Parcel Services Shipping within Canada
What Is Parcel Services Shipping within Canada?
Parcel Services Shipping within Canada is for people who need to ship documents, packets and parcels which must be deposited in Canada for delivery in Canada. The following products are available:
Canada Post’s Parcel Services are also available with an Agreement. Contract customers must consult their Parcel Services Customer Guide to obtain detailed information. Contract customers may also visit canadapost.ca/parcelservices for a list of support documents or call a Commercial Service Network representative at
1-866-757-5480 for general information.
Prepaid products are flat-priced, postage-included, which can be purchased in advance and used as required.
- Prepaid envelopes are available for Priority and Xpresspost services.
- Prepaid labels are available for Priority, Xpresspost and Expedited Parcel services.
- Flat rate boxes are available at post offices. They cannot be purchased online or through Direct Ship.
See Section 3.1 Size and weight - Prepaid products for more information.
Xpresspost Certified is a service for sending documents that captures the recipient’s signature on delivery of the item. It is only available to contract customers who have a Parcel Services Agreement.
Canada Post has designed a Customer Guide to give customers detailed information needed to get the most from Canada Post’s Xpresspost Certified service. Customers may also visit canadapost.ca/postalservices under Parcel Services for a list of support documents detailing Xpresspost Certified requirements or call the Commercial Service Network at 1-866-757-5480 for general information on Products and Services.
Any item is considered unacceptable if:
- it is or contains any dangerous substance or article prohibited by law or defined as a dangerous good it does not meet the size and weight specifications for this service
- it may soil, taint or damage mail or mail equipment, expose a person to danger or emit offensive odours
- it contains food perishables or live animals that do not meet applicable shipping requirements
- it is improperly prepared or insecurely packed or wrapped.
Canada Post will not deliver:
- offensive articles that contain sexually explicit material
- any information relating to bookmakers, pool-setting, betting or wagering or unlawful schemes, or
- any item related to schemes to defraud the public.
The customer has the responsibility of ensuring that the contents meet all current applicable requirements and the item(s) can be shipped under Canadian legislation, including but not limited to the:
Prohibitions or restrictions on the acceptance of certain articles for mailing may apply (refer to Non-mailable Matter
of the Canada Postal Guide
Size and Weight
Each item must meet the following size and weight specifications:
Girth = (height x 2) + (width x 2)
Individual items deposited weighing over 22.7 kg must bear an Overweight Parcels sticker (33-086-456).
For an odd-shaped non-rectangular item, measurements are taken at the widest points. Weight and measurement are governed by the Weights and Measures Act and Regulations and its Terms and Conditions. Visit www.mc.ic.gc.ca for details.
A surcharge will be applied to all Oversized items. An item is considered oversized if:
- it has any dimension exceeding one metre (39.4 in.), and/or,
- it measures more than 76 cm (30 in.) along its second longest side.
An item is considered out-of-spec if it exceeds our maximum size or weight specifications (see Table 1: Size and weight).
A surcharge will be applied to an out-of-spec item that comes into the possession of Canada Post. At any point in time, the item may be refused or returned to the shipper. The item may be delivered at the sole discretion of Canada Post and additional fees may be applied.
Size and weight - Prepaid products
Size and weight - Prepaid products
Value Packs are available for Xpresspost service, it includes a discount (sold in bundles of four), and are available in Standard and Letter size.
There are three ways to order prepaid envelopes and labels, (minimum order quantities apply):
- visit canadapost.ca/order
- call Customer Service at 1-866-607-6301
- contact a Canada Post representative.
Prepaid labels must be ordered in advance, as they need to be overprinted with the customer’s name and address and are only available to customers who have signed a specific Agreement for prepaid products.
Prepaid labels cannot be used on - Oversize or Unpackaged items, items to Air Stage offices, or items to Nunavut, Northwest Territories or Yukon regions.
Flat rate boxes are available at post offices. They cannot be purchased online or through Direct Ship. No discount is available for this product.
How we define “Regional” and “National”
Regional: For use between points within the same region (e.g.: Vancouver to Winnipeg).
National: For use between regions within Canada (e.g.: Vancouver to Halifax).
To obtain information on pricing*:
Acceptable proofs of payment and methods of payment for consumers and Solutions for small business customers using Parcel Services Shipping within Canada. Some restrictions or conditions may apply.
For more information, see Paying For Your Mailing.
Delivery Standards at a Glance
Delivery standards are the number of business days Canada Post is committed to delivering an item, although delivery can take place earlier. On-Time Delivery standards are guaranteed for certain services. An overview of the Parcel Services Shipping within Canada delivery standards is as follows:
Priority service is not available from/to Air Stage offices. On-Time Delivery Guarantee for Xpresspost, Expedited Parcel and Flat rate box is not available from/to Air Stage offices.
Delivery standards are measured from the next business day after deposit to the first delivery attempt; a one-day standard means delivery on the next business day. For all services, holiday and weekend deposits are considered as being deposited on the following business day. Items deposited after the last collection time specified on the street letter box or after the post office cut-off time are considered as being deposited on the next business day. Delivery standards are subject to change without notice.
Delivery standards do not apply to redirected or returned items, to improperly packaged or prepared items nor to incorrectly addressed items. Delivery standards apply but are not guaranteed to items shipped using a Return Service label.
For more information, visit Section 4 of Delivery Standards of the Canada Postal Guide.
Features and Options
A feature is provided automatically as part of the basic service. For certain features, there may be a fee. An option is a service enhancement that is not included automatically as part of the basic service.
All options must be selected at the time of shipping to ensure they are properly captured and linked to the unique tracking number. Options may be selected when using Canada Post’s Electronic Shipping Tools (EST), Snap Ship, or or by affixing an additional label or sticker on the shipping label. Most options are available for an additional fee.
For a full definition of any of the Features and Options listed, see Section 7.1.
Features and options
Features and Options Definitions
On-time Delivery Guarantee
Canada Post offers replacement service or credit equivalent to the shipping charges, if the sender’s shipment is not delivered on time, as measured against the published delivery standards, in accordance with the Terms and Conditions. See the applicable Terms and Conditions at canadapost.ca/generalterms for more information.
Regular Parcel service does not offer an On-time Delivery Guarantee. On-Time Delivery Guarantee is not available for Xpresspost, Expedited Parcel and Flat rate box from/to Air Stage offices.
Tracking Events and Services
Tracking and Delivery Confirmation
Our advanced tracking technology allows you and your customers to know the status of barcoded items, regardless of their destination. You can choose to receive delivery status updates automatically by email and have these updates sent to your customers.
You can view the progress of each of your barcoded parcel deliveries through our system anytime online; each item-tracking event is logged and displayed through our online tracking system for one year. You can view and print a Delivery Confirmation online for up to one year once your parcel is delivered. A hard copy of a Delivery Confirmation is also available up to seven years through Customer Service.
Visit canadapost.ca/track or call Customer Service at 1-866-607-6301.
At the time of label creation, a unique tracking number is assigned to each parcel item. Canada Post tracks items as they travel through the delivery network. Label creation and tracking events may occur when:
- a shipping label is created electronically using Canada Post’s Electronic Shipping Tools (EST), Snap Ship, Ship Online or a customer-developed /third-party shipping system;
- an item is picked up from the customer’s location by Canada Post or dropped off at a Canada Post site;
- the item is sorted in a major Canada Post facility;
- the item approaches the final stages of the delivery process and is sent out for delivery with our delivery agents;
- the item is ready to be picked up at one of Canada Post’s facilities for large volume receivers;
- the item is successfully delivered or is deemed undeliverable and returned to sender;
- a delivery attempt is made, but the recipient is not available to accept the delivery, a Delivery Notice Card is left indicating where the item can be picked up;
- a final Delivery Notice Card is issued if the item has not been picked up at the post office;
- an item is not deliverable because it was shipped to an incorrect address, or the recipient refused to accept the delivery, or, if the item is unclaimed at a post office, the shipment will be returned to the sender or sent to a secure facility for disposal;
- the shipper has made an error made in the postal delivery address, Canada Post will attempt to correct the error and have the item delivered; in the event that Canada Post is unable to determine the correct delivery address, the item will be returned to the sender;
- Canada Post has made an error in the transportation of the item causing a possible delay;
- Canada Post is experiencing circumstances beyond its control, causing a possible delay of the delivery; force majeure scans will be made in the event of:
- severe weather and natural disasters such as major snow storm, ice, unplowed streets, extreme heat, cold weather, tornado or hurricane;
- transportation delays;
- power outage in the public grid.
By email - Delivery Updates is a free option that allows customers to receive email notifications of item-tracking events as they occur. This option is available to all customers creating parcel Orders with Canada Post’s Electronic Shipping Tools (EST), Snap Ship or if “Track” is used at canadapost.ca. The customer may enter a total of four email addresses per shipment.
Delivery Updates tracking-event types include:
- Ship - Indicates that the shipment Order has been created and that the item has been given to Canada Post for delivery (only available when using EST or Snap Ship).
- Exception - Notifies you of any unforeseen delivery interruptions (e.g. items that are returned to the sender or refused, items delayed due to circumstances beyond Canada Post’s control, addressing errors, transportation errors, etc.).
- Delivery - Notifies you when the item is out for delivery, when the item is ready for pickup at a post office or when delivery (to a residence, community mailbox or parcel locker) is confirmed.
Online - Canada Post commits to providing a delivery scan event for every barcoded item that is successfully delivered or determined to be undeliverable and returned to the sender. This provides electronic confirmation of the delivery status. Upon delivery, or attempted delivery, the tracking number is scanned and the date and time are captured. This information is usually available immediately after delivery and no later than noon the next business day following delivery at canadapost.ca/track.
By phone - Through an automated phone response system by calling 1-866-607-6301.
Priority, Xpresspost and Expedited Parcel services include up to $100 Liability Coverage against loss or damage, including Prepaid products. First $100 of Liability coverage must be purchased for Regular Parcel. The availability and the limits of Liability Coverage may vary according to the nature of the items being shipped and the service used. Exceptions and conditions apply. See Limitation of Liability and Guarantee at canadapost.ca/generalterms for more information.
Additional Liability Coverage
Additional liability coverage of up to $5,000 may be purchased for most shipments in increments of $100, including Prepaid envelopes and labels but excluding Flat rate boxes. With the exception of Priority service, where signature is a no-charge option, purchase of signature option is mandatory for additional Liability Coverage. All options must be selected at the time of shipping to ensure they are properly captured and linked to the unique tracking number. Certain exceptions apply. See General Terms and Conditions at canadapost.ca/generalterms for more information.
Collect on Delivery Option
Collect On Delivery (COD)
Collect on Delivery (COD) is available for domestic parcel shipments (option is not available at non-automated post office), for an additional fee. All COD item will be carded (no delivery to the door). Before the item is handed over to the addressee, the addressee or the addressee’s representative must pay the COD amount as specified by the shipper on the shipping label. After collection, the COD funds are submitted to the shipper by cheque or electronic fund transfer and may be subject to a remittance delay of 10 business days. COD is available for transactions of up to $5,000.
A shipper cannot send items that have not been requested by the addressee or use the COD option to collect funds owing to the customer (shipper) from a previous transaction. All money orders, bank drafts and certified cheques for the collected amount must be made payable to Canada Post. The shipper assumes all risks associated with payments by money order, bank draft and certified cheque.
If the addressee cannot be located, the addressee fails or refuses to pay the COD amount or a manual shipping label (33-086-397 or 33-086-414) is used, the item will be deemed undeliverable and will be returned to the shipper. Return charges will apply. The COD option fee will not be refunded. The applicable COD Terms and Conditions are available at canadapost.ca/generalterms and at the post office.
A COD item cannot be returned or refunded through Canada Post once it has been accepted by the addressee.
Should the addressee want a refund for a Collect on Delivery item, this must be arranged between the sender and the addressee.
The hold period for COD items is 15 calendar days (30 calendar days for northern addresses). Once the holding period has expired, unclaimed COD items are deemed undeliverable and returned to the sender.
The COD option is not available with prepaid products or when using a manual shipping label
(33-086-397 or 33-086-414).
By purchasing the signature option (a no-charge option for the Priority™ service), customers will ensure that a personal hand-off of the item occurs at delivery, and that there is proof of this activity. The name of the person signing is recorded as well as the signature. Signature must be selected at the time of shipping to ensure it is properly captured and linked to the unique tracking number. With the exception of Priority, where signature is a no-charge option, purchase of signature option is mandatory for additional Liability Coverage.
If the addressee refuses to give their signature, the delivery agent indicate “SIGNATURE REFUSED” for item-tracking purposes. Before the item can be handed over, the delivery agent will capture the first initial and last name of the customer. This process varies for items shipped by Xpresspost™ Certified; if the addressee refuses to sign for the item, the Xpresspost Certified item will be sent back to the original shipper (Return to Sender).
When the signature is collected at the door: When someone answers the door, the delivery agent will collect the signature and the signatory name, and hand off the item. Signature items will not be delivered to children. If there is no answer at the door, the delivery agent will leave a Delivery Notice Card in the addressee’s mail receptacle that directs the addressee to the designated post office to pick up the item.
When the signature is collected at the post office: Only the addressee or their authorized representative can pick up an item with Signature at the post office.
The addressee must present one valid piece of government-issued photo identification that indicates the same address as on the item. Visit canadapost.ca/postalguide under Policies for details.
If an individual is picking up an item addressed to another individual, they must present one valid piece of government-issued photo identification and one of the following:
- a Delivery Notice Card or a copy of the Delivery Notification email signed by the addressee with the printed name of the individual authorized to pick up the item; or
- a legal document demonstrating their authority to act on behalf of the other individual, for example, power of attorney, appointment as trustee; or
- a letter of authorization.
If a co-habitant is picking up a parcel at the post office on behalf of someone living at the same address, one valid piece of government-issued photo identification with the same address as the address on the item will be required. If the piece of identification does not indicate the address, proof of residence will be required (e.g. a utility bill).
If you require a hard copy of the name and signature of the person who signed for the item, Canada Post offers this option by contacting Customer Service at canadapost.ca/support, provided that the Signature option is selected at the time of shipping.
Proof of Age (18) or (19)
Available for a fee to Solutions for Small Business cardholders or commercial shippers who use a Canada Post-approved electronic shipping system. The “Proof of Age” option ensures that, when the receiver appears to be less than 25 years of age, a photo identification proving age will be requested and the signature and name of the signatory will be recorded. The item will only be handed over to a person with an acceptable identification (ID) proving the required age (18 or 19) selected by the customer as part of the Proof of Age option.
As the legal age for certain goods may differ by province or territory, it is the customer's responsibility to ensure that the appropriate age is selected under the Proof of Age option.
Flexible Delivery Options
Solutions for Small Business™ cardholders
The following free of charge flexible delivery options are available to Solutions for Small Business cardholders when using Canada Post‘s Electronic Shipping Tools (EST) or Snap Ship (excluding Ship Online):
Leave At Door (Do not Card)
This option is only available for items that are usually delivered to the door. A delivery attempt will be made at the door. If no one is available and the item fits, it will be left in the addressee’s mail receptacle. If the item does not fit or the mail receptacle is full and there is a safe-drop location (an appropriate safe place where the item is sheltered from the weather and not seen by passers-by), the item will be safe-dropped. A Safe Drop Card indicating the location of the safe-drop will be left in the addressee’s mail receptacle at the time of delivery. If safe-drop is not possible, a Delivery Notice Card will be left, and the item will be available for pickup at the designated post office.
This option only changes the delivery process for items where a delivery attempt is made at the door. The item will be left in the addressee’s mail receptacle. If the item does not fit, a delivery attempt will be made at the door. If no one is available to receive the item, a Delivery Notice Card will be left, and the addressee will be able to pick up the item at the designated post office.
Card (Hold) for Pickup
This option is ideal for shipments containing temperature sensitive items. A Delivery Notice Card will be left for the addressee and the item will be forwarded to the designated post office. The addressee or a representative is required to show one valid piece of government-issued photo identification when picking up the item. No delivery attempt will be made at the door.
Deliver to Post Office
Deliver to Post Office is a delivery option available through Canada Post's Web Services (not available in Snap Ship as a delivery option). The option allows the customers online consumers the choice to have their items(s) delivered using Xpresspost or Expedited Parcel services to a post office of their preference and convenience. Canada Post has an extensive network of secure post office facilities, which also makes this option ideal for high-value or temperature-sensitive items. No delivery attempt will be made at the door.
An automated email notification is issued to the addressee once the item is delivered to the post office, advising that the parcel is ready for pickup. If the item is not picked up after five days the addressee will receive a second email and a phone message reminding them to pick up the item.
The addressee or a representative will be asked to show one valid piece of government-issued photo identification at the post office for authentication. After 15 days, if the item has not been picked up, it will be returned to the originating address indicated on the shipping label.
The following free of charge flexible delivery option is available to Non-contract customers.
FlexDelivery is an exclusive Canada Post service that allows customers the option to have online purchases delivered to a post office of their choice (not available in Snap Ship as a delivery option). Customers complete a free, one-time, online registration at canadapost.ca/flexdelivery and choose their preferred post office locations. They receive a FlexDelivery address to use for each location and their unique identification number. Customers purchase online using their FlexDelivery address as their delivery address. The merchant (who accepts deliveries to Post Office Boxes) ships the item.
PO BOX 99900 MJ 123 456
RPO CANADA POST PL
OTTAWA ON K1V 2R3
A First Notice email is issued to the addressee once the item is delivered to the post office, advising that the parcel is ready for pickup. If the item is not picked up after five calendar days the addressee will receive a Final Notice email and a phone message reminding them to pick up the item.
The addressee or a representative will be asked to show one valid piece of government-issued photo identification at the post office for authentication. After 15 calendar days, if the item has not been picked up, it will be returned to the originating address indicated on the shipping label.
Scheduled Pickup is available to Solutions for Small Business cardholders using a credit card as the method of payment for parcel services. Scheduled Pickup service is suited to more frequent shippers that require pickup service on three or more days per week per location. Scheduled Pickup is available on business days and may be arranged at a mutually agreed time, ensuring efficient deposit of your parcels into Canada Post’s delivery network.
Scheduled Pickup fees are based on the customer’s total annual parcel shipping purchases per pickup location. A flat weekly fee makes it easier to plan and budget, particularly if shipment volumes fluctuate from week to week. There are two Scheduled Pickup fee levels:
Annual (12 months) parcel shipping purchases include parcel shipping and associated option fees, but exclude pickup fees and taxes.
Canada Post will review each customer’s parcel purchases annually per pickup location to determine the customer’s pickup service availability and associated fees. Shipping purchases of U.S.A. and international Parcel Services can be consolidated with shipping purchases of Canadian parcel services to determine the customer’s weekly fee.
On-Demand Pickup services are available to Solutions for Small Business cardholders (paying by credit card).
There is no minimum volume requirement when arranging a Canada Post On-Demand Pickup. A pickup fee per stop will apply. Pickups can be arranged up to five business days in advance or on the same business day, provided the request is made before the local call-in cut-off time.
Third-Party On-Demand Pickup
Third-Party On-Demand Pickup service is available to Solutions for Small Business cardholders (paying by credit card).
Third-Party On-Demand Pickup allows customers to authorize a Canada Post pickup at a third party location or alternate address. Customers can arrange for the additional pickup locations themselves or provide their seven-digit Canada Post customer number to their third-party, authorizing the third-party to arrange for On-Demand Pickup service.
To arrange an On-Demand Pickup or Third-Party On-Demand Pickup, customers may contact Customer Service at 1-866-607-6301. Visit canadapost.ca/pickup
for areas where Canada Post offers pickup services and for call-in cut-off times.
A parcel will be treated as a Return to Sender item when one or more of the following conditions exist and the parcel has been unopened:
- the item is refused or endorsed as moved or unknown (occupant)
- the item is unclaimed by the receiver
- the delivery address is incomplete or does not exist
- the item is an originating outgoing item and does not bear a parcel return service label
- a manual Collect on Delivery (COD) shipping label (33-086-397 or 33-086-414) is used.
Canada Post attempts to deliver all parcels. However, in the event that delivery cannot be completed, the parcel is returned to the originating address on the shipping label. If the item remains unaltered, the Return to Sender shipping fees are equal to the price paid for the original shipment, less features and options. All associated Return to Sender shipping fees are the responsibility of the customer and are based on the greater of the actual weight or volumetric equivalent of actual weight. All on-time delivery guarantees are voided on Return to Sender items.
Return to Sender items are refused by the shipper (customer) are treated as undeliverable and disposed of or recycled at the customer’s expense, as per Canada Post’s policy on undeliverable items (for example disposal, shipping and all other applicable charges).
Labels and Documentation Required
Items must bear a barcoded label or a barcoded label along with an identifier label, as well as the destination and return addresses. There is no identifier label for Regular Parcel service.
Priority identifier label (33-086-386)
Xpresspost identifier label (33-086-572)
Expedited Parcel identifier label (40-076-589)
All items must conform to the packaging requirements of Canada Post, and must not contain dangerous or prohibited materials. Items that are improperly packaged, labelled or that lack proper documentation may be subject to delay or may be refused and returned at the customer’s expense.
Customers who deposit unpackaged items (not of a size or shape suitable for wrapping such as, pails, tires, etc.) must pay an Unpackaged Items Surcharge.
The Oversize Surcharge and Unpackaged Items Surcharge are never combined. If a customer pays the Unpackaged Items Surcharge, then the Oversize Surcharge is waived and vice versa.
A surcharge will be applied to mailing tubes that are cylindrical in shape.
A surcharge will be applied to all unpackaged items. An item is considered unpackaged if, but not limited to the following:
- it is not fully encased in an outer shipping container (e.g. corrugated cardboard box),
- it has excessively loose packaging,
- it is of irregular, cylindrical or round shape (whether or not wrapped in plastic or cellophane) (e.g. tire, carpets)
- the contents of the item protrude outside the surface area/packaging (e.g. mufflers, tailpipes).
Proper packaging is the sole responsibility of the shipper.
The Flat rate box contents must fit within the defined dimensions allowing for the flaps to seal properly. The shape or size of the Flat rate box cannot be altered.
For specific packaging requirements, see ABCs of Mailing of the Canada Postal Guide.
All items must bear a legible mailing address and a Canadian return address including the correct Postal CodeOM, a Canada Post authorized barcode, proof of payment, and (if applicable) a service identifier. See Addressing Guidelines for more information.
If any addressing deficiency causes a delay in delivery of an item, the service guarantee will not apply.
Canada Post provides the following options for the deposit of items:
- Post Office: during advertised hours of acceptance. Visit canadapost.ca or call Customer Service at
1-866-607-6301 to locate the Canada Post approved postal facility.
- Street Letter Box: prepaid products and items processed and paid (by credit card or supplier account) through Electronic Shipping Tools or Ship Online, may be deposited into a street letter box (excluding Priority™ items), if size permits.
It is unacceptable to deposit Priority™
items in street letter boxes, parcel receptacles or other such mail receptacles. The On-time Delivery Guarantee shall not apply to items deposited in such receptacles.
Canada Post provides the following options for the delivery of items within Canada:
- In rural areas, when the mail receptacle is either a community mailbox, group mailbox or a rural mailbox, a delivery attempt is made at the door when the door is within 0.5 km of the line of travel. Otherwise, a Delivery Notice Card2 is left in the addressee’s mail receptacle.
- A Delivery Notice Card is used to show that the item is available for pickup at a nearby post office. A Final Notice Card is sent to the addressee if the item has not been picked up after five calendar days. The item is held at the post office for 15 calendar days, after which time it is returned to the sender.
For apartment buildings, a delivery attempt is made at the door. In buildings with an intercom, attempting to contact the addressee using the intercom is considered a delivery attempt. In cases where the elevator is out of service, the delivery agent attempts delivery wherever physically possible, taking into consideration the delivery agent’s safety and welfare; otherwise, a Delivery Notice Card is left for the addressee.
For condominiums, the security guard or concierge may sign on behalf of the customer according to the resident’s condominium agreement and the official Letter of Authorization form completed and submitted by the customer. A copy of either document must be provided to Canada Post. This authorization does not apply to items that require proof of identification.
- It is at Canada Post’s discretion to consider leaving the item in a safe-drop location, provided that the item does not require a signature or collection of funds. For an apartment building, the item may be left with the building administration personnel. A Safe Drop Card, indicating the safe-drop location, is left in the addressee’s mail receptacle.
Commercial order acceptance - What to look for