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Canada Post Corporation, known more simply as Canada Post ( , or simply Postes Canada), is the Canadianmarker crown corporation which functions as the country's primary postal operator. The Post Office Department of the Government of Canada was founded in 1867 and was rebranded Canada Post in the late 1960s though it officially remained the Post Office Department until October 16, 1981, when the Canada Post Corporation Act came into force. The act purported to set a new direction for the postal service, aiming to create a more reliable service and to ensure the postal service's financial security and independence.


Canada Post trucks in Edmonton

Every business day, Canada Post provides service to 14 million addresses, delivering 40 million items. Delivery takes place via traditional "to the door" service by 15,000 letter carriers, supplemented by approximately 6,000 vehicle routes in rural and suburban areas, and truck delivery of parcels in urban areas. There are 6,800 post offices across the country, a combination of corporate offices and franchises which are operated by private retailers in conjunction with a host retail business, such as a drugstore. In terms of area serviced, Canada Post delivers to a larger area than the postal service of any other nation, including Russiamarker (where service in Siberiamarker is limited largely to communities along the railroad). As of 2004, nearly 843,000 rural Canadian customers received residential mail delivery services.

On a consolidated basis, the Corporation processed 11.8 billion pieces during year 2007. Consolidated revenue from operations reached $7.5 billion and consolidated net income totaled $54 million. To compete effectively, Canada Post operates as a group of companies called The Canada Post Group. It employs 72,000 full and part-time employees to deliver a full range of delivery, logistics and fulfillment services to customers. The Corporation holds an interest in Purolator Courier, Innovapost, Progistix-Solutions and Canada Post International Limited.. In 2000, Canada Post created a company called Epost, allowed customers to receive their bill online for free (in 2007, Epost was absorbed into Canada Post).

Canada Post (French: Postes Canada) is the Federal Identity Program name. The legal name is Canada Post Corporation in English and Société canadienne des postes in French.


The first airmail delivery in 1918.

Mail delivery first started in Canada in 1693 when the Portuguesemarker born Pedro da Silva was paid to deliver mail between Quebec Citymarker and Montrealmarker. Official postal services began in 1775, under the control of the British Government up to 1851. The first postage stamp (designed by Sir Sandford Fleming) went into circulation in Canada that same year. It was not until 1867 when the newly formed Dominion of Canadamarker created the Post Office Department as a federal government department (The Act for the Regulation of the Postal Service) headed by a Cabinet minister, the Postmaster General of Canada. The Act took effect April 1, 1868, providing uniform postal service throughout the newly established country. The Canadian post office was designed around the British service as created by Sir Rowland Hill, who introduced the concept of charging mail by weight and not destination along with creating the concept of the postage stamp.

Prior to rural mail delivery, many Canadians living outside major cities and towns had little communication with the outside world. On 10 October 1908, the first free rural mail delivery service was instituted in Canada. The extension of residential mail delivery services to all rural Canadian residents was a major achievement for the Post Office Department.

The Post Office Department was an early pioneer of airmail delivery, with the first airmail flight taking place on June 24, 1918, carrying mail from Montreal to Toronto. Regular airmail service began in 1928.

The 1970s was a tough decade for the Post Office, with major strikes combined with annual deficits that had hit $600 million by 1981. This state of affairs made politicians want to rethink their strategy for the federal department. It resulted in two years of public debate and input into the future of mail delivery in Canada. The government sought to give the post office more autonomy, in order to make it more commercially viable and to compete against the new threat of private courier services. On October 16, 1981, the Federal Parliament passed the "Canada Post Corporation Act"[26859], which transformed Canada Post into a Crown corporation to create the Canada Post Corporation (CPC). The legislation also includes a measure that legally guarantees basic postal service to all Canadians. It stipulates that all Canadians have the right to expect mail delivery, regardless of where they live.

Several historical sites related to the history of the Post Office Department of Canada can be visited today. In Ontariomarker, the first Toronto Post Officemarker is still in operation. The site of the Air Canada Centremarker was once the Canada Post Delivery Building. Also notable are the Vancouver Main Post Office and the Dawson, Yukon, Post Office, a National Historic Site of Canada. In Peggys Covemarker, Nova Scotia, a nineteenth-century lighthouse acts as a seasonal post office for the tiny coastal community.

Year Description
1693 First paid mail delivery within Canada
1775 British Government begins offering mail service in Canada
1851 British provincial governments in Canada take control of mail delivery
1867 Following Confederation, Canada Post is created as a federal department
1878 Canada Post joins Universal Postal Unionmarker
1957 Dr. Maurice Levy invents the automatical postal sorter, which could handle 200,000 letters per hour.
1971 Initial implementation of the postal code
1981 Canada Post Corporation Act is passed by Parliament
1981 Canada Post is turned into a Crown Corporation
1993 Canada Post purchases a majority stake in Purolator Courier
2006 Introduction of the Permanent Stamp, a stamp that is always worth the basic domestic mailing rate. Canada Post announces plans to review whether or not to continue rural individual mail delivery services to 843,000 Canadian customers.


The Ombudman’s logo.

The Office of the Ombudsman at Canada Post was created in October 1997 as a result of the 1995 Canada Post Mandate Review conducted by an Advisory Panel appointed by the Canadian government.

The Ombudsman is the final appeal authority in resolving postal service complaints. If a complaint is not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction by Canada Post, the customer can appeal to the Ombudsman. Although the Ombudsman has no legislative power over the Corporation, the recommendations that the office makes to Canada Post can help improve company processes, amend policies and reinforce compliance with procedures.

The Ombudsman is independent of Canada Post staff and management, reporting directly to the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mrs. Nicole Goodfellow was appointed on July 14, 2008, as the third and current Ombudsman at Canada Post. The services offered by the Office of the Ombudsman are free of charge.

Mail format

Any letter sent within Canada has the destination address on the centre of its envelope, with a stamp, postal indicia, meter label, or frank mark on the top-right corner of the envelope to acknowledge payment of postage. A return address, although it is not required, can be put on the top-left corner of the envelope in smaller type than the destination address.

Official addressing protocol is for the address to be in block letters, using a fixed-pitch typeface (such as Courier). The first line(s) of the address contains the personal name and internal address of the recipient. The second-to-last line is the post office box, general delivery indicator, or street address, using the shortened name of the street type and no punctuation. The last line consists of the legal place name, a single space, the two-letter province abbreviation, two full spaces, and then the postal code. The country designation is unnecessary if mailed within Canadamarker.


the provided name is fictitious






1234 MAIN ST









Major products and services

The Corporation has a directory of all its products and services called the Postal Guide and has divided its range of services into three main categories: Transaction Mail, Parcels and Direct Marketing.

Transaction mail

The lettermail service allows the transmission of virtually any paper document. The basic rate is currently set at 54 cents for one standard letter (30g or less) and is regulated by a price-cap formula, linked to the inflation rate. The Corporation has recently introduced a “permanent” stamp that retains its value forever, eliminating the need to buy 1 cent stamps after a rate increase. The rates for lettermail are based on weight and size and determine whether the article falls into the aforementioned standard format, or in the oversize one.

The rates for services have generally been increasing above the rate of inflation. An exception is the rate for basic domestic letters for which Canada Post maintains that Canada has one of the lowest rates in the world because government regulation caps increases for this at below inflation.

Mail sent internationally is known as letterpost. It can only contain paper documents (See Light Packet and Small Packet below). The rate for a standard letter is 98 cents if sent to the United States and $1.65 if sent to any other destination.



A Canada Post delivery truck in Montreal.
Priority Tag
Canada Post offers four domestic parcel services. The rates are based on distance, weight and size. The maximum acceptable weight is 30 kg.

Four domestic parcel services
Name Annotations
Regular Parcel Delivery time ranges from 2 to 9 days depending on the destination.
Expedited Parcel Available only to business customers.
Delivery time ranges from 1 to 7 days depending on the destination.
Xpresspost Is a service for parcels and documents.
Delivery time ranges from 1 to 2 days between major centres.
Priority: Next A.M. Is a service for parcels and documents.
Provides next day service between major centres.


Light Packet
  • Compensates for the fact that goods are prohibited in the letterpost(regular mail) service.
  • Maximum weight is 500 g. Maximum dimensions are 380 mm × 270 mm × 20 mm.
  • Rates based on weight and destination (USA or international).

Small Packet
  • Air and surface services are available.
  • Maximum weight is 1 kg (USA) and 2 kg (International).

Expedited Parcel USA
  • Available for items sent to American addresses only.
  • Despite its name, does not provide any service guarantee.
  • The maximum acceptable weight is 30 kg.
  • It is cheaper than the standard international rate.

Xpresspost-USA and International
  • Provides speedy and guaranteed delivery to addresses in the United States.
  • Provides accelerated delivery to certain countries.
  • Maximum weight is 30 kg (USA) and 20 to 30 kg (depending on the international destination).
International Priority

International Parcel
  • Air and surface service available.
  • Provides delivery to countries to which Xpresspost is not available.

Priority Worldwide
  • Partnered with FedEx.
  • Delivers overnight to the US and to more than 220 countries in 2-3 business days with detailed tracking.

Direct marketing

Addressed Admail

  • Promotional mailings targeted to specific residents.
  • Minimum quantity of 1,000 articles.

Unaddressed Admail

  • Consists of printed matter and product samples that are not addressed to specific delivery addresses in Canada, but to specific neighbourhoods or cities.


  • Canada Post uses a 13 character barcode for their pre-printed labels. Bar codes consist of two letters, followed by eight sequence digits, and a ninth digit which is the check digit. The last two characters are the letters CA. The check digit seems to ignore the letters and only concern itself with the first 8 numeric digits. The scheme is to multiply each of those 8 digits by a different weighting factor, (8 6 4 2 3 5 9 7). Add up the total of all of these multiplications and divide by 11. The remainder after dividing by 11 gives a number from 0 to 10. Subtracting this from 11 gives a number from 1 to 11. That result is the check digit, except in the two cases where it is 10 or 11. If 10 it is then changed to a 0, and if 11 then it is changed to a 5. The check digit may be used to verify if a barcode scan is correct, or if a manual entry of the barcode is correct.


Although Canada Post is responsible for stamp design and production, the corporation does not actually choose the subjects or the final designs that appear on stamps. That task falls under the jurisdiction of the Stamp Advisory Committee. Their objective is to recommend a stamp program that will have broad-based appeal, regionally and culturally, reflecting Canadian history, heritage, and tradition.

Before Canada Post calls a meeting of the committee, it also welcomes suggestions for stamp subjects from Canadian citizens. Ideas for subjects that have recently appeared on a stamp are declined. The committee works two years in advance and can approve approximately 20 subjects for each year.

Once a stamp subject is selected, Canada Post’s Stamp Products group conducts research. Designs are commissioned from two firms, both chosen for their expertise. The designs are presented anonymously to the committee. The committee’s process and selection policy have changed little in the thirty years since it was introduced.

Noted stamps

  • Definitives
Queen Elizabeth II definitive stamp
  • 2005
Acadian Deportation, Polio Vaccination
  • 2000
Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer

Organizational issues

Labour troubles

Canada Post has a history of troubled labour relations with its trade unions, particularly the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the Letter Carriers Union of Canada (which merged with CUPW in 1989) culminating in periodic strike action which has brought mail service in Canada to a halt. There have been at least 19 strikes, lockouts and walkouts between 1965 and 2005 including several wildcat strikes. A number of these strikes have seen the corporation employ strikebreakers and most, since the 1970s, have resulted in back-to-work legislation being passed by the Canadian parliamentmarker.

Canada Post was also the setting for one of the most controversial labour rulings of recent years. After several prosecutions for theft at Mississauga'smarker Gateway Postal Plant, the union won a ruling from a labour board that the workers involved could not be dismissed as the length of the investigation exceeded the ten-day limit in the collective agreement under which any allegation of misconduct had to be brought to the attention of the worker. Although the ruling was reversed on appeal, the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled that although the decision may have been incorrect, it was not so totally without merit that the labour board's decision should be overturned . The court noted the language was in the collective agreement to keep supervisors from holding infractions over the head of a worker indefinitely.

Recently Canada Post had begun to emerge from its labour troubles. In 2007, it signed a 4 year agreement with CUPW without any labour disruptions. For 2007, 2008 and 2009 the corporation was named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers, as published in Maclean's magazine. In 2008, however, it endured a long strike by its administrative workers (Public Service Alliance of Canada PSAC and not Canadian Union of Postal Workers CUPW) which compromised customer service.

Rural Mail

Safety of rural mobile delivery personnel on busy roads has been an ongoing concern. Canada Post launched the Rural Mail Safety Review as rural and suburban mail carriers across the country, supported by their union, raised complaints about workplace safety. As of March 2008, there have been more than 1,400 such complaints. In some cases these union members refused to deliver mail even after Canada Post tests showed there was no undue traffic safety risk at a particular mail box. Such cases were referred to Labour Canada, who in several instances asked Canada Post to cease delivery to mailboxes. In December 2006, the Canadian government ordered that Canada Post maintain rural delivery wherever possible.


Moya Greene, Canada Post CEO, has been quoted as saying that years of under-investment to improve the company has hurt its efficiency and its financial performance. In September 2007, she estimated that modernizing the corporation would cost $2.7 billion over five to seven years for new buildings, equipment, technology and training.


Letters To Santa

Canada Post receives millions of letters addressed to Santa Claus each year, with a special dedicated postal code, H0H 0H0 (ho ho ho). About 15,000 current and retired Canada Post employees respond to each letter received on behalf of Santa in many languages including braille. Over the past 27 years more than 15 million letters were written by Canada Post volunteers. On November 9, 2008, Guinness World Records announced that Canada Post is the world record holder for most letters received and replied to by land mail.

In 2001 emails to Santa started being accepted. More than 44,000 emails were responded to in 2006.

In 1974 three Canada Post employees started to respond to mail addressed to Santa in Montreal, Quebec. In 1982, Canada Post rolled out the initiative across Canada and pledged that every letter sent in would be replied to. Canada Post also receives letters to God and on occasion, the Easter Bunny. These are answered as well. The first Santa letter to arrive at LMPP London was Wednesday June 3, 2009.


  1. Canada Post Corporation Act - Department of Justice (Canada), 1985
  2. Canada Post Corporation Act Part I Section 5
  4. Under the price-cap formula approved by the federal government in 2000, basic letter rate increases, when warranted, will not exceed 66.67% of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index from May prior to the last increase to May of the current year. Increases will be implemented no more than once a year, in January, and announced no later than July 1 in the year before the increase goes into effect in the Canada Gazette Part I.
  6. Canada's Stamp Details, pp.16-17, January to March 2005, Volume XIV, No. 1
  7. |LMPP observations answering letters since 1988 by Wayne Ray and other Canada Post employees

External links

Personnel representation

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