Routing number (Canada)
A routing number is the term for bank codes in Canada. Routing numbers consist of eight numerical digits with a dash between the fifth and sixth digit for paper financial documents encoded with magnetic ink character recognition and nine numerical digits without dashes for electronic funds transfers. Routing numbers are regulated by Payments Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Payments Association, to allow easy identification of the branch location and financial institution associated with an account.
A routing number consists of a five digit transit number (also called branch number) identifying the branch where an account is held and a three digit financial institution number corresponding to the financial institution. The number is given as one of the following forms, where XXXXX is the transit number and YYY is the financial institution number:
A leading zero is used when formatting a routing number for electronic payments.
Each branch in a financial institution is assigned a unique transit number for identification. The format of the transit number may vary by institution. Most institutions use the transit number and branch number synonymously; however Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Canada Trust) uses four-digit branch numbers, reserving the final digit of the transit number for the geographical location of the branch:
XXXX0for British Columbia and Yukon
XXXX1for western Quebec, including Montreal and surrounding areas
XXXX2for southern Ontario, including Toronto and surrounding area
XXXX3for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland
XXXX4for New Brunswick
XXXX5for eastern Quebec and Labrador
XXXX6for eastern Ontario, including Ottawa and surrounding area
XXXX7for Manitoba and north-western Ontario
XXXX9for Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut
Therefore, a (fictional) routing number
45676-004 would indicate that the associated account is held at a TD Canada Trust branch (number 4567) located in eastern Ontario.
While some other institutions use the same or similar patterns for the last digit of the transit number, it is not applied consistently. For example, all transit numbers for Bank of Montreal in Newfoundland and Labrador end in "1", while those for Scotiabank in that province end in "3" (including for branches in Labrador) instead of the split used by TD. Meanwhile, RBC also uses four-digit branch numbers, but these include the last digit, with the transit numbers instead being padded with leading zeroes (and only a handful of non-branch transits using a leading "1" instead). While some older branches happen to adhere to the pattern above, it has been abandoned for many newer RBC branches, apparently in order to limit its branch transit numbers to four digits.
Financial institution numbers
A selection of institution numbers for major Canadian financial institutions is below.
Directories of routing numbers
Payments Canada maintains the Financial Institutions File (FIF), an electronic directory of routing numbers for all financial institutions in Canada. The FIF is updated weekly and is operated as a fee-based subscription service to member institutions of Payments Canada.
A companion free-of-charge directory, the Financial Institutions Branch Directory (FIBD), is also operated by Payments Canada for occasional referencing by the general public. The FIBD is only available in PDF format and cannot be imported into business applications.
- International Bank Account Number
- ABA routing transit number, American bank code format
- Bank State Branch, Australian bank code format
- Bankleitzahl, Austrian and German bank code format
- New Zealand bank account prefix
- Sort code, British and Irish bank code formats
- Not a member of Payments Canada
- Not affiliated with President's Choice Financial's former consumer banking operations. PC Financial's bank accounts were operated by CIBC so all accounts used CIBC's 010 institution number. Following the end of PC Financial and CIBC's joint venture, all PC Financial consumer bank accounts were transferred to Simplii Financial.
- "Financial Institutions Branch Directory (Banks - Numeric List)" (PDF). Payments Canada. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
- "CIBC takes over banking business from PC Financial, renames bank Simplii". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
- "Financial Institutions File". Payments Canada. 11 August 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- "Financial Institutions Branch Directory". Payments Canada. 12 August 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2018.