SERP (Software Evaluation and Recognition Program) is a type of postal certification, issued by Canada Post to evaluate the capacity of commercially and internally-developed third-party software to validate and correct addresses. Canada Post sets standards for the requirements used to appraise address validation software.
Canada Post offers three main types of mailing services that fall under the Address Accuracy Program – Incentive Lettermail, Addressed Admail and Publications Mail. The Address Accuracy Programs enforces all address accuracy requirements for these mailing services to keep the mail flow as efficient as possible. Incentive Lettermail is offered to large commercial customers, who regularly send large volumes of identical mail items. Meanwhile, Addressed Admail is an option available to customers pursuing direct marketing. Canada Post has more than 13 million available Canadian addresses and can generate customized mailing lists or rent any combination of the 3,000 already available ones from a list brokers. Publications Mail is a service that allows for Canadian newspapers, magazines and newsletters, serving clientele located in Canada, to stay connected to its customers.
To stay connected to customers or any individuals, companies must be able to reach them. Address validation software helps determine the percentage of accurate and deliverable addresses in an organization’s database. All organizations using Incentive Lettermail must follow the rules of the program. At least once per year, A Statement of Accuracy (SOA) is generated to determine the percentage of accurate addresses. In order to meet Canada Post’s Address Accuracy Program standards, 95% of the addresses must be valid. If the gauged results fall below this percentage, the following equation is used to make the necessary adjustments in order to qualify for the program:
Volume of Mail x (95% minus Customer’s Actual Address Accuracy %) x Maximum* $0.05 = Total Adjustment
In order to be valid, the address must be deliverable. This requires the address information to be a format coherent with the Post’s standards. Canada Post states that the number of mail items sent to incorrect recipients or addresses averages about140 million annually. To avoid this problem and be considered valid, all the address information must be written in the proper sequence, as shown below, and there should not be any punctuation. It must contain the full length name of the city. The locality province abbreviation and the postal code must both be capitalized, with proper spacing between words. In order to be deliverable, this valid address must also be placed in the top left corner of the envelope for the sender and the bottom right corner for the recipient. Everything should be left justified and the country name (Canada) must be spelled in English.
UNIT NUMBER-CIVIC NUMBER, STREET NUMBER, STREET TYPE, STREET NAME, STREET DIRECTION
LOCALITY ABBREVIATION, POSTAL CODE
*No commas in the actual address
SERP performs similar functions as the United States CASS and the Australian AMAS postal certification programs. The main goal of these types of programs is to improve the accuracy and speed of deliverability, while reducing the quantity of undelivered mail.