Forward Sortation Area—Definition

A forward sortation area (FSA) is a way to designate a geographical unit based on the first three characters in a Canadian postal code. All postal codes that start with the same three characters—for example, K1A—are together considered an FSA.

The Forward Sortation Area consists of the three first chacarters of a postal code

Each character in an FSA code provides information:

  • The first character is a letter that identifies the province or territory (although Nunavut and the Northwest Territories share the letter X). For Ontario and Quebec, this first character further identifies a particular part of the province: for example, G identifies Eastern Quebec, H Metropolitan Montréal, K Eastern Ontario and M Metropolitan Toronto (see map).
  • The second character is a numeral that identifies whether the area is urban or rural. A zero indicates a wide-area rural region, while all other digits indicate urban areas.
  • The third character is a letter that, in combination with the first two characters, identifies a more precise geographic district—a specific rural region, an entire medium-sized city or a section of a major metropolitan area.
First character of the FSA code

First character of the FSA code

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

Note: The regions are defined by Canada Post Corporation.