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Stamp Selection Policy

Canadian stamps are recognized internationally to be among the finest in the world. The general public, special interest groups, and collectors take a keen interest in stamps because they serve as a reflection of our nation, have educational value and offer beautiful designs. Because issuing postage stamps is an integral part of its business activities, Canada Post wishes to continue to foster the development of interesting and innovative stamps that have broad appeal, while doing so in a fiscally responsible manner

The purposes of this policy are to outline how stamp subjects and designs are selected and to invite the participation of all Canadians.

This policy is relevant to anyone who may want to recommend subjects to be featured on Canadian stamps.

The Policy

Canada Post welcomes all Canadians to participate in proposing stamp subjects.

Canadians may submit suggestions for subjects to be used on stamps. Each year, Canada Post’s stamp program consists of about 20 broad subjects or themes covering some 40 to 50 individual stamps. The Board of Directors approves the stamp program.

A national Stamp Advisory Committee guides Canada Post in selecting stamp subjects and designs. The committee is made up of leading Canadians from across the country selected for their general historic, design or philatelic knowledge. The Committee evaluates all suggestions received based on their contributions to celebrating and promoting Canada—our heroes, our leading personalities, our heritage, our traditions and our achievements, as well as their potential to appeal to Canadians. In addition, Canada Post makes every effort to maintain regional and cultural balance in selecting subjects and designs so that stamps appropriately reflect all aspects of our nation.

Canada Post commissions Canadian designers to create stamp designs for the subjects selected. Stamp designers are selected for their demonstrated skill in both graphic arts and miniaturization, and for their potential to create new and innovative (for example, holographic) stamps. Designers’ imaginations are restricted only by the size of the final artwork. The Stamp Advisory Committee reviews and recommends to Canada Post approval of the design and content of individual stamps.

Making Suggestions for Stamp Subjects

To allow for the time needed to review the many suggestions received, conduct the research and selection process, and design, produce and promote stamps, those who wish to propose stamp subjects should submit their suggestions a minimum of two years before the beginning of the desired year of issue. Annual stamp programs close in the summer of the year before the stamps are issued. This is an important consideration for those suggesting subjects related to anniversaries or other time-sensitive events.

Suggestions should include a brief description of the subject, its importance in the Canadian context, and any significant anniversaries or upcoming events. Canada Post treats voluntary submissions of artwork as subject suggestions only. Some time must pass before topics already covered are repeated.

Stamp Designer Selection Process

Canadian stamps portray a wide range of work by many of Canada's best graphic designers, painters, illustrators, photographers and visual artists. The design of stamps requires a high degree of design expertise, artistic judgment and technical knowledge. In fact, Canada Post normally commissions more than one designer for each stamp subject to increase the potential for design innovation.

Canadian professional designers and artists whose work demonstrates the high standards required for stamp design may submit a professional résumé accompanied by a portfolio of their work. Portfolios should be in digital format or in the form of not more than one page of 35mm colour slides. Submitting a portfolio does not oblige Canada Post to offer a commission to the person making the submission.

Submissions should be sent to:
Director of Stamp Products

Canada Post acknowledges all submissions it receives. Canada Post may retain submissions for an indefinite period for future reference and consideration; it is not responsible for returning portfolios and submissions.

Criteria for Evaluating Suggestions for Stamp Subjects

Suggestions are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Appeal to broad segments of the Canadian population, encouraging Canadians of all ages to buy and collect stamps
  • Relate primarily to Canada and are of national significance, for example, they
    • evoke Canadian history, traditions, accomplishments or natural heritage
    • illustrate the social, cultural, political or economic life of Canada
    • commemorate people (generally after their death) - their work, their birth or an event in their lives - to recognize outstanding contributions to Canada
  • Enhance the high regard for Canadian stamps and Canada in Canadian and international philatelic circles

All stamp subject suggestions should be directed to:

Chairperson of the Stamp Advisory Committee


Canada Post acknowledges all suggestions it receives. A copy of the public announcement of the subjects chosen for the annual stamp program is also sent to all those who suggested subjects related to that year's program.

Where to Find Additional Information

Director of Stamp Products