KeyContact'sGlossary of Mailing Terms

A glossary of terms gathered by Canada Post


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is mail preparation?

Mail preparation is the process of facing and containerizing the mail and identifying the containers. This ensures the machine-ability of the mail, protects the physical condition of the mail, promotes ease of handling and identifies the type of mail.

2. What are the size restrictions for addressed admail?

The sizes for addressed admail range from a minimum of 90 mm X 140 mm X .18 mm with no minimum weight to 270 mm X 380 mm X 20 mm with maximum weight of 500 grams.

3. What is Addressed Admail?

See Addressed Admail

4. What is mail pre-sortation?

See Mail Pre-Sortation


Addressed Admail

Direct Mail items, sent to a personalized customer list, that allow you to increase sales, create awareness, encourage product sampling and improve customer loyalty. Addressed Admail™ service is used by businesses of any size and in all sectors, to find new customers, keep existing ones and encourage them to spend more.


Refers to the family of Canada Post products that are primarily used for advertising by mail.

Advertising Brochure (Publications Mail)

A thin collection of unbound, stapled or press-pasted printed pages displaying a sampling of products or services for sale (which may include prices and item numbers). Learn more about Publications Mail™ Enclosures.

Advertorial (Publications Mail)

An advertising piece that is formatted to look like a newsletter or other host publication in order to attract readers' attention. Learn more about Publications Mail Enclosures.
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Base Price (Publications Mail)

The price corresponding to the base weight.

Base Weight (Publications Mail)

The initial weight step for pricing purposes.

Booklet (Publications Mail)

A thin collection of unbound or bound printed pages between flexible covers whose content is related to the editorial content of the host publication.

Bound (Publications Mail)

Pages that are sewn, stapled or glued together.

Bulk Mail

An expression used in postal facilities to describe a quantity of mail.


A specific number of same-sized mail items tied or bundled together. A bundle is also mail banded together according to mail preparation requirements.

Bundle Label

See Facing Slip.

Bundle of Unaddressed Copies (Publications Mail)

Two or more copies of the same host publication (and any enclosures) wrapped or tied together in a bundle for delivery to a news dealer or other bulk receiver at a single address.

Business Reply Mail (BRM)

Business Reply Mail™ is a service that improves consumer and business responses to solicitations. Available in envelope, card and label format, Business Reply Mail is an easy and efficient way for customers to send information and materials back to the sender—at no expense to them.

Business Reply Mail Consumer

A person who uses a Business Reply Mail card, envelope or label to respond to a Business Reply Mail customer.

Business Reply Mail Customer

A person who enters a Business Reply Mail agreement and obtains the approval of Canada Post to distribute envelopes, cards or labels that meet the requirements for Business Reply Mail.
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Bound printed matter containing a listing of items arranged in alphabetical or systematic order, with details of products or services for sale and which may include prices and item numbers. Catalogues typically contain an index or table of contents and/or the word "catalogue" or "catalog".

Clear-wrapped (Publications Mail)

Completely enclosed in a secure plastic wrapper, which is transparent or has a transparent window clearly displaying the required addressing and identifying information.

Co-mailing (Publications Mail)

Mailing 2 separate host publications in the same item. Co-mailing is not permitted for Publications Mail.

Co-packaging (Publications Mail)

The inclusion of an Addressed Admail item or Lettermail™ item within a Publications Mail item, or 2 or more host publications (including all acceptable enclosures) being sent to the same recipient within a single item.

Current Issue (Publications Mail)

The most recent issue of a newspaper or periodical.
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Delivery Area

Area to which mail delivery service is provided from any postal facility or service such as an individual letter carrier, rural route or postal route.

Delivery Cycle

The time required to deliver Unaddressed Admail™ items to your targeted area once it has been received at the local delivery office (installation).

Delivery Mode

A delivery mode refers to the methods by which customers receive their mail. Examples of delivery modes are: • Letter Carrier Route (LCR) • Call For (CF) • Direct (DIR) • General Delivery (GD) • Rural Route (RR) • Postal Box (PO BOX) • Suburban Services (SS) • Mobile Route (MR)

Delivery Office (Installation)

The location where the final mail sort happens, before items are taken out for delivery.

Dimensional Addressed Admail

Dimensional Addressed Admail consists of bigger, more eye-catching Direct Mail pieces that are sent on a targeted and personalized basis. Some examples include product samples or promotional merchandise.

Direct (DR)

Delivery of bagged and/or bundled mail to customers receiving high volumes on a regular basis.

Directory (Publications Mail)

Printed matter of bound or spiral-bound pages comprised of an alphabetical or classified listing of names, addresses and/or other data, usually with an index and often with page tabs.

Double Issue (Publications Mail)

Two issues of a host publication bound together as one volume.
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Enclosure (Publications Mail)

Inserted or outserted editorial and/or advertising printed matter or promotional material, which is included with the host publication. Customers often use enclosures to increase their subscriber base and to generate new leads and advertising revenue.

Extra Edition or Issue (Publications Mail)

A separate issue of a host publication published outside the normal frequency of that host publication.
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Facing Slip

A small slip of paper, pre-printed or hand-written, attached to the top of a mixed bundle to show the destination of the bundle (also known as a Bundle Label).

Forward Sortation Area (FSA)

The first 3 characters (alpha-numeric-alpha) of the Postal Code, which represent a geographic area.
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General Delivery (GD)

A service provided at postal outlets for delivery of mail to those who are: not renting postal office boxes, the travelling public, customers with no fixed address within the Letter Carrier (LC) delivery area and anyone who cannot receive mail through the normal delivery modes.
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Handbook/Manual (Publications Mail)

A book of reference or a guidebook that provides specific detailed information or instructions on a particular subject for use by a practitioner or operator. Learn more about Publications Mail Enclosures.

Host Publication (Publications Mail)

A newspaper, magazine or newsletter that is mailed as the primary Publications Mail item under a valid Agreement Number.

Householder Count/Residential and Business Counts

Delivery counts supplied by Canada Post for all urban and rural delivery modes such as Letter Carrier Routes (LCR), Postal Boxes (PO BOX) and Rural Routes (RR) etc.

Householder Mail (Unaddressed Admail)

Mail that is not addressed to specific delivery addresses in Canada but may bear wording, such as: "Householder", "Occupant", "Resident", "Business Owner", "Marketing Manager", "Purchasing Manager" or "Boxholder", without any further address. Delivery is made to every household within a defined area.


General term for the location where mail is delivered. This may be referring to a home, business, farm, or apartment.
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Identical Items (Addressed Admail)

Addressed Admail items that are the same in physical design and characteristics except that their thickness, weight and the colour of their exterior covers may vary. The return address may vary, provided that either the return address or the name/logo of the customer in the return address is constant. The dimensions and shape of the mail piece must also be identical.

Identifying Information (Publications Mail)

The descriptive basic or detailed information about the publication required for proof of payment and processing, including undeliverable Publications Mail items.

Insert (Publications Mail)

Editorial and/or advertising printed matter or promotional material enclosed within, or attached to, the pages or covers of a host publication.
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A distinct value given to individual files or records for the purpose of separating databases.
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Large Volume Mailer (LVM)

A mailer who regularly deposits an average of 100 or more pieces of mail per business day.

Large Volume Receiver (LVR)

Customer that receives an average of more than 50 pieces of mail each business day.


Facing the address side of a mail item, it is the largest dimension.

Letter Carrier (LC)

An employee of Canada Post who sorts and delivers mail to an allocated route.

Letter Carrier Route (LCR)

The area serviced by a Letter Carrier. Types of routes are as follows: • business • residential business • residential combination: a mixture of single dwellings and apartment-type residential points of call • residential high-rise: where 70% or more points of call are located in buildings containing 30 or more suites • residential single-dwelling: the points of call are primarily single dwellings and where no more than 30% of the calls are located in buildings having 30 or more suites.

Local Delivery Unit (LDU)

The last 3 characters (numeric alpha numeric) of the Postal Code, which represent a specific point or set of points of call located within the Forward Sortation Area (FSA).
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Machineable Mail Option

A mail preparation option for Addressed Admail items, Incentive Lettermail items and Publications Mail items. The type of mail is clearly identified and mail items are printed so that they can be processed more efficiently by Canada Post's automated equipment.

Machineable Mail

Mail which meets the size and physical characteristics outlined in the Canadian Postal Standards, and that can be handled during processing by mechanical equipment.

Mail Containers

Acceptable boxes, containers, or Canada Post mailbags, which are used to transport the mail to Canada Post delivery installations. Note: Containers supplied by the customer are not returned.

Mail Preparation

Physical grouping of the mail, labelling of the bundles/containers and completion of the documentation required prior to drop-off at Canada Post.

Mail Presortation Option

An option that lets customers save on postage when they prepare and/or sort their mail so that Canada Post can process it more efficiently.

Mail Presortation

Sequencing and sorting of your mailing addresses, to allow for mail preparation. This allows Canada Post to bypass various steps in the National Presortation Schematic (NPS) and process the mail more efficiently. It is usually software assisted, but can be done manually.


The combining of two or more client databases into one file. Some files may be merged then separated again for language purposes, type of inserts, number of inserts or to make a mailing over 1,000 pieces. The original files would have a Key Code appended to them for the purpose of separation.

Meter Impression

An approved impression placed on a mail item, reproduced by a printing die, which indicates that postage has been paid, the amount of the postage paid, the date and the meter number.

Metered Mail

Mail on which the required postage is paid and indicated by a meter impression.

Mobile Route (MR)

Delivery of mail to industrial parks and areas, usually by mobile, motorized transport.

Multi-Line Optical Character Reader (MLOCR)

A machine used for mail processing that reads the complete address on a properly addressed mail item and encodes the corresponding fluorescent bar code.

Multiple Samples, Promotional and Novelty items (Publications Mail)

Two or more samples and/or promotional/novelty items for the same product line or brand name, mounted on the same backing or packaged together as a chargeable enclosure, which may be separated from the host publication.
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National Distribution Guide Presort (NDG)

A mail presortation option for Addressed Admail items, Catalogue Mail™ items and Publications Mail items. This has now been replaced by the National Presortation Schematic (NPS).

National Presortation Schematic (NPS)

Formerly known as the National Distribution Guide, Part B, this Canada Post publication defines how mail is consolidated to move the mailing across Canada. It sets out the schematics required to do mail presortation to direct facilities or consolidation points.

National Presortation Schematic (NPS) Levels

The levels of consolidation as per the National Presortation Schematic (NPS). These indicate the amount of handling required from the time a mailing is dropped off, through to when it is placed in the Letter Carrier slots.
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Opaque-wrapped (Publications Mail)

Completely enclosed in a secure non-transparent envelope or plastic wrapper

Order/Statement of Mailing (SOM)

Document submitted by customers to report the mail items they are about to send. This document is then used for invoicing/accounting purposes

Outsert (Publications Mail)

Editorial and/or advertising printed matter or promotional material enclosed with, but not attached to, a host publication in a wrapper or envelope.

Oversize (O/S)

Items that exceed the basic size requirements for a particular mail service. Sizes and prices for mailing oversize items vary by service.
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Page (Publications Mail)

One side of a printed sheet or leaf.

Partial Mailing

The portion of the total mailing deposited on one of the scheduled mailing days. Each partial mailing must comply with the minimum volume per deposit requirements for the product and be accompanied by an order (Statement of Mailing) indicating the portion of the mailing; for example 1 of 5, 2 of 5, etc.


Magazines, newspapers and newsletters produced at regular intervals that contain news, articles of opinion, features and advertising. Qualifying periodicals can be sent using Publications Mail.

Personalized (Publications Mail)

Containing the name of the addressee (person the item is being sent to) plus one other piece of information relating to that individual. Types of personalization include: address, unique membership number, account balance, points record, financial information, purchase history. Learn more about Publications Mail Enclosures.

Phantom Pricing

An option that allows customers to send less than the required volume of mail needed to access a particular service or postage rate. Note: With phantom pricing, customers pay the base price for the difference between the number of pieces they send and the minimum requirement.

Point of Call

An existing or planned business or residence where mail can be delivered.

Postal Box / Post Office Box (PO Box)

A PO Box is a locked compartment within a postal office, to which only the assigned customer and the postal office's Postmaster have access. It provides a convenient and secure way to receive your mail.

Post Office

A place authorized by Canada Post for the posting, receipt, sortation, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.

Postal Code

A six-character alphanumeric combination (ANA NAN) assigned to one or more postal addresses in a specific delivery area (e.g. M4B 1G5). It is an integral part of every postal address in Canada, which is used to identify the various processing/delivery facilities and Post Offices.

Postal Indicia

Markings on a mail piece (such as a stamp or meter impression) showing that postage has been paid by the sender. The bilingual indicia must include: • the Canada Post logo • product type • Customer Number • Registration Number (Publications Mail only) • Agreement Number (Publications Mail only) Note: Postal indicia are not accepted on Unaddressed Admail items.

Promotional and Novelty Item (Publications Mail)

Non-personalized item used to promote a brand name, a product or service. A Promotional and Novelty item may be an actual product provided that it is intended as a trial to be used, displayed or worn by the reader of the publication. Some examples of Promotional and Novelty items include: small articles of clothing, pens, trinkets, date booklets, souvenirs. Learn more about Publications Mail Enclosures.

Publications Mail

A delivery service specifically designed primarily for magazines, newspapers and newsletters. Note: To qualify as Publications Mail, the mailing must meet a number of specific requirements.


(i). Dupe Elimination – the removal of identical names and addresses from client Databases.

(ii) Kill File – the removal of unwanted names from client databases by comparing the mailing lists to another list (kill file) provided by the client.
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Postage charged per unit of measurement on the various types of mail (also referred to as Price).

Renewal Notice (Publications Mail)

Printed notification, which may be personalized, to a subscriber about the status of their subscription and options for renewal of the host publication. Renewal notices may also contain subscription offers for the host or other publications or may be for requalification of request subscriptions.

Report (Publications Mail)

A printed document which describes the findings of some individual or group on a single subject. Learn more about Publications Mail Enclosures.

Residue Bundle (Unaddressed Admail)

A term used during mail preparation. All the bundles for a single delivery office should contain an equal number of pieces—except the last bundle (called residue bundle). The residue bundle will make up the remainder of the quantity needed for that delivery office.

Residue Bundle (Addressed Admail)

Those pieces which fall into a bundle with less than 8 other pieces (the minimum for a bundle). These require more manual handling and carry a higher postage rate.

Residential and Business Counts and Maps

Residential and Business Counts and Maps help with the targeting of Direct Mail campaigns. They provide information on the counts of houses, apartments, farms and businesses throughout Canada, along with associated Forward Sortation Area (FSA) and Letter Carrier Walk (LCW) maps.

Return to Sender (RTS)

A service provided by Canada Post to the mailer (sender) when an item is undeliverable, does not bear postage, is short paid OR bears a DO NOT FORWARD endorsement and the addressee has filled a Change of Address Notification and it is still in effect.

Ride-along Publication (Publications Mail)

A complimentary, promotional copy of another title or the same title (a separate newspaper, magazine or newsletter which has not been requested) sent with the host publication with the intention of building subscription levels of the ride-along title.

Rural Area

The area to which mail delivery service is provided from a Non-Letter Carrier Post Office including rural mail delivery. Can be identified with a zero in the Forward Sortation Area (FSA).

Rural Route (RR)

System for collection and delivery of mail, and for the transaction of other postal business with customers residing along or near well defined roads in reasonably well-settled rural areas.
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Sample (Publications Mail)

Trial or trial-sized items or specimens intended to indicate the nature of the product. It may be an actual product provided that it is intended as a trial to be used, displayed or worn by the reader of the publication. Some examples of samples include: food, personal care items and household products.


A mailable article that does not have an outer cover, wrapping or envelope in addition to the paper or material on which the communication is placed. It is in the format of a folder, consisting of one or more folded pages (not securely bound) and must be sealed on one or more sides by tabs, gummed stickers, or sealing strips to hold the leaves together.

Short and Long (S/L)

Category of mail items that conform to the Short and Long sizes.

Suburban Service (SS)

Delivery by contractor to group mailboxes, usually on or near the perimeters of urban areas.
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The dimension which is perpendicular to the address side of a mail item.

Time-Committed (Publications Mail)

A service option which may be requested by the customer for publications that are mailed relatively frequently and meet specific criteria.

Transcript of Proceedings (Publications Mail)

Formal records of institutional meetings or formal proceedings. Learn more about Publications Mail Enclosures.
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Unaddressed Admail

Consists of flyers, postcards and other Direct Mail items that are sent directly to targeted areas. Items must be unaddressed, but may bear wording such as "Householder", "Occupant", "Resident" or "Boxholder". Canada Post provides targeting options based on geographic, demographic and lifestyle information so that a campaign can be sent to neighbourhoods that have the highest potential audience.

Urban Area

Can be identified with a number 1 through 9 in the Forward Sortation Area (FSA).
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Facing the address side of a mail item, it is the shortest dimension.

Window Envelope

Envelopes with a transparent window through which the address appearing on the enclosed item may be read.
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