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Mail and Postal Services

Canada’s national mail service is called Canada Post. It is a crown corporation, founded in 1867, and the country’s primary postal operator. Canada Post operates five days a week, Monday to Friday.

In Canada, letters are addressed:

Mr. John A. Smith (recipient)
Manager, Marketing Department (Title, Floor, etc.)
ACME Productions Ltd (Company)
10-123 Main Street NW (Address line 1 – a hyphen is placed between unit/suite/apartment number and the street number)
Toronto, Ontario M4B 1B4 (City, Province, Postal Code are all on one line)
Canada (Country – only indicated if mailing internationally)

Return addresses are indicated in the front, upper left corner of envelopes and packages.

Mail Service

Including street letter boxes, community mail box sites, retail outlets, rural lot-line boxes, etc. there are more than 900,000 possible points of access to Canada’s postal system.

Depending on where you live, mail is delivered to a mailbox at your door, or to a community mailbox site. At centrally located community mailbox sites customers are provided with a key to a secure mailbox. These collection points are more common in rural areas.

Mail may be posted at red, street side Canada Post mailboxes or Post Offices.

Regular parcels and letters are delivered within 2 to 9 business days (Monday to Friday). Canada Post also offers international parcel and mail delivery services.

Canada Post offers a free mobile app for iPhones, Androids, and Blackberrys.

Post Offices

There are 6,500 Post Offices throughout Canada. These are a combination of Canada Post run Post and retail outlets, such as convenience stores.

Post offices are closed on national, provincial, and territorial holidays. There is no regular collection or delivery of mail on these days.

To find your local Post Office use Canada Post’s online locator service.

Postal Codes

Postal codes in Canada follow an alternating letter numeral format: A#A #A#.

To search for a postal code you can use Canada Post’s Postal Code Finder.

Prices

Postal rates in Canada are based on weight, distance, and size of letter/parcel.

As of this writing, stamps for postage of a letter within Canada cost $0.61 each. Stamps for the postage of a letter to the USA cost $1.05 each, and to all other international destinations, cost $1.80 each. Stamps are available to purchase from Canada Post Offices and outlets at various convenience stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.

Stamps are available to purchase as individual stamps, booklets of 10 stamps, or rolls of 50 or 100 stamps.

Post Office Boxes

You can rent a Post Office Box (PO Box) through Canada Post. PO Boxes are locked compartments located in Post Offices. PO Boxes come in five different sizes, and can be found at 4,600 locations throughout Canada.

To rent a PO Box you must present a government issued photo ID, an agreement form, and rental fee. Fees vary depending on location and size of box.

Change of Address

If you are moving within Canada you can change your address with Canada Post to permanently redirect your mail from your old address to your new address. You can purchase change of address services for 6 or 12 months.

Change of address fees are $235 within the same province for 12 months, $295 outside of the province for 12 months, and $695 to the USA or internationally.

Mail Holding

Canada Post can hold mail for you while you are away from your home or business for 2 weeks or more. Held mail is delivered to you upon your return. Mail holding costs are $40 for the first 5 days and $7.50 for each additional weekday.

Mail Redirection/Forwarding

If you are temporarily relocating your business or residence and planning on returning to your old address, Canada Post can temporarily redirect your mail to your current address for $85 per month within the province, $105 per month to another province, or $200 per month to the USA and internationally.

ePost

Canada Post has partnered with over 100 businesses and companies throughout Canada to provide the ePost system. These companies may send bills, flyers, account statements, pay stubs, or other correspondence to your ePost box. Using ePost you can also connect to online banking services to pay bills.

Money Orders

Canada Post also offers postal Money Orders, which can be purchased in Canadian and US dollars at Post Offices throughout Canada. The maximum amount for Money Orders is $999.99. Money order fees are $6.50 for orders destined for Canada and the United States.

Canadian, American, and certain international Money Orders can be cashed at banking facilities and Post Offices in Canada.

Money Grams

Canada Post has partnered with MoneyGram to offer money gram services, allowing you to send funds securely without a bank account or credit card. Fees vary according to country of destination. MoneyGram services are available at more than 6,000 Post Offices throughout Canada.

Letters to Santa Claus

Canada Post receives millions of letters addressed to Santa Claus each year. These letters have a dedicated postal code: H0H 0H0.

Since 1982, around 15,000 current and retired Canada Post employees respond to each letter personally on behalf of Santa, in a variety of languages.

In 2001, emails to Santa starting being accepted and responded to in the same manner.

By Jess Gerrow, who traded city life in Canada for island life in the Mediterranean two years ago. She is a postgraduate marketing student, blogger, and freelance writer.