In Canada, banks and other financial institutions identify their branches with a unique transit number (also known as branch numbers).
A transit number is made up of five-digits and together with the institution number they form a routing number.
The transit number - five digits - shows which branch you opened your account at.
The institution number - three digits - identifies your bank.
The account number - seven to twelve digits - identifies your individual account.
Bank routing numbers are used to process cheque and electronic transactions such as funds transfers, direct deposits, digital cheques, recurring loan and bill payments.
There are two different formats for routing numbers:
Electronic Transactions Routing Numbers (ETF): 0XXXYYYYY
Paper Transactions Transit Numbers (MICR): YYYYY-XXX
where XXX is the institution number and YYYYY is the transit number.