What is a Routing Number in Canada?

This Page's Content Was Last Updated: January 24, 2023
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What You Should Know

  • A routing number consists of a 5-digit transit number and a 3-digit institution number
  • Bank routing numbers are used to process cheques and electronic transactions.
  • It can be found on cheque books and other bank documents.
  • The format of routing numbers can differ, based on whether the transaction is by cheque or electronic medium.

What is a Routing number?

A routing number is an important piece of information that is used to identify a financial institution in Canada. It is used to identify the location of a bank or credit union and is required when making financial transactions.

The routing number consists of two things: the 5-digit branch number (also known as transit number), which identifies the account opening branch and the 3-digit financial institution number, which identifies the bank. From the above figure, 00002-003 at the bottom of the cheque leaf is the routing number, where 00002 is the branch/transit number and 003 is the financial institution number.

These details can be found at the bottom of personal cheques. A routing number is used as an identifier for the bank or financial institution in a monetary transaction. Within Canada, the routing number is used by banks, credit unions and trust companies to process cheques and electronic transactions such as

  • Digital cheques
  • Funds transfers
  • Bill payments
  • Direct deposits
  • Recurring loans

In Canada, routing numbers are assigned to each financial institution by the Canadian Payments Association (CPA). The CPA is responsible for the oversight and regulation of the payment system in Canada. They are responsible for ensuring that all transactions are secure, efficient and cost-effective. The CPA assigns a unique routing number to each financial institution, which is used to identify the institution in the banking system.

How is the routing number different from transit number and account number?

An account number is a 7–12 digit number which is associated with a bank account. This number is unique to one’s account: it is an identifier for electronic funds transfer systems to determine where to withdraw or deposit the money. An account number along with a routing number would be needed to complete any automatic payments. The account number and routing number are used together to identify the correct bank account to withdraw or deposit the amount.

Each branch of a financial institution is assigned a unique transit number for identification purposes. The format of the transit number may vary as per institution.

When to use a routing number?

Routing numbers are used for a variety of purposes, including making electronic transfers, ordering cheques, setting up direct deposits and automatic payments and making payments through telephone or online banking. They are also used to identify the financial institution in the banking system. When making a payment, the routing number is used to ensure that the money is sent to the correct financial institution. If the wrong routing number is used, the payment may not be received and the sender may not be able to recover the money. It is important to double-check the routing number before making a payment.

Routing numbers are also used to identify the type of account that is being used. For example, some routing numbers are used to identify chequing accounts, while others are used to identify savings accounts. This ensures that payments are sent to the correct account type. Routing numbers are also used to verify the identity of the sender or recipient of a payment. For example, some banks require customers to provide the routing number of the bank that holds their account in order to complete a transaction. This helps to prevent fraud and unauthorized payments.

In addition to being used for payments and transfers, routing numbers are also used for other banking services. For example, when signing up for online banking, customers may be asked to provide their routing number in order to set up their accounts. This helps to ensure that the customer is accessing their own account, rather than someone else’s.

How to find your routing number with and without a cheque?

The most common place to find a routing number is at the bottom of your personal cheques. The numbers at the bottom are your cheque number, routing number and account number.

In the absence of cheques, the routing number can be found on your bank statement, deposit slips, or on the bank’s website. One can also try contacting the bank by phone or in-person to get details. One can also find void cheques or direct deposit forms from online banking accounts to find your routing number, or some banks will have the routing number in their account details section. The routing number is also available on the CPA website. The website lists the routing number for each financial institution in Canada.

For retrieving the routing numbers, use the FIF file under payments.ca -

Listing out routing numbers of a few branches of the banks across different cities in Canada,

BankRouting NumberBranchAddressCityProvince
RBC08743-003Atl Bus Bkg Marketing & Sales
1871 Hollis St-Suite 900,
180 Wellington
St W
TorontoON
RBC06939-003WPG Mb-MREP SALES MGR-A
1550 St Marys Rd
CalgaryAB
RBC09150-003Van - *CSM* ICBC
1055 W Georgia St-6th Flr,
c/o Global Bkg Service Ctr
VancouverBC
RBC03041-003Succursale Riviere des Prairies
7945 Maurice Duplessis
MontrealQC
RBC03413-003Spring Garden & Summer Branch
5855 Spring Garden Rd
HalifaxNS
CIBC06152-010Trillium Terminal 3
(Toronto International Airport),
Box 3003
TorontoON
CIBC01309-010Sunridge Mall
2525 - 36th St. N.E.
CalgaryAB
CIBC03010-010Hastings & Penticton Banking Centre
2602 East Hastings St.
VancouverBC
CIBC01021-010CB Henri-Bourassa et Ste-Colette
5373 boul. Henri-Bourassa E.
MontrealQC
CIBC00903-010Coburg Place Professional Centre
6389 Coburg Rd.
HalifaxNS
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