industrial parks or areas)
   LB (Lock Box/post office box)                                                                              
   LC (Letter Carrier/Facteur – delivery by letter carrier)
   MR (Mobile Route.  Delivery of mail to industrial parks or areas)
   PO Box (Post Office Box)
   PR (Poste Restante. Delivery to customers without a post office box, customers without a fixed address or people travelling)
   RR (Rural Route, Route Rurale.  Delivery by contractor to customers living along or near well-defined roads in a reasonably well-settled area)
   SS (Suburban Service, Service Suburbaine. Delivery by a contractor to group mail boxes.  Usually found near or on the perimeters of urban areas)

In these cases, these abbreviations are written instead of a street name, and they are followed by a number (except for General Delivery) and possibly also letters. The address may also include a so-called installation type, followed by a name. These are:

   CC (Concession Commerciale)
   CDO (Commercial Dealership Outlet)
   CMC (Community Mail Centre)
   CPC (Centre Postale Communautaire)
   CSP (Comptoire Service Postal)
   ETC (Établissement de traitement du courrier)
   LCD (Letter Carrier Depot)
   MPP (Mail Processing Plant)
   PDF (Poste de Facteurs)
   RPO (Retail Post Outlet)
   STN (Station)
   SUCC (Succursale)

For example:

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or

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or

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Rural Route, Suburban Service and Mobile Route addresses may now also contain additional street address information, written on the lines above the Rural Route address in this way:

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Bilingual addresses should be printed side-by-side on a envelope with a solid black line between the addresses, and with clear space between the black line and the addresses.

A table containing information about the relevant position of elements within address blocks can be acquired External

Street address

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In the French language addresses, the thoroughfare type part of the street address is prefixed, with spaces between the words. For example:

   8 rue Montfort
   98 rue d’Alberta
   4 avenue de la Gare

In the French language regions, thoroughfare types should correctly begin with a lower case letter. Prepositions like ‘de la’ should also be written without a capital letter.

Directionals

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Directionals are abbreviated as follows:

English Abbreviation 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

Sub-building indicator

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Sub-building indicators are abbreviated as follows:

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

Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see http:www.grcdi.nl/addresses.htm External

Thoroughfare types

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The Canadian Post Office prefers that thoroughfare types are written as standard abbreviations. This is required to profit from discounted mail rates but will reduce the quality of the address layout in the eyes of the recipient. The official abbreviations (“designators”) are:

Thoroughfare Type Required 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
COURT CRT
COVE COVE
CRESCENT CRES
CROISSANT CROIS
CROSSING CROSS
CUL-DE-SAC CDS
DALE DALE
DELL DELL
DIVERSION DIVERS
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
HEIGHTS HTS
HIGHLANDS HGHLDS
HIGHWAY HWY
HILL HILL
HOLLOW HOLLOW
ÎLE ÎLE
IMPASSE IMP
ISLAND ISLAND
KEY KEY
KNOLL KNOLL
LANDING LANDNG
LANE LN
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
PORT PORT
PRIVATE PVT
PROMENADE PROM
QUAY QUAY
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
TERASSE TSSE
THICKET THICK
TOWERS TOWERS
TOWNLINE TLINE
TRAIL TRAIL
TURNABOUT TRNABT
VALE VALE
VIA VIA
VIEW VIEW
VILLAGE VILLGE
VISTA VISTA
VOIE VOIE
WALK WALK
WAY WAY
WHARF WHARF
WOOD WOOD
WYND WYND

Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see http:www.grcdi.nl/addresses.htm External

Other elements commonly found in address databases

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NB: The following abbreviations are used: (m) = masculine form; (f ) = feminine form; (pl) = plural form. Except where specified, the French plural form of adjectives is the correctly gendered singular form followed by an 's'.

French English
le (m)/la (f)/les (pl) (NB: le and la are written 1’ before a vowel or an unaspirated h) the
un (m)/une (f) a, an
et and
à/au (m)/à la (f)/aux (pl) till, until, up to, to
pour for
de (before a proper noun)/du (m)/de la, de 1’ (f)/des (pl) of, from
à at
près de by, near to
sur on (a river, the sea)
dans in
en face de opposite
à côté de next to
derrière behind
devant in front
entre between
avec with
sous under
lès (occurs only in place names) near
nouveau (m)/nouvelle (f)/nouveaux (m.pl.)/nouvelles (f.pl.)/nouvel (m, before a vowel or unaspirated h) new
vieux (m, pl)/vieille (f)/vielles(f.pl.)/vieil (m, before a vowel or an unaspirated h) old
court (m) (Ct.)/courte (f) (Cte.) short
long (m) (Lg.)/longue (f) (Lgue.) long
grand (m) (Gr./Grd.)/grande (f) (Gr./Grde.) large
petit (m) (P./Pt.)/petite (f) (P./Pte.) small
nord north
est east
sud south
ouest west
saint (m) (St.)/sainte (f) (Ste.) saint

Canada - Post office box

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This is written as Case Postale (CP) in French, and PO Box in English.

Canada - Postal codes

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Canada has around 700 000 Postal Codes (Code Postal), one for every 40 people. The area that they cover can vary in size from a single building to vast rural areas. Postal codes in Canada are formed as follows:

   A9A[ ]9A9

Each character must be printed in capital letters.

The part of the postal code before the space is called the “Forward Sortation Area”. The part after the space is called the “Local Delivery Unit”.

The first character of the code represents the province or part of province (Ontario and Québec only) covered by the code:

First letter Area covered
A Newfoundland and Labrador
B Nova Scotia
C Prince Edward Island
E New Brunswick
G Eastern Quebec
H Metropolitan Montréal
J Western Quebec
K Eastern Ontario
L Central Ontario
M Metropolitan Toronto
N South-western Ontario
P Northern Ontario
R Manitoba
S Saskatchewan
T Alberta
V British Columbia
X Northwest Territories and Nunavut
Y Yukon Territory

This regions/postal code data can be acquired as a data file External

Note: The forward sortation areas X0E, X0G and X1A are in Northwest Territories; the forward sortation areas X0A, X0B and X0C are in Nunavut.

The first digit of the postal code cannot therefore be D, F, I, O, Q, U, W or Z.

The letters D, F, I, O, Q and U are not used in any part of the postal code.

A digit between 1 and 9 in the second position indicates an urban postal code, serviced by letter carriers or community mail boxes. A “0” indicates a rural postal code serviced by rural route drivers and/or postal outlets.

The third character describes the exact area covered of a city, town or other geographical area.

In urban areas, the Local Delivery Unit may indicate a single street side, a single building or a large-user. In rural areas, these three digits identify a specific settlement.

Metadata containing postal code formatting rules, exceptions and regular expressions can be acquired External

Canada - Postal code format graphic

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Canada - Postal code format

Canada - Postal code specifics

Canada - Postal code regular expression

\A(A|B|C|E|G|H|J|K|L|M|N|P|R|S|T|V|X|Y)[0-9](A|B|C|E|G|H|J|K|L|M|N|P|R|S|T|V|W|X|Y|Z)( )[0-9](A|B|C|E|G|H|J|K|L|M|N|P|R|S|T|V|W|X|Y|Z)[0-9]\Z

Postal code level of coverage

3

Canada - Postal code map

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Place names in Canada

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Canada Post prefers that the settlement name used be the official one. However, to please the recipients I advise the use of the correct language form for the person being addressed, especially in Québec province. For French language names, respect diacritic marks - use Montréal rather than Montreal, Québec rather than Quebec and so on.

Refer to Exonyms in Canada for full lists of place names in Canada in other languages.

Alternate place name forms/postal code tables can be acquired at http:www.grcdi.nl/settlements.htm External

Other language place name data can be acquired at http://www.grcdi.nl/otherlanguageplace.htm External

image St-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Québec. The only place name in the world containing two exclamation marks.

Canada - Administrative districts

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Canada consists of 10 provinces External and 3 territories. These are:

    Alberta External
    British Columbia External
    Manitoba External
    New Brunswick External
    Newfoundland and Labrador External
    Northwest Territories External (territory)
    Nova Scotia External
    Nunavut External (territory)
    Ontario External
    Prince Edward Island External
    Québec External
    Saskatchewan External
    Yukon External (territory)

Administrative districts graphic

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Telephone numbers in Canada

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All Canadian telephone area codes (from abroad) have a length of 3 digits. Subscriber numbers are 7 digits long. Area codes are based on city or region and landline, mobile or VOIP numbers cannot be distinguished from one another. The area codes 500, 533 or 600 are mobile numbers only.

Tables of telephone number information/formats can be acquired – see http://www.grcdi.nl/telephone.htm External

Properties with value Canada


Every effort is made to keep this resource updated. If you find any errors, or have any questions or requests, please don't hesitate to contact the author.

All information copyright Graham Rhind 2017. Any information used should be acknowledged and referenced.