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ABCs of Mailing

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Last updated: 2014-04-07

IMPORTANT UPDATES
Last Updated Date
Description
Location
April 7, 2014
Updated requirements for lithium batteries.
January 13, 2014
Updated the Electronic Shipping Tools Technical Helpline phone number.
June 17, 2013
Clarification made to automation discount.
January 14, 2013
Transport Canada now accepts the shipping of lithium batteries by air within Canada.
The following is no longer located in ABCs of Mailing:
  • Customer Product Refunds Policy
  • Reproducing Postage Stamps
  • Markings
  • Identification Requirements
Please refer to « Policies ».
Added information on affixing shipping labels to items.

1

What Are the ABCs of Mailing

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To help ensure that mail reaches its destination safely, securely and according to the service selected, customers should plan their entire mailing. Planning a mailing includes choosing an appropriate service, accurately calculating weights and measurements and supplying proper documentation. This guide includes a roster of information to help customers meet their delivery deadlines and budget parameters.

NOTE:
Products and services are subject to the terms and conditions outlined in the General Terms and Conditions.

2

Online Shipping Applications

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Canada Post has developed innovative online tools and resources to make it easier for customers to prepare, pay for and send their items.

2.1

Consumers and VentureOne™ cardholders

2.1.1

Ship-in-a-click™

The Ship-in-a-click service allows customers to purchase and pay for Canada Post shipping services online using most major credit cards (VISA, MASTERCARD and American Express). Customers using the Ship-in-a-click service can print a shipping label from their personal computer and deposit their item in a street letter box (where size permits) or at a post office. Some restrictions and conditions apply.

The following services are available for purchase online:

  • Priority™
  • Xpresspost™
  • Regular Parcel™
  • Xpresspost™ – USA
  • Expedited Parcel™ – USA
  • Tracked Packet™ – USA
  • Xpresspost™ – International
  • Tracked Packet™ – International
  • Small Packet™ (USA and International)

Visit canadapost.ca/shipinaclick for more information.

NOTE:
Priority™ must be deposited at a post office.

2.1.2

eBay Online Shipping Tool™

The eBay Online Shipping tool gives eBay sellers direct access to Canada Post's shipping services and allows them to create, purchase and print shipping labels through eBay.ca. Canada Post services offered on the eBay Online Shipping tool include:

  • Regular Parcel™
  • Expedited Parcel™
  • Xpresspost™
  • Xpresspost™ – USA
  • Expedited Parcel™ – USA
  • Tracked Packet™ – USA
  • Xpresspost™ – International
  • Tracked Packet™ – International
  • Small Packet™ (USA and International)

Visit ebay.ca/canadapost for information on the eBay Online Shipping tool.

2.2

Contract customers and VentureOne™ cardholders

2.2.1

Electronic Shipping Tools (EST)

The EST software is free of charge and can be accessed through the Business segment of the Canada Post website at canadapost.ca/newuser. Customers must register once in the Business segment of the website to access the EST. For technical enquiries, customers can call the Technical Help Line at
1-866-511-0546.

2.2.2

Web Services

Canada Post Web Services offer shipping solutions that are easy to integrate, customize and use from the Merchants’ Web site or platform. Benefits in using Canada Post Web Services include:

  • Online stores and eCommerce site
    Provide real-time, accurate shipping prices, choice of delivery options and visibility of shipments to the shopper right from your online website.
  • Product fulfillment
    Integrate with shipping information to create labels, verify for availability pickup and more, without the need to re-enter information.
  • Customer support
    Integrate estimates and tracking capabilities into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems so contact centre agents can access information and prices.
  • Returns management
    Enable quick and easy generation of labels for product returns and repairs to provide a hassle-free returns experience for shoppers.

Visit canadapost.ca/webservices for more information on Canada Post Web Services.

3

Steps for Mailing with Canada Post

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In order to help ensure that items arrive at their final destination safely, securely and economically, refer to the specific guide for the type of service being used while keeping in mind the following checklist:

  1. Ensure the item is acceptable for mailing
  2. Package and wrap the item
  3. Address the item
  4. Weigh and measure the item
  5. Prepare the documentation
  6. Pay for the Item
  7. Deposit the Item
NOTE:
For contract customers, refer to the appropriate Customer Guide at canadapost.ca/customerguides.

3.1

Ensure the item is acceptable for mailing

The customer has the responsibility of ensuring that the contents of an item can be shipped under Canadian legislation, including but not limited to the Criminal Code, the Canada Post Corporation Act (including, in particular, the Non-Mailable Matter Regulations), the Tobacco Act, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and Regulations, the IATA (International Air Transport Association) or the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Dangerous Goods Regulations and all applicable laws.

For more information visit the following links
Canada Post Corporation Act
Non-Mailable Matter Regulations
Tobacco Act
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act
International Air Transport Association
International Civil Aviation Organization
General Terms and Conditions
Canada Postal Guide

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.

NOTE 1:
Some items cannot be insured or otherwise covered for loss or damage. These items are sent at the sender’s risk. Refer to the General Terms and Conditions at canadapost.ca/generalterms for information on liability coverage.
2:
Items must be packaged in such a way that the scent or liquid cannot be released from its container as a result of normal postal handling. Common allergen items such as peanuts, sesame seeds, tree nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts) or eggs are to be packaged properly and labelled to minimize the potential for allergic reactions.
3:
Prohibitions or restrictions on the acceptance of certain articles for transmission by post may apply (refer to International Destination Listing and Customs Requirements in the section Postal Services Information of the Canada Post website).
4:
Restrictions change from time to time, therefore the customer must ensure the contents meet all current applicable requirements. For more information on unacceptable items, visit Non-mailable Matter.

3.2

Package and wrap the item

Careful preparation and packaging helps ensure safe and secure delivery of items. Customers may visit canadapost.ca/shop to purchase packaging and wrapping materials.

Packing and wrapping methods may vary according to the item to be mailed. For example, fragile, crushable, oddly shaped, sharp, liquid, liquefiable or powder articles require special precautions. The customer is responsible to ensure the item is securely wrapped with sufficient cushioning and reinforcing material as required to prevent loss of or damage to the item, damage to postal equipment or other mail and injury to persons handling the item. Canada Post strongly recommends the use of environmentally friendly packaging only. As a guideline, the customer’s packaging should withstand a drop of approximately one meter in order to prevent potential damage or breakage.

NOTE:
It is important to ensure that there is no confusion about the identity of the contents of packages being mailed. For example, boxes and other types of packaging that have been previously used for restricted items or non-mailable matter must not be reused for mailing other goods unless they are re wrapped in a manner to cover all information that refers to restricted items or non-mailable matter. See Non-mailable Matter for more information.
Table 1: Suggested packaging and wrapping materials
Description
Types
Wrapping materials
  • double-faced or corrugated cardboard
  • bubble wrap
  • cloth
  • kraft paper
Inner containers
  • fabric bags
  • glass packaging materials (sealing liquids, powders and liquefiables)
  • cardboard cartons, metal, papier mâché or wooden boxes
  • metal tins, glass or metal tubes*
Outer containers
  • double-faced corrugated cardboard, metal and wooden boxes
  • double-faced corrugated cardboard cartons
  • metal tins
  • cardboard or metal mailing tubes*
Cushioning material
  • cardboard – folded, in layers, rolled or shredded
  • bubble wrap
  • cloth
  • cotton wool
  • natural untreated excelsior (long, thin wood shavings)
  • natural untreated sawdust and wood shavings
  • newspaper – crushed, rolled or shredded
Absorbent materials
  • cloth
  • cotton wool
  • newspapers and paper products
  • natural untreated sawdust
  • sponges
Reinforcing materials
  • cardboard
  • newspapers – flat, folded, in layers or re-rolled
Sealing materials
  • adhesives
  • screw-on and push-off cover for bottles, tins or tubes
  • spiral and ring nails or wood screws for boxes or crates
  • strapping, banding or metal reinforced tape
  • reinforced tape – acetate fiber, cloth or kraft paper
  • non-reinforced tape – cellulose, kraft paper or masking tape
NOTE:
Do not use string or any other type of cord.
*
A surcharge will be applied to mailing tubes that are cylindrical in shape. The surcharge does not apply to items shipped using Priority™ Worldwide, Small Packet™ and Tracked Packet™ services.

The customer must ensure the packaging and wrapping meet all current applicable requirements of the international destination.

The United States, among many countries, have begun the enforcement of the international phytosanitary standard for regulated wood packaging material (WPM) (e.g. crates, boxes, and pieces of wood used as supports or bracing). Most WPM must be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide in accordance with the Guidelines and stamped with an approved international mark certifying that treatment. Visit the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures website at http://www.ispm15.com/start.htm for complete details.

3.2.1

Suggestions for how to package and wrap items

The following suggestions are examples only and do not guarantee safe delivery of items.

Figure 1: Packaging fragile items (e.g. china)
  1. Wrap each item in tissue paper or newspaper.
  2. Put them into an inner container and put the inner container into a corrugated cardboard outer container.
  3. Surround with cushioning material on the top, bottom and all sides to limit movement and protect the item.
  4. Close the inner container with tape. Put the address and return address on the inner container.
  5. Close the outer container with reinforced tape.
  6. Wrap the outer container in kraft paper. Tape all seams with reinforced tape.
  7. Put the address, return address and the word “FRAGILE” on the top and on one side.
NOTE:
For pictures, including drawings, maps, charts, calendars and other articles that are mailed in a frame, the front and back should be protected with strong, rigid material larger than the frame to minimize chances of breakage. Soft, protective material should be placed between the frame and the rigid material to reduce pressure on the glass. The item must be marked “FRAGILE”.
Figure 2: Packaging perishable items (e.g. fruit)
  1. Place item in papier mâché trays.
  2. Put the trays in a heavy cardboard outer container lined with absorbent slabs.
  3. Enclose the address and return address and seal the container with reinforced tape.
  4. Wrap the outer container in kraft paper. Tape all seams with reinforced tape.
  5. Put the address, return address and the word “PERISHABLE” on the top and on one side.
Figure 3: Packaging crushable items (e.g. art prints, maps)
  1. Place the item between two sheets of kraft paper.
  2. Put the address and the return address on the kraft paper.
  3. Roll around a thick stick and tape the seam.
  4. Insert item in a mailing container and surround with cushioning material to limit movement and protect the item.
  5. Wrap the mailing container in kraft paper and tape all seams.
  6. Put the address, return address and the word “FRAGILE” on the item.
Figure 4: Packaging long items (e.g. umbrellas)
  1. Wrap the item in fiberglass insulation batt and seal it tightly with reinforced tape in several bands.
  2. Place the wrapped item between two pieces of wood and wrap it tightly with reinforced tape. The wood should be longer and wider than the item.
  3. Wrap the item in corrugated cardboard and seal with reinforced tape. Put the address and return address on the cardboard.
  4. Wrap the item in kraft paper and tape all seams with reinforced tape.
  5. Tightly wrap the item in bands of reinforced tape and put the address and return address on the top and one side.
Figure 5: Packaging sharp items (e.g. garden shears)
  1. Tightly roll newspaper around the blades and secure with reinforced tape. The newspaper should extend about 100 mm beyond the tip.
  2. Put the address and return address on a slip of paper and tape it to the item.
  3. Place the item in a corrugated cardboard outer container and surround the item with cushioning material to limit movement and protect the item.
  4. Close the container with reinforced tape and wrap it in kraft paper.
  5. Tape all seams and wrap the item tightly with reinforced tape.
  6. Put the address, return address and the words “HANDLE WITH CARE” on the top and one side.
Figure 6: Packaging liquids, liquefiable substances and powders
  1. Tighten the cap of the bottle and cover it in tape.
  2. Put the bottle into a metal inner container and surround with enough sawdust or absorbent material to absorb the liquid if the bottle should break.
  3. Close the metal container and tape the cover seam with reinforced tape. Wrap the container in strong, plastic sheeting.
  4. Tightly seal all seams with reinforced tape. Write the address and return address on a slip of paper and tape it to the plastic sheeting.
  5. Wrap the container in corrugated cardboard and tape all seams with reinforced tape.
  6. Wrap in kraft paper and tape all seams with reinforced tape. Tightly wrap the item with reinforced tape.
  7. Put the address, return address and the words “FRAGILE” and “KEEP FROM HEAT” (if appropriate) on the top and at least one side.

Liquids and liquefiable substances (e.g. cooking oil in a glass bottle) must be placed in strong, leak-proof containers that can resist shocks during processing. The container must be placed in a strong outer container made of wood, metal, heavy cardboard or styrofoam. There must be enough absorbent material between the inner and outer containers to absorb all the liquid should the package break. Liquefiable substances must be marked “KEEP FROM HEAT”. Screw-type covers should have rubber or cork washers. A friction-top cover must be fastened with metal clips or soldered.

Dry colouring powders, for example aniline blue, must be placed in a leak-proof metal box. This box must be placed in a strong metal, wooden or cardboard outer box and have enough absorbent material between the containers to prevent leakage of the contents.

Dry non-colouring powders must be placed in a strong durable leak-proof metal, wood or cardboard container protected to keep from moisture. This inner box must be placed in an outer container made of metal, wood or cardboard.

Fatty substances that do not easily liquefy must be put in a leak-proof bag or box (e.g. plastic) and placed in a strong outer container of wood or metal. If the item easily liquefies, package or wrap the item as a liquid or liquefiable substance.

Latex paint and tubes of artist’s paint must be packaged according to the specifications for liquids. Metal containers with friction lids that mechanically seal the lids, must be fastened with metal rings to prevent accidental removal of the lids during transit. A separate container must be used to ship each four-litre can. Four one-litre cans of latex paint can be shipped in one container but each can must be separated by durable separators.

Film containers must be strong enough to prevent loss or damage to the contents.

Magnetic tapes must be protected from being accidentally erased by wrapping the items in lead foil and marking the item “MAGNETIC TAPE”.

Scented items (including samples) must be sealed to prevent the scent from escaping.

NOTE:
Perfumes and toiletries with an alcohol base are considered dangerous goods (flammable liquids) and are therefore prohibited from the mail stream. See Non-mailable Matter for more information.

3.2.2

Requirements for how to package and wrap specific items

3.2.2.1
Eggs

All of the following requirements must be met when packaging eggs:

  • must be individually wrapped and protected, using enough cushioning material and wrapping to stop the eggs from hitting each other or the outer container
  • must be enclosed on end in a strong box made of wood, papier mâché or other rigid material
  • the box must be covered with a tight-fitting lid and marked “EGGS”
  • eggs can be shipped using the following services: Priority, Xpresspost, Expedited Parcel or Regular Parcel
  • all items are mailed at the customer’s risk.
3.2.2.2
Live day-old chicks

All of the following requirements must be met when packaging live day-old chicks:

  • must be free from disease
  • may be mailed within Canada, from March 1 to October 31, provided the mailer has entered into an Agreement with Canada Post (regardless of the volume shipped) prior to mailing and has met Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations including the following:
  • hatcheries must be registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Hatchery Program. A copy of the “Permit to Operate a Hatchery” issued to the customer by the CFIA must be provided for Canada Post’s records in order for the customer to be granted a contract to ship day-old chicks
  • live day-old chicks can only be shipped if they can be delivered within 36 hours from the time of mailing
  • chicks must be properly prepared for mailing (i.e., the boxes used by a hatchery for the marketing of chicks must be clean and strong, provide adequate ventilation for the chicks and have new chick box pads).

Canada Post strongly recommends that the customer place a noticeable label on each package stating:

“LIVE DAY-OLD CHICKS. THIS SIDE UP. HANDLE WITH SPECIAL CARE. DO NOT WATER OR FEED IN TRANSIT. DO NOT PLACE IN MAIL BAG OR COVER WITH OTHER MAIL MATTER. DO NOT PLACE NEAR HOT PIPES, STOVES OR RADIATORS. DO NOT EXPOSE TO COLD WINDS OR HOT SUN. PLEASE PROTECT FROM EXTREMES OF HEAT OR COLD. PLEASE DISPATCH AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE AND DELIVER TO THE ADDRESSEE PROMPTLY ON ARRIVAL AT OFFICE OF DESTINATION.”

  • live day-old chicks must be shipped by surface using Expedited Parcel* with the designated article number 8731 on the manual Manifest
  • all items are mailed at the customer’s risk.
*
Live day-old chick shipments cannot be counted towards the customer’s total volume for their Parcel Agreement commitment. These particular shipments are considered an independent offering and are subject to their own volume commitments and prices.

Visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website at inspection.gc.ca for additional information.

3.2.2.3
Liquid and dry patient specimens (human or animal)

Liquid and Dry Patient Specimens are mailable through the Priority™, Xpresspost™, Expedited Parcel™, Regular Parcel™, Lettermail™ and Business Reply Mail™ services.

Customers must apply the following directives when designing their package:

Patient specimens (human or animal) that have a minimal likelihood of containing infectious pathogens must be packaged appropriately to further minimize the risk of exposure [see International Air Transport Association (IATA) rules outlined in the IATA guide for packaging requirements]. Specimens being tested for contagious pathogen such as HIV or the flu virus are unacceptable. Specimens that are being tested for Cancer cells or something similar are acceptable. Exempt human or animal specimens must be packaged and marked according to the following:

  • a leak-proof primary receptacle
  • a leak-proof secondary packaging; and
  • an outer packaging of adequate strength for its capacity, mass and intended use, and with at least one surface having minimum dimensions of 100 mm x 100 mm.

For liquids, absorbent material in sufficient quantity to absorb the entire contents must be placed between the primary receptacle and the secondary packaging so that, during transport, any release or leak of a liquid substance will not reach the outer packaging and will not compromise the integrity of the cushioning material. When multiple fragile primary receptacles are placed in a single secondary packaging, they must be either individually wrapped or separated to prevent contact between them.

The item must be marked “EXEMPT HUMAN SPECIMEN” or “EXEMPT ANIMAL SPECIMEN”, as appropriate.

If the customer wishes to determine whether their envelope/packaging meets Canada Post’s shipping guidelines, they may submit a sample of the packaging to the following address for testing:

CANADA POST
MAIL STANDARDS AND TESTING
NATIONAL EQUIPMENT ENGINEERING
2701 RIVERSIDE DR SUITE N0625
OTTAWA ON  K1A 0B1

Biological specimens that are infectious or contain pathogen cannot be mailed under any circumstances.

3.2.2.4
Live small cold-blooded non-poisonous animal specimens

All of the following requirements must be met when packaging live small cold-blooded non-poisonous animal specimens:

  • must be free from disease
  • must be mailed via Expedited Parcel or Regular Parcel services and shipped between April 1 and October 31
  • all items are mailed at the customer’s risk; no coverage for loss or damages is available for this type of mail
  • all shipments must be clearly identified with the notation “LIVE SMALL COLD-BLOODED NON-POISONOUS ANIMAL SPECIMEN”
  • must be dropped off at a Canada Post facility
  • must only be mailed if the expected delivery time is within 3 consecutive business days (excludes weekends and statutory holidays)
  • must be less than 25 cm in size
  • must not require food, water or attention during handling in the mail
  • must not emit obnoxious odours (examples of accepted creatures are: worms, frogs, salamanders, lizards, snails and tadpoles)
  • Snakes, turtles, baby alligators and caimans are not acceptable, nor any warm-blooded animals.

For additional information, visit the Health of Animals Regulations at: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/C.R.C.,_c._296/page-36.html#h-70.

3.2.2.5
Parasites, leeches and insects

All of the following requirements must be met when packaging parasites, leeches and insects:

  • must be free from disease
  • must be mailed in safe and secure boxes
  • the contents must be easily identifiable on the box
  • parasites and leeches can only be shipped by surface and therefore Expedited Parcel service or Regular Parcel service must be selected to transport them
  • all items are mailed at the customer’s risk.

Visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website at inspection.gc.ca for additional information.

3.2.2.6
Bees

All of the following requirements must be met when packaging bees:

  • must be free from disease
  • must be packaged in a safe and secure box or tube that is covered with a fine mesh screen, as per industry standards, to prevent breakage or leakage during transit and handling
  • the contents must be easily identifiable on the container
  • all items are mailed at the customer’s risk; no coverage for loss or damage is available for this type of mailing.

Visit the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) Live Animal Regulations website at iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/live-animals/Pages/index.aspx or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website at inspection.gc.ca for additional information.

In addition, for:

Honey bees

  • honey bees can only be shipped using the domestic Regular Parcel service.

Queen bees and their attendants

  • the contents must be easily identifiable on the container (label with “QUEEN BEES AND ATTENDANTS”)
  • no honey is permitted to travel in the container with the queen bee and her attendants
  • queen bees and their attendants (maximum of eight) must be shipped by Priority™ service for domestic mailings and Xpresspost™ – USA for mailings to the United States.
3.2.2.7
Cremated remains

Must be shipped by surface using either Regular Parcel, Expedited Parcel or International Parcel services.

All of the following requirements must be met when shipping cremated remains:

  • the remains must be enclosed in an urn or in another receptacle with a lid that is cemented or sealed closed
  • breakable receptacles must be protected with packaging material
  • the receptacle must be inserted into a durable sift-proof metal container, wooden box at least 1 cm thick or plastic (polypropylene) box which is securely closed and sealed with reinforced tape
  • the package must be accompanied by a certificate of cremation issued by the appropriate authority which must be enclosed in a plastic envelope attached securely to the top of the parcel
  • the destination and return address information must be correct and complete.
NOTE:
Prohibitions or restrictions on the acceptance of certain articles for transmission by post may apply (refer to International Destination Listing).
3.2.2.8
Batteries

As a general rule, most batteries such as AA, AAA, C and D used in consumer electronic products can be accepted for shipping (this rule can only be applied to lithium batteries when specifications below are adhered to).

Lithium batteries
All of the following requirements must be met when packaging Lithium Batteries. They must:

  • be shipped within Canada
  • not be damaged, defective or recalled.
Table 2: Lithium Battery Acceptance
 
Domestic Parcels Air or Surface
Domestic Parcels Surface Only
USA Parcels
International Parcels
Installed in Equipment - (Maximum of 4 cells or 2 batteries - No Lithium Battery Handling Label)
 
Not Accepted
Not Accepted
Installed in Equipment - (More than 4 cells or 2 batteries - Lithium Battery Handling Label Required)*
 
Not Accepted
Not Accepted
Packed with, not Installed in Equipment - Lithium Battery Handling Label Required*
 
Not Accepted
Not Accepted
Packed with, not Installed in Equipment - Lithium Battery Handling Label Required*
 
Not Accepted
Not Accepted
*
Must meet the conditions outlined in Special Provision 34 (2) of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. (As a general rule, lithium batteries used to power electronics such as; music storage devices, cameras, cellular devices and laptops would meet these conditions).
NOTE 1:
Lithium batteries may be shipped by air ONLY when they are installed in a device.
2:
Lithium batteries on their own or packed outside of a device must be shipped by surface product only.
3:
Lithium batteries and devices containing lithium batteries cannot be shipped to the United States or International Destinations.

3.3

Address the item

To avoid unnecessary delays in delivery of your mail items, follow these addressing guidelines:

  • the address should ideally be printed in uppercase
  • Postal CodesOM should be printed in upper case with the first three elements separated from the last three by one space. Do not use hyphens. If the Postal Code is not formatted in this manner, the mail may be delayed
  • the municipality, province or territory and Postal Code should always appear on the same line, and it should be the last line within a domestic address block. There should be one space between the municipality and the province or territory, and two spaces between the province or territory and the Postal Code. If this line in the address block becomes too long, the Postal Code may be placed on the last line by itself
  • characters in the address block should not be underlined
  • punctuation should not be used unless it is part of a proper name, such as in “ST. JOHNS’s” Accents are not considered to be punctuation and may be used
  • the # symbol or the French equivalent no should never be used as part of the address
  • the return address should be formatted in the same fashion as the destination address, however it cannot be printed in a larger font and must be clearly separated from the destination address. Acceptable locations include the top-left corner or on the back of the item along the top.

The following format applies to all addresses whether they are written directly on the packaged item or written on a label affixed to the item.

JOHN JONES
MARKETING DEPT
10-123 MAIN ST NW
MONTRÉAL QC  H3Z 2Y7

Tables of abbreviations and symbols can be found in Addressing Guidelines.

3.4

Weigh and measure the item

The cost of shipping an item is calculated in part using its size and weight. Rectangular or square parcels, and bundles of newspapers, magazines or catalogues are measured by determining length, width, height or girth, as applicable.

Volumetric weight is charged when items of any shape are large in size and light in weight. The shipping price is based on the greater of the volumetric weight or the actual weight.

To determine if an item meets volumetric weight requirements and to calculate the correct postage, please follow this procedure:

  1. Determine the volume - Find the volume using the largest facing surfaces, length is the longest dimension and width the shortest. Height is measured at right angles to the largest surface. Girth is the distance around the item, measured at right angles to the length. These measurements are shown in Figure 7.

For a square, rectangular or mailing tube, calculate the volume by multiplying:
length (A) x width (B) x height (C). For an odd-shaped non-rectangular item, measurements are taken at the widest points.

Figure 7:
  1. Determine the volumetric weight - Find the volumetric weight in kilograms, divide the volume of the item (in cubic centimetres, as calculated in step 1) by a cubing factor of 6,000 cubic centimetres.

For the volumetric weight in pounds, divide the volume of the item (in cubic inches, as calculated in step 1) by a cubing factor of 166 cubic inches.

  1. Determine the actual weight - Weigh the item to determine it’s actual weight in kg or lb.
  2. Determine the shipping price -The shipping price is calculated using the greater of the volumetric weight or the actual weight. The actual weight cannot exceed 30 kg.
NOTE:
A surcharge will be applied to mailing tubes that are cylindrical in shape. The surcharge does not apply to items shipped using Priority™ Worldwide, Small Packet™ and Tracked Packet™ services. Cylinder shaped packages generate high processing costs due to their unique shape. Customers are encouraged to use other non-cylinder shaped containers (e.g. triangular shape) to avoid the surcharge.

Example calculation of weight vs. volumetric weight

In the following example, an Xpresspost item measures 100 cm x 60 cm x 40 cm and weighs 22.7 kg.

Length (A)
x
Width (B)
x
Height (C)
=
(volume)
100 cm
x
60 cm
x
40 cm
=
240,000 cm3
240,000 divided by 6,000 = 40 kg (volumetric weight)

The volumetric weight is greater than the actual weight. Therefore, the shipping charge will be based on the volumetric weight of 40 kg.

NOTE:
The customer is responsible for submitting to Canada Post accurate measurements for each item for rating purposes. The measurements submitted on the Bill of Lading or on the electronic or hard copy of the Manifest will be the greater of the actual weight or volumetric weight. The item may be reweighed and cubed by Canada Post (or FedEx, in the case of Priority™ Worldwide items). Reweighing and cubing are done on government-approved equipment. When an item is cubed, the dimensions provided are the dimensions of the smallest hexahedron* within which the item can be contained. When Canada Post detects that an item’s actual or volumetric weight as declared by the customer is different than the actual or volumetric weight, the customer’s invoice will be adjusted as applicable.

For rating purposes, an item weighing less than 750 g will be rounded up to 750 g; an item weighing more than 750 g is rounded up to the nearest half kilogram. When no weight is indicated on the shipping documentation and the item is not reweighed by Canada Post, Canada Post reserves the right to charge a default weight of 5 kg (11 lbs) that applies to each item shipped by any service. Customers that do not complete and submit all the documents necessary for the service when required or if the documents submitted are not accurate, the items contained in those shipments will be manually billed and shipping charges will be determine based on default weights and destination information.

If the dimensions and weight of any returned parcel cannot be determined, Canada Post reserves the right to charge based on a default weight of 1 kg for Domestic Parcel Services and 750 g for prepaid envelopes and labels.
*
A hexahedron is a geometric solid or box consisting of six plane rectangular sides.

3.5

Prepare the documentation

Proper shipping labels must be applied to the item and completed order documentation (i.e. Manifest, Bill of Lading) must accompany the item. All shipping labels should be produced according to Canada Post’s manufacturing specifications and should be compliant at all times. These specifications exist to ensure that barcodes can be scanned and that items can be processed using our mechanized sorting equipment.

Some services do not require labels or documentation. For more information, consult the appropriate service in the Canada Postal Guide, if mailing outside of Canada, see International Destination Listing and Customs Requirements.

NOTE:
For contract customers, refer to the appropriate Customer Guide at canadapost.ca/customerguides.

3.5.1

Affixing the shipping label to your item

  • The shipping label must be visible and affixed flat and wrinkle-free to the largest side of the item; it must not wrap around the edges of the item or be applied in any manner that makes it difficult to scan the barcode. For more examples, visit canadapost.ca/shippinglabels
  • Avoid placing the label over a seam or box closure
  • Do not cover the label with strapping or reflective material such as tape
  • For prepaid products specifically, ensure labels are applied straight, flat and wrinkle-free within the area indicated at on the back of the envelope
  • Labels for cylindrical tubes must be affixed lengthwise so that the sides of the barcode point towards the ends of the tube in order to facilitate barcode scanning.

3.5.2

Barcoded shipping labels

Customers using Ship-in-a-click™ can print their own shipping label. Otherwise customers must bring their items to the post office to obtain a barcoded shipping label.

Affix the address shipping label to the item, ensuring that all the following requirements are met:

  • the label must be affixed flat to the largest side of the item so as to ensure the barcode can be easily scanned
  • the label must not be covered with reflective material such as tape and must not be folded over an edge of the parcel
  • the label and if applicable other shipping documentation can be inserted into a plastic pouch (labelope) for protection purposes
  • the barcode must be of good quality so that it can be read by postal equipment.
NOTE 1:
Labelopes can be obtained by contacting Customer Service 1-888-550-6333.
2:
A Business Reply Mail address must not be used for Parcel services.
3:
Only Canada Post approved barcoded shipping labels are acceptable for Parcel shipments. Approved barcoded labels can be ordered through the online Business Centre at canadapost.ca/obc or by calling Customer Service at 1-888-550-6333.

3.5.3

Order (Bill of Lading)

Orders (Bills of Lading) are available only with overprinted customer information by calling Customer Service at 1-888-550-6333. When using a domestic Bill of Lading, it is not necessary to use a Manifest or a shipping label, as a shipping label and Bill of Lading are one and the same.

NOTE:
When paying by postage meter impression, affix the postage meter impression to the back of the Data Entry copy. On the front of the Order (Bill of Lading), check off the Paid by Meter box and enter the total meter amount.

Visit canadapost.ca/domesticbol for detailed instructions on how to complete an Order (Bill of Lading).

3.5.4

Additional documentation for contract customers and VentureOne™ cardholders

3.5.4.1
Order (Manifest)

Customers must prepare an Order (Manifest or Bill of Lading), except when using EST online version [see Order (Bill of Lading)]. Shipping information can be created and transmitted using EST (see Electronic Shipping Tools (EST) for more information). The customer number and the agreement number are required on all Orders (Manifests or Bills of Lading). For prepaid products, a Manifest is not required unless the quantity shipped is to be considered for the customer’s scheduled pickup weekly volume, or if additional options are selected.

Customers may prepare an Order electronically, using EST, an approved shipping system developed by a third-party or one that is developed by a customer or manually using a hard copy Order (Manifest or Bill of Lading) provided by Canada Post. Customers who electronically submit a Manifest and apply a Canada Post readable barcode to their mail items can benefit from a discount. Also, items (other than Priority™) processed with the online version of EST only, may be deposited into a street letter box if they fit. The shipping label generated by the online version of EST acts as the Manifest and will indicate “NO MANIFEST REQUIRED”. Therefore these shipping labels allow for street letter box deposit for specific products.

Two printed copies of the Order (Manifest) prepared electronically, or the original of a manually prepared Order (Manifest or Bill of Lading), must be provided with every parcel order at the time of induction (pickup or deposit) to an authorized Canada Post representative at a postal facility approved by Canada Post or to an authorized Canada Post driver for customers who have scheduled pickup. All items on an Order form are subject to weight, volumetric weight, quantity, product type and service option verification by Canada Post and will be adjusted as necessary. Mailings will only be accepted once proper documentation is completed and provided.

Order (Bulk Manifest)
The Bulk Manifest (33-086-565) can be used for:

  • prepaid products with options
  • COD items not prepared using an electronic shipping tool
  • U.S.A. and International items.

For prepaid products, enter the total quantity shipped in box J of the Bulk Manifest.

For COD items, affix the service designator (e.g., Xpresspost service) to the COD form. Attach the form with each item and submit with the Bulk Manifest.

NOTE:
When paying by postage meter impression, affix the postage meter impression to the back of the Data Processing copy. On the front of the Bulk Manifest, check off the Paid by Meter box and enter customer’s meter serial number.

For detailed instructions on how to complete a Bulk Manifest, visit canadapost.ca/bulkmanifest.

3.5.5

Customs documentation

All mail containing merchandise destined for outside of Canada must have a Customs Declaration form (see Section 1.1.1 of Customs Requirements. The Customs Declaration forms part of the Canada Post shipping label and also includes the address and sender names and addresses.

4

Pay for the Item

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The methods of payment are indicated by the service used. Refer to the appropriate service.

NOTE:
For contract customers, refer to the appropriate Customer Guide at canadapost.ca/customerguides under Paying For Your Mailing.

5

Deposit the Item

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Items may be deposited as indicated by the service used. Refer to the appropriate service.

NOTE:
For contract customers, refer to the appropriate Customer Guide at canadapost.ca/customerguides under Paying For Your Mailing.



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