Canada Post Rates Rant

So I have this book that I was going to ship to Toronto. Here are the specifications:

Weight: 300 grams
Length: 210 mm
Width: 135 mm
Height: 25 mm

Shipping from Vancouver to Toronto via Canada Post Regular Parcel is $10.34 with a delivery standard of 5-10 business days. I thought that was grossly expensive for a very light, average-sized paperback novel. So I checked some other quotes:

  • Shipping from Vancouver to Florida via "Small Packet USA Surface" is only $6.65 with a delivery standard of 6-12 business days. It is both cheaper and barely slower than Canada Post's Regular Parcel service.
  • Shipping from Vancouver to Florida via "Small Packet USA Air" is only $7.90 with a delivery standard of 6-12 business days. It is both cheaper and barely slower than Canada Post's Regular Parcel service. I would expect that this Air Mail would be closer to 6 days and the surface would be closer to 12.
  • With FedEx Ground from Vancouver to Toronto it costs only $12.48 with a 4-day delivery standard (note: with a FedEx account it would be even cheaper). Only slightly cheaper than Canada Post's Regular Parcel, and a far better delivery guarantee.

Trim the package down a bit, to a height of just 20mm (instead of 25g) and a weight of about 250g (instead of 300g), about the size of another book I have here with me, and the price becomes only $2.49 from Vancouver to Toronto with Canada Post Lettermail and $2.99 to the US with Canada Post US Lettermail or $3.96 to the US with Canada Post US Light Packet. The prices suddenly change drastically even though the weight has barely changed.

Here are my observations:

  • Why is shipping to Florida cheaper than shipping to Toronto? I don't see how that can ever make sense, unless of course it crosses the border in Vancouver quickly and gets handed off to USPS and they are far cheaper than Canada Post. I wouldn't be surprised as I have read that USPS is much cheaper. Is Canada Post justified in having rates higher than USPS? If they are sending the package by truck, it could be most costly to drive to Toronto than to drive to Florida. Unless of course they drove to Toronto via the US :-)
  • Why is FedEx Ground with a 4-day delivery only 21% more expensive than Canada Post's 5-10 business day standard? Either FedEx Ground is highly efficient, or they are not charging enough, or Canada Post is highly inefficient or charging too much.
  • Why does reducing the package's volume by 20% and the weight by 17% lead to a 76% reduction in price? This does not make sense at all. Normally you would expect a letter and a small parcel to both have some fixed cost associated with the handling that needs to be done. So let's assume a fixed cost of $0.10 for the letter and $0.10 for a parcel. Let's say the letter weighs 0.1 kg and a small parcel weighs 1 kg. There should be some variable cost to send the package that is proportional to the weight to transport it. Let's say $1/kg. So the letter's variable cost is $0.10 and the parcel's variable cost is $1. So the letter costs a total of $0.20 and the parcel costs $1.10. The parcel weighs 900% more but it costs only 550% more. This makes sense, because of the fixed costs with each item. In my example, a package weight increase of 20% led to a cost increase of 315%. Doesn't make any sense to me. Either the letter is costing them more to ship than they are charging or they are overcharging for the 300g parcel.
  • I find it interesting that it is cheaper to send a 300g, 25mm book to the US than it is to ship to Canada, but for a 250g, 20mm book it is the other way around.

I think what we need is something like the small packets service in Canada. We also need some consistency in the rates. They are so many oddities and contradictions in the rates as I've pointed out above.

Some other links:


oops - misread - thought you were in Toronto, not Vancouver

Canada post needs to be dismantled and rebuilt.

1) Close it so the union lemmings can all go on EI and learn what it is to work in the real world at "REAL" wages.

2) Build new Canada post facilities beside prisons and pay the ex-cons half of minimum wage (far more than they get now)

3) Stop delivering mail to houses period. UNLESS you want to PAY for the privilege.

4) Make sure fat cat management is paid based mostly on performance and profitability.

Put me in charge, I will kick some -ass...

They need to get their heads out of their -sses and realize competition is now based on a global scale. I have to compete and deal with guys in China who can ship me a product for under $2 and still make a profit !

After years of frustration, including attempts to get Canada Post to listen to the problems of small business mailorder companies, we finally decided it is time to compile what's wrong with Canada Post in a website. Please visit and let us know what you think. If you have had any doubts about the postage rates in Canada you will see just how unfair they are for Canadian mailorder companies.

Hello, you have a very interesting blog here. I really enjoyed reading it -- Keep up the great work.

Thanks for posting this David Grant, I found it to be really helpful as we have a small business and ship things all the time. I also found some of the comments rather entertaining yet sometimes puzzling. So I suppose thanks for the laugh too!

I have many packages lost by the Canada Post. They are doing a horrible job but they demand better benefit and salary? Get real! Today I just lost a package that I bought from the state. It says item had been delivered but I never received it. The guy that I was talking to wasn't even helpful and he sounds very rude. I live in a condo and we have a policy states all packages have to go through concierge which there will be a signature as to who receive it. I asked him who received my package but the guy said there was no signature. I told him if there is no signature then the concierge did not receive it. (I have talked to the concierge to check that too) He kept repeating "the sender did not request for signature" I know that. But there is no way the Canada Post driver delivered the item without the signature of the concierge. In the end he wouldn't open the investigation for me and he said it's the sender responsibility, not me. This is ridiculous!It's Canada Post's responsibility to lost so many packages!!!!!

Am I ever glad I came across this site to discover that, like me, many Canada Post users are peeved off
Not that it will solve anything but I feel less lonely now after discovering how much it is going to cost me to send a book to New Jersey from the Montreal region.
After a long absence I have decided to resume selling ( or trying to sell...)on eBay. Just sold a book ( a miracle I believe :-( and via the Canada Post website I discover that the shipping cost is going to be $ 15,47; approx. 3 times the cost of the book in question.
I am afraid that my revived eBay experience will be short lived...
Maybe I should move closer to the US border? :-)

I agree. Their shipping is overpriced and inept at best. Just received a small packet I had shipped to a customer through a Canada Post Outlet for $3.00 on june 5th. A pair of cufflinks. I received the packet back today June 17th wanting $5.15 more. Took it back to the clerk. She said it was right, $3.00. Called Canada Post and they told me to pop it back in the mail. When I asked if I could have a guarantee it wouldn't be sent back Insufficient Postage again she said-NO. Asked her to call ahead for it to O.K. it even though she and two other postal outlets said it was fine (Even after I gave her dimensions and weight and destination and she [so called customer rep] agreed I was right) and she still ineptly refused. I was offered a refund for postage. No explanation for the 12 days it took to get back to me, the loss of a $1.00 bubble wrap envelope or the $25.00 loss of a sale for non delivery. Canada post needs to pay more attention to their customers and less time with their bumbling half-ass excuses! Poorly managed and apparently unsupervised by anyone with half a brain of business sense. I am a Union employee of the government myself (Hospital), but I can guarantee Canada Post strikes will never again be backed by this guy. It's time the government saved some real money by privatizing this lot out!

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Canadians need to know this:
Canada Post is hampering the business growth of online retailers.

What is wrong with this picture: I live in Northern BC and to get a good shipping rate I could travel 7 hours to Sumas USA, ship the 20 KG package destined for Greece with USPS and drive back 7 hours -- after the gas cost of $70.00, I will still make a profit of $15.40 compared to sending the package via Canada Post. That is $353.79 to ship via Canada Post Air for a 7 business day service, versus $268.37 for a 5 day business service provided by USPS… Another example: 20 KG shipment to England shipped via Canada Post Air (Xpresspost) will cost $353.79, while USPS is charging $166.02 for the same 5 day service – that is more than DOUBLE the cost!

I have an online business and ship wood products worldwide regularly. These are heavy products and one can see why my international customers get turned off by these outlandish shipping charges.
Since the same woods are fond in USA, one can also see how the US sellers have the upper hand and will get most of my international sales. The same is true for most anything: everything you can find in Canada you will find in USA, so how can we – Canadian online sellers – compete with USA sellers when our transactions include a shipping charge that is usually 50 to 100% more expensive? We cannot…

More than 50% of my international buyers are now choosing to consolidate their shipments in USA and have the orders shipped via USPS.
Can anyone blame them? Even with the extra shipping cost to USA, they are still saving – on average - $50.00 to $100.00 per shipment…
My case is not an exception: anyone who’s purchased an item in Canada from Ebay or Amazon will find better shipping costs posted by most international sellers and will completely bypass the Canadian sellers whose shipping costs make the transactions too expensive (as far as heavy shipments are concerned).

In this day and age when everybody can check the posted rates of nearly all postal outlets worldwide, it is hard to understand why Canada Post would think it’s OK for us Canadians to see that other countries are getting much better shipping rates for the same service done by Canada Post. Case in point would be that the same 20KG parcel will cost more to ship from Canada to England than from England to Canada, and not by a small margin either. As Canadians, we are getting charged $64.80 more for the same service (actually lees of a service from you, now that there will be no more door deliveries). So how can Canada Post do the job for Royal Mail for $289.79 (£158.23) but when it comes to do the same job and ship the same package for Canadians, the cost jumps up to $354.59?
This comparison is an average difference. For other countries (especially Asian countries) the discrepancy astronomical.
The best example would be my 20 KG package shipped from Hong Kong to me would cost $213.47 while I will have to pay $376.12 to ship the same package to Hong Kong.
That is a difference of $162.65 dollars!!!!
When I ship a package, I take it to a Canada Post office, Canada Post sorts it and sends it to the Airport, where it gets consolidated and flown overseas -- when an oversees package arrives, Canada Post takes it from the Airport to the local office where it get sorted and I pick it up by me -- the same amount of steps are being taken in both scenarios. Why are Canadians being charged more?
The above points are made to show you that we - Canadians - are not blind to the money grabbing practice and that much work needs to be done to repair the bully image Canada Post is projecting with these out of touch shipping costs…

If Canada Post would be more concerned with being competitive, versus finding short term cash grab solutions, it would usher a new era in which our Canadian online sellers would be able to compete with international sellers. By lowering the prices and allowing Canadians sellers to become competitive, Canada Post’ profit could grow alongside our e-commerce businesses.
Alas, as it stands now, we are crippled by the decision from Canada Post to increase their shipping costs by 10% every year, without fail, while at the same time reducing services…

Every year we get a doom scenario from a report by Canada Post claiming some colossal near future loss that will destroy their company – yet nearly every year they are posting gains (except in 2011 due to the lockout).
So let’s do the math on the things that I know:
- Every year Canada Post sees an increase in parcel volume despite its moronic decisions to make it harder on Canadian online retailers by posting inflated shipping rates. While it is true that the 60cent lettermail volume has deceased considerably, the increase of parcel delivery service with an average of $10 to $20.00 cost will more than make up for it. I use to send checks in the mail -- not anymore -- but now the cost to ship just one of my packages makes up for all the mail I would have sent in a whole year; and I send more than 5 heavy packages each day ($20.00 to $50.00 shipping cost for each package). My online business alone makes up for my whole town’s lettermail service, if they were to still send and receive lettemail. I see no loss there for Canada Post.
- Every year Canada Post increases the shipping costs of parcels by at least 10%, while cutting jobs and services. Canada Post employees do not get rises to reflect that increase, so where do the extra funds go? There is no loss for Canada Post there either, just a mysterious case of vanishing funds.
All these thing do not add up, unless you add the extra bonuses for the top executives and the over 7000 employees who received “individual incentives” as Canada Post calls it. This going on while the corporation is allegedly - as of 2014 - losing money, according to their cry-wolf syndrome induced postings.
If we add the total sum we can see the cash hungry corporation losing its value as it gets downsized and loses business to overseas competitors while Canadians look for alternatives to alleviate the pain of these high shipping costs. For all inventive purposes this may be a good thing for someone who is looking at purchasing (privatising) the giant while driving its value down, but the rest of us affected by this will have to send Canada Post back school for arithmetic lessons: high shipping costs + less service = much less business than it could have with a competitive shipping cost and a decent delivery service.

Please join with me and let everybody know that this treatment by Canada Post is not OK and that our hardworking Canadians deserve better than to have a big crown corporation like Canada Post hinder their growth by looking only after short term gain at the expense of loss of business for the people who are keeping them in business.


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