The Last to Know: Quebec and Newfoundland

I obviously need more Canadian friends to give me the 411 on things like this, but in tracing down an ordering problem on the system today, I figured out that PayPal was resenting that “Quebec” had a state code of “PQ” (“Province de Québec”), even though that was exactly what the official database maintained by the International Standards Organization had for it as the abbreviation.

So why was PayPal’s API treating the state as invalid? It seems that sometime around 2000, Canada officially changed the abbreviation for Quebec to “QC”–and for good measure, changed Newfoundland from NF to NL (“Newfoundland and Labrador”) . The ISO database I’d loaded in some years ago was a bit outdated, it seems, and as a resident of “CA” (California) all my life, it never occurred to me that the state/province abbreviations would ever change, barring a war or civil uprising.

Garr… or, rather, C’est la vie…As the French (and French Canadians) would say. Perhaps this little bit of trivia will come in useful for someone else someday…

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