Here is where you get tell us what is wrong with Canada Post. Please email us your comments, frustrations, facts and ideas to More What's Wrong.
From Juliette Cooper (2018-09-10):
Where does one begin?
Mail forwarding. Although I paid for a subscription to have mail forwarded to me when I moved, it is taking two months to receive items once forwarded... This is ridiculous! Why does it take so long? I only moved an hour and a half away. Before I moved, I lived 5 minutes from the largest Canada Post processing centre in Canada -- the Gateway facility. What happens to our mail when it gets returned to the Gateway facility??
Junk mail. Prior to moving I had a "no junk mail" sign on my mail box in Mississauga and emailed Canada Post at least TWICE requesting the letter carrier not put flyers/junk mail in my mailbox. He regularly did. Please don't blame on local flyer delivery as they knew better.
Magazines. I regrettably have four monthly magazine subscriptions. All senders were notified well in advance of my address change. At my new address I did not receive one magazine for September -- and none so far have come in for October. They're usually several weeks ahead. Where is my mail, Canada Post?
Canada Post website. Even the website at Canada Post refuses to work. This is the message I repeatedly got when trying to submit an online complaint request form: "429 too many requests."
I give up. I've now switched to paperless for almost everything I can and set up a courier account for anything important going forward. Not sure what to do about my magazines as I don't want to go digital so I will probably cancel and just buy them from vendors.
From Andrew Hong (2018-08-17):
I sell small tech related items on eBay. One of the items I sold was a flashlight that weighed 80 grams, and I was charged, get this, $18, to get it to New Brunswick. That meant that I lost money from the sale ($20, after fees, -$5).
Honestly, if there's one thing that Canada Post can bring back, it's first class mail. Trackable, first class mail.
Funnily enough, the government wonders why small businesses struggle -- well, part of the reason is that everything in Canada is marked up, and shipping fees are not excluded. Fortunately, I found another carrier that takes my parcels to the US and ships it back. $4 postage for that item and trackable. Good riddance, CP.
Follow up comment (2017-11-17):
I am now using Chit Chats Express.
First Class Mail, later renamed "Letter Mail" and then "Transaction Mail", has never been a trackable service -- though it certainly would be nice if it were. The bigger problem with Transaction Mail is that Canada Post imposed a dimensional limit (1 cm thickness) on packages which pretty much eliminates using it for most commercial product deliveries. That dimensional limit forces shippers to use the much more expensive, and usually slower, parcel services. Canada Post claimed the 1 cm limit was imposed so that mail would go through Canada Post's automated sortation machinery. But we believe that Canada Post knew that parcels would suddenly cost shippers a lot more and that the damaging effect on shippers was intended. These days automation equipment can easily handle packages of all sizes, so we believe there is no technical reason why Canada Post can't remove the dimensinal limit for Transactional Mail.
It is worth noting that the United States Postal Service still allows, and even promotes, the use of its First Class Mail for bigger packages, including boxes, up to 13 ounces. And tracking is free.
From Kaylee Wood (2018-08-14):
I ordered a few packages, one went to Burlington, another went to Kitchener, another went to Toronto, and one got lost altogether. I live in Napanee, Ontario. How my packages were misdirected is beyond me. I have had this happen to me more than once. I have mailed cards (birthday, anniversary, Christmas) -- I am talking more than one card at a time. It is ridiculous how many times this [misdirection] has happened; there is no reason for this.
From James W. (Jim) Johnson (2018-08-04):
I am a 74-year-old disabled veteran that lives on the 18th Floor of an Ottawa condo building. I am a US-born dual US/Canadian citizen who spends summer here and winter in Florida for health reasons.
This year I have had unbelievable problems with Canada Post in Ottawa.
The first issue involves package delivery from say Amazon. The carrier person first refused to bring the packages to me saying they only have to deliver "one floor up or one floor down."
When I complained, the carrier fellow brought a heavy package, leaned it against the door, and knocked. My wife answered (she's also disabled) and when she opened the door the package fell, almost hitting her. She asked him to pick it up and he said "NO".
When I got upset and told him off, I got a visit from a supposed supervisor insisting that I not have altercations with the delivery people; and he again noted the "one floor up or down" thing.
The second issue I have now encountered is that envelopes I address for the US have been returned with a yellow sticker saying they were not deliverable. This even though I've used these envelopes in Quebec with no problems and used the correct $1.20 postage.
These were bill payments that now need to be resent. I'll incur late fees and am out the $1.20 postage on the items.
From Eric Lee (2018-08-04):
I found this site searching "Canada Post Slow 2018".
Never seen the mail travel this slow. We're finding cheques mailed within Ontario to be taking over two weeks to be delivered in some cases. We've always prided ourselves on paying our people immediately, but this is getting silly. I'm wondering if anyone else is experiencing this?
We have noticed that credit card statements are arriving late, to the point where we have missed due dates. The late statements have cost us money. For years we could rely on the statements to arrive in time to pay by the due date, but now we are forced to get statements delivered electronically. This may well be yet another reason why Canada Post's letter mail business is declining.
From a Canada Post Technician (name withheld) (2018-07-05):
I work for Tech Services in Hamilton. We use to maintain the equipment thoroughly until the company brought in a program called MAXIMO.
The company is using MAXIMO to get rid of jobs. Management has decided that we no longer need to maintain the equipment properly. Over the last 3+ years they have been reducing our workload through MAXIMO. Our manager has been deleting positions because "we don't have the work". Not only have they reduced our work load significantly, they have also discouraged us from changing parts. The machines are in terrible shape and break down constantly because of worn parts. We have been told to not change parts unless it is broken. It seems like the corporation is more concerned about saving money in an important department than it is in running production.
The company has an abundance of management. We have a manager in Mississauga that oversees the managers in Hamilton and Toronto. Maybe the corporation should look at the excess management throughout the company to save money. Management is a middleman. Local managers could be controlled by one manager in Ottawa.
It's very upsetting that the corporation would concentrate on cutting the SMALL department that takes care of equipment to keep the process running. MAXIMO is cancer. It was an idea sold to the company to cut jobs and save money. This is not the way to run the maintenance department. We should be working together to build a stronger, positive environment. Management needs to involve its workers to contribute, and develop a better Canada Post instead of the opposite.
We need serious change. I am very upset with the corporation. When I came here I felt proud to be involved in a Canadian institution. Now I feel shame and resentment.
From Harbajan (2018-05-29):
First off, Thank you for existing.
My huge problem with Canada Post their very incompetent customer service department. They provide absolutely no answers. It's so infuriating! their website states a delivery date but they always show up with my package 4 days late. I pay the shipper more money to get it quicker, then Canada Post keeps it at their distribution centre for days on end for no reason. I can confirm there isn't a reason to keep it there because every time I call they don't know why it's sitting there.
The worse part is the distribution centre is across the street from my house and I can't legally pick it up because their union passed a law that makes me picking it up from there location illegal. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE END CUSTOMER AND MORE TO SAVE JOBS! I can't believe they're legally allowed to keep my property hostage to save jobs that we don't require in the modern day.
Thank you for listening.
Management would like nothing more than to get rid of the unions but can't. Much of the fear of the unions stems from years past when the unions held the country hostage by shutting down the post office. As our dependence on letter mail declines you would think that the power of the unions would decline, and perhaps in the future the declining power of the unions will be tested by management. But in the current political climate in Ottawa, the government has no appetite for allowing Canada Post management to test union strength.
From S.M. (2018-05-12):
The people working at the office in Canal Flats, BC, are EXTREMELY rude and incompetent and have wasted our time and money.
Some time ago, I had someone pay $100 to have a package shipped in 2 days. According to the Canada Post website, my parcel had been delivered to the post office. I was staying out of town so I had to get someone to drive me to the post office (which costs gas money) only to be told my package was not there. It was because the employees had not bothered to sort through the packages. That was on a Friday.
I had to wait until Monday to go get my package. So, my package took 5 days to arrive instead of 2. My friend paid the $100 for nothing. I also had to delay my travel plans which also cost me money.
I called the post office explaining what happened (being very careful to stay polite and emphasize that I was just very frustrated and it wasn't personal against her) and that my friend should get a refund, and when we finally came to pick up the package, the woman THREW it at us! Saying "Here you go”! It was a soft light package, but still.
My sender friend could not get his refund so he wasted $100 rushing a package to me that I got at the same time as regular shipping. This is because it HAD been delivered on time, but the employees did not sort through the packages which is why they told me it hadn't been delivered yet (in other words, they lied).
The employees also gossip about people's mail as this is a small town, so I strongly suggest you don't have anything important shipped to you as they cannot be trusted with sensitive information and have spread rumours in the past, like telling as many people as possible that so-and-so is getting drugs shipped to them, or sex toys. Rumours like this could really affect someone in a small town.
Right now I know 7 other people who have had major issues with the employees at this post office, so we are all going to submit our complaints at once.
From George Younes (2018-05-03):
I have sent three packages through regular mail, two from Kingston to Montreal and one from Kingston to Ottawa, with Canada Post. The lady at the post office told me that in such cases, going with the express option [Xpresspost] will only take off one day from the delivery time, seeing that distance wise the three cities are close. I was guaranteed that the post has a very reliable service and that to both Montreal and Ottawa my parcels should be there in three to four business days maximum.
I have been keeping in touch with the recipients, and it has been ten days (eight business days) I have sent the parcels, and nothing has been delivered yet.
Also, my university which is in Kingston sent me a document by mistake via mail four days ago, and I still have not received anything. I live in Kingston and it is literally ten minutes walking distance for me to go and pick up my document. I am not sure what is happening with the post service.
If there is any [possible] delay in the service I think people should be aware of that to see if they [wish to] send their parcels or letters with Canada post or... use another mailing service. Some people have hard deadlines, and can't just wait a month for a document that should have been delivered within two business days maximum.
From Ghisele Bouchard (2018-03-28):
I have been seeing a bad practice of Canada Post's for a few years now and today had a Canada Post employee actually admit that they are allowed to leave parcels outside of individual apartment doors anytime! I am relatively certain that it has been this practice that has led to lost packages on at least two occasions and am outraged they are even allowed to do so!!!!
If they are so afraid of losing business this practice will only add to their problems; they are inviting theft to happen and that should bother them enough to stop this practice!
A very unhappy customer.
From Leo Varios (2018-02-26):
The problem that we have with Canada Post in the Vancouver Lower Mainland is with the mailboxes. I am continuously receiving mail in my mailbox that is not mine. Some of my mail ends in the wrong mailbox. This problem has been non-stopping for at least the last five years. I have reported this issue with Canada Post at least 6 times but noting has changed.
Parcels are being lost at a rate that some European sellers don't ship to Canada anymore.
From Brendon Hull (2018-02-24):
Packages from UK are taking longer than packages from China. Waiting over 10 weeks for small packages sent airmail. Still waiting on items from December 2017. One annoying thing is the response from Canada Post Facebook that nothing is wrong. If you are purchasing an item from UK in 2018, I suggest you go with tracking at all times. I am in Vancouver, not a remote isolated town. Christmas volumes should be well over, so I don't understand why the issue.
From Ais L (2018-02-18):
I see loads of complaints on the blog of the cost of mailing from Canada and nothing much about the difficulty of getting foreign mail delivered to Canadian addresses.
It costs a lot to send from Europe to Canada, and I expect to get what I pay for.
My experience is that posted items may or may not arrive in Canada, regardless of how they are posted. Control from Europe stops once the items have left here. After that, everything from tracking to complaints is entirely up to Canada which is the worst system I have ever come across. No access, no responsibility and the only response is blaming it on incorrect labelling.
From here on in, if I have to post to Canada, I will be using DHL or UPS; but mostly, I'll be trying not to, which means Canada joins the same non-compliant nations like Russia, North Korea, and non-recognised states.
My brother and his growing family live in Vancouver. We send post frequently from Ireland, for birthdays, Christmas, special occasions etc, both cards, letters and parcels and have been doing so for over 10 years. Less than 50% arrive in time, and 25% don't arrive at all.
The one thing you can count on, is that the post will not arrive in Vancouver either on time, or in good condition, or at all. Cards posted at the same time from the same letter box arrived 3 months apart. Registered parcels (2kgs or less) may arrive anywhere from 10 days to 2 months later, or not at all. We have a 75% success rate of non valuable items arriving.
We are talking about properly labelled, custom declared and registered, or express items, with RTS labels clearly printed on the back. We're talking downtown Vancouver – not the outback. What is wrong with the Canadian postal service?
When visiting Vancouver we used to send postcards; we don't anymore. Less than 1 in 10 get through. Still waiting (Feb 19 2018) for a post card sent 4th Oct 2017. Our family in Vancouver doesn't post – they use UPS or DHL or other courier service, but usually wait until someone is going to Europe and ask them to bring and post package.
What the hell is wrong?
From Maureen Deschner (2018-01-30):
We received a phone call from someone identifying herself as being from Canada Post and was asked if we have received our passports. My husband said no and the caller ended the call. This was very suspicious and I investigated further and was worried about where and who has our passports. The number showed on our phones as +1-613-734-1083 Ottawa, Ont. I phoned back this number and received only a recording and no chance to leave a message. So I phoned Passport Canada and find that a mail truck had been in an accident and our passports will be destroyed. This was no way to deal with this problem. When we were called by Canada Post. There was no explanation about the accident. How she found our info and phone numbers? She just wanted to know if we received our passports. Of course we are apprehensive and should not have been put into this situation about worrying about this caller. Is this identity theft? How much longer to wait for our passports now? And most of all, having to phone Passport Canada to confirm what is going on. Totally unacceptable.
From Sanford Borins, Professor of Public Management, University of Toronto (2018-01-20):
Here's a post I just put up on my website about Canada Post's lousy service:
Canada Post Failing Me
Please feel free to post it.
From Valona Filippini (2018-01-19):
Two Xmas parcels posted from the UK to Canada 8th and 14th December and still not received as of today 19th January 2018. Apparently there is a huge backup in Toronto. Isn't it time Canada Post was made accountable for their poor service? I also have four service tickets issued with them dating back to November and not once have they been acknowledged. Disgusting. Perhaps the government needs to step in to sort this because I know I am not alone with my dissatisfaction of the system.
From Poco Thue (2018-01-12):
I ordered items from Amazon that were to arrive Thursday. The tracking shows that the items were out for delivery. The next tracking entry said "Item redirected to recipient's new address" which really means they put the box on the wrong truck. After that the box was processed twice Thursday afternoon and once on Friday morning at 10 am. The tracking page indicates "Out For Delivery" at the top but no indication of that in the tracking information. I called customer service to find out why and the agent kept saying the same words and phrases over and over again. "The package is moving through the mail stream." To which I said, "No it is sitting in the sort facility." To which he said, "The mail is not moving every second." He never did answer my initial question about why tracking said "Out For Delivery" when the tracking info did not say it was. I also asked why tracking said "Item redirected to recipient's new address" when it really meant the box was put on the wrong truck. I asked him if this could be changed so in future the information would be accurate. He said no that is the only choice the delivery people have and he couldn't change it. I asked if he could request a change. He said "No, that is the only message that is in the system." Even though he apologized several times I felt he did not really empathize with my situation and he was only interested in giving me company speak.
I contacted Amazon about this situation and after explaining my problem to them they offered me a $10 credit for future purchases which I certainly did not expect. Amazon was essentially paying for Canada Post's ineptness. Canada Post should take a lesson from Amazon's customer support.
From Ed Gonsa (2017-12-23):
I have sent post cards from Thailand and Malaysia to Canada months ago and none have been received, and now I'm learning that Canada Post has loads of backlogged mail from Asia on trucks and in warehouses. This is not acceptable.
From Mark Vrieling (2017-12-20):
I read your page on Canada Post lowering the bar, and how last Christmas they just decided to only refund late packages if they were two days late during the Christmas season (shouldn't this be their most efficient time?). Anyways, I am not sure if you noticed, but this Christmas season, they have also tacked on an extra day to delivery times for Expedited parcels. So if I send a package within my own city, it used to be 1 day delivery. Now it is two day delivery, plus that extra day grace they gave themselves last year. So they can take 3 days to deliver a package within the same city. Outrageous!
Have you gotten feedback from Canada Post on your site?
No, Canada Post has not commented on the charge that it is lowering standards in order to cut refunds. Even our postal representative was unaware of the change. And, yes, we did notice that Canada Post arbitrarily added a day to delivery times before Christmas 2017. We also notice a lot more parcels are going astray than ever before; so far this year Canada Post has sent us notices of delivery errors more often than usual.
From R Benoit (2017-12-16):
I live in Canada and I wish they would change their name. Because of their stupid management, Canadians lose money on online sales and customer get very long delivery times. I have been informed Chinese shipments are deliberately delayed because they don't make a profit on those parcels. This Christmas I will not receive the Christmas gift ordered in November. Really disappointed.
From John Young (2017-12-13):
I am also a small business seller that has a difficult time with Canada Post. I used to sell mainly in the USA, but sell more online in Canada now. The prices are ridiculous and HST is added?! Do you have a Facebook page? Have you gotten any politicians to respond to your concerns?
No we don't have a Facebook page. Maybe we should! And no, no politicians have ever contacted us. We offered to make a submission on behalf of small business owners at the parliamentary review of Canada Post in 2016 but we were not selected to speak.
From Ryan Thompson (2017-11-29):
I've complained loudly and repeatedly to Amazon about Canada Post not attempting delivery and then lying about it. Now I cancel and return all packages that are left at the post office for pickup – what's the point of ordering online of I have to pick it up?
UPS delivers every time right to my door but Amazon doesn't let members pick a shipping carrier, even if you subscribe to their Prime membership, which I did until today... Just called Amazon and cancelled my Prime memberships for both Canada and USA while specifically blaming Canada Post.
Over the past 7 years I've placed over 100 orders a year with Amazon and now it will be 0 because of Canada Post. So I think that's the best way to attack the problem – loudly complain to CP's customers and cancel business citing their unacceptably poor service levels as the reason. If you do order and they don't attempt delivery then just cancel the order and leave the item until CP have to return it at their expense to the sender.
Thanks for having this site! I feel better already getting this off my chest.
From Carol Lee (2017-10-23):
I have a parcel that is shipped from Vancouver, B.C. to go to Burnaby, B.C. and the package goes to Mississauga, Ont. I have contacted Canada Post as to why this could happen and they state they do not know. They refuse to look for the package or contact their supervisor to aid in the search. They said that what they see online is the same as what I see so they can't and will not do anything. Canada Post has been sending my husband packages back to sender rather than deliver them. They say that some information is not located on the parcel. However, that was not correct. My husband had to go to the sorting depot to pick up the parcel (after they returned to sender twice) that the supervisor at the depot held for him so that the carrier would not ship it back (for a third time) to sender. Now, when the package is clearly labelled with all the information, Canada Post still sends it to some other region. I hope they do not expect me to go to Ontario to pick up the parcel because it has not moved from that local for 3 days. This is terrible!!! Why do we pay these huge shipping costs when they are clearly not doing their jobs correctly. When I called about the missing package the CSR stated that they could/would not do anything about it because I was not the sender and their protocols do not allow them to do this. Their protocols must then tell them to ship packages back to sender if they do not want to sort the item and send packages to another province even if it was already in the correct province. Wow!!!!
From Tony Niu (2017-10-18):
I was sending off a 12" x 9" x 5" size 0.8kg parcel to China. It costs this much (6 choices):
1. Small Packet - International Surface $21.21
2. Small Packet - International Air $43.84
3. International Parcel - Surface $60.61
4. Xpresspost - International $97.55
5. Priority Worldwide Pak $153.72
6. Priority Worldwide $216.76
WAY TOO EXPENSIVE.
I was informed by the staff there that it just takes one month to China for the cheapest one. But when I got home I opened the Canada Post website and it says that it takes 2-3 months – without a tracking number! Angry about this and went down to the post office and they said they cannot recall it because it's already gone on the truck.
From Zhengzhong Li (2017-10-17):
Worst postal service in the world! Lost one of a pair of boxes/parcels with two single channel amplifiers. Only one delivered/survived! And the survived one is useless now. After I filed a service ticket and was told they would give me a settlement, now three weeks gone. I called them so many times, and there is always only an answer machine waiting for you. They don't even dare to talk to me. Shutdown please you Canada Post! Don't hurt more taxpayers.
From Said Hasnain (2017-10-13):
Needless to say, Canada Post has given me rough day. Why? Delivery guy rang from downstairs to confirm he had a parcel for me and told him to enter the code to get in, but he just ran off, not even leaving a notice. Called Canada Post and they were very vague in resolving the issue with me, especially since it is not trackable. Meanwhile, I gave them a piece of my mind to show what second rate lazy unreliable bloody asses these guys really are. What service is this? However, I got in touch with the sender to resend the package should he get it back and apologized on behalf of the blundering of delivery post and will see what's next...
From Paul Francis, Walks in Spain (2017-05-28):
We despatch hundreds of packs around the world to guests coming on our walking holidays, the only country that we experience problems with (and that includes Africa and remote parts of Australia) is Canada! Come on Canada you're not supposed to be a third world country!
From Judy Heil (2017-02-05):
I recently joined a group called The Northern Birthday Box Project. We sent stuff to Inuvik, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Northern Quebec & Labrador. We were informed about new flat rate box that cost $19.99 for 5 kg. Nearest location to me is Toronto which is 2 hours away. Tried all locations, 2 different times, once in January, again in February, but no such luck -- always out of stock. Would like to pre-order them online but was told I could not because it's a new product. So now I have to pay 3 times as much, and because of this, cannot afford to continue with this birthday project, which means somebody's children will not get a birthday box.
From Alex Kim (2017-01-12):
My name is Alex Kim, who's running small mail-order business in Korea.
We have a lot customers from Canada, for which we are really grateful, but it is becoming a nightmare because of Canada Post.
Actually, we are figuring out what is wrong with Canada Post lately. Shipping to Canada causes more frequent delays and problems than any other country. Pretty much as bad as Russian Post, but at least Russian Post provides tracking visibility which Canada Post does not. I got an email from Canadian customer who ordered in Oct (which we already refunded) and she says received the package today. Of course, there was no proper explanation for this long long delay. I don't know how Canadian people feel about your mail system, but in here Korea, Canada Post is notorious for lack of responsibility.
About 2 years ago, I remember Canada Post used to be very trustworthy. Way better than USPS. Their tracking system was solid, delivery was quite fast. But all of sudden, I can no longer trust Canada Post. Any clue what is happening there?
I am really curious how Canadian people feel about their mailing system. Apparently there must be a large scale mailorder business in Canada. No doubt there are many problems, too. How are you guys managing this?
From Craig Nadeau (2017-01-11):
I operated a mail order business for a couple years. We shipped products to and from just about everywhere in the world. Number two on the worst list was Canada Post. (Number one is Australia so we only used UPS there.) I would cringe when I knew a package was in the hands of Canada Post. Once it crossed the border into the US we could always relax. If a package was getting lost it was in Canada. I have shipped enough to know that there is significant theft in the system. The most valuable or interesting items would always go missing. The insurance system is a complete scam. What other business make you buy additional insurance to cover the basic service. The Chinese postal systems are so good it is amazing.
The reality is that UPS and the other big courier businesses staying in touch with the times, they were not political. Canada Post lacked any foresight to stay in the game and they could have. It won’t be long before Canada Post is just in the history books and delivery is managed by private business.
From Earlb1 (2017-01-09):
Tried to open a small business but Canada Post will not honor delivery times on international mail. As a result, my business lasted 4 months. Had to refund every item shipped because it took 2 months for items to arrive at destination. Also could not get product in a timely fashion; items were taking 2 months to arrive when 7-10 business days was what I paid for. Bankrupt in less than 6 months. Time to move to USA.
From Anonymous Postal Worker (2016-11-16):
I am one of your clients and I've read your page on the issues with Canada Post. I also work for Canada Post as a letter carrier and I understand your frustration with some of the service issues with us.
I want to apologise first for my bad writing. I speak French and I and not sure I you are going to read me if I write in French, therefore I will write in English.
Before you complain about the packet and parcel rates you have to understand the complexity of the issue. Canada Post has to adhere to different laws and regulations. (You already mention on your website the different federal and provincial taxes.)
According to Canada Post Corporation Act and the Canada Post Charter, the Canada Post Corporation (CPC) has to provide the same level of service to all Canadians at affordable rates (definitions are in the Act) and need to conduct its operations on a self-sustaining financial basis. So basically it means delivering mail to all Canadians at no cost for the taxpayers.
If Canada was the only country in the world, this would stop here. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we live in a vast world with close to 200 countries (and they all send mail).
As you would imagine, all the countries in the world send mail and want to be able send mail to others. This requires ships. planes, trains, and somebody to pay for all this. And because some countries send more mail than others, we need a system to compensate the countries that deliver the parcels over the ones that collect the money from the clients. This is why the UN created the United Postal Union (UPU).
There are a lot of very complicated and mostly secret rules about who has to pay for what, and you will understand why you (as a Canadian company that uses mail services a lot) have to pay more than the others.
First, the country that send the mail has to pay for the shipment to the destination country, but because most of the non-industrial countries are not very wealthy, they have a preferred rate on the terminal dues for delivery of the packets and parcels.
Basically an industrial country receives 82 cents per packet delivered from a non-industrial country. On the other hand, a non-industrial country will receive $2.31 for a packet from an industrial country.
It costs the CPC approximately $3 to deliver a packet in its network (depending on size and weight) because of the very low density of our country. Every time we receive a packet from a non-industrial country, we lose $2.19.
Because the CPC is not permitted to lose money, somebody has to pay the $2.19 per parcel it costs to deliver the inbound packets and parcels (guess who?).
You can look at this PowerPoint that explains in detail the complexity of terminal dues.
More bad news for any Canadian business is who is considered to be a non-industrial country. I am sure you got this one right: China, India, Brazil, and Russia are in the group. So you were wondering how it was possible to order an iPhone charger from China for 79 cents but it costs $10 to order it from Canada.
The effect of Amazon or Alibaba will be really bad for the Canadian economy, especially e-commerce. We are currently flooded by products from non-industrial countries. The CPC just built a new processing plant in Vancouver and it is already at overcapacity. They now have to rent industrial warehouse to process these products daily, and I believe it is just starting. The only effect it can have on the domestic rates is to increase them even more (bad news for any Canadian retailer that uses the mail) because the CPC has to be financially sustainable and can't print money.
I know that the UPU terminal rates are renegotiated every four years (2016 is one of them) and that they are planning to change to model as well as the grouping of countries. But I also know that these negotiations are very secretive and there is not a lot of information about this that is shared in the media.
I hope I helped you to understand the complexity of this issue, and I also hope you will continue to do business with the CPC because I hope I can keep my job for another couple of years.
I also agree that the CPC is probably a hard company to do business with and doesn't do much to keep their customers happy (neither to keep their employees happy).
Follow up comment (2017-11-17):
If you are curious and want to know more about the distortions caused by the UPU terminal rates you can read this report, The Economics of Terminal Rates, ordered by the United States Postal Service (USPS).
On page 34 and 35, it highlight some of the issues. For example the non-designated operators (FedEx, UPS, EMS, etc.) don't have to pay the terminal dues even if the CPC or USPS have to deliver the "last mile" for them.
China uses the terminal dues as an economical advantage to keep competition away; because China receive more compensation than it pays, it can keep its rates low and no private companies can compete with its rates.
From Anonymous Postal Worker and Customer (2016-09-05):
There are so many things wrong with Canada Post. This corporation is not a very honest one when you have lousy management, corrupt union and a CEO like Deepak Chopra running it into the ground. In addition, lately it seems like they are trying to cover up anything that can affect the reputation of the company. Ever since news broke out of mail thefts occurring within the Calgary Postal Plant. Here are some examples:
1) Canada Post Supervisor charged for mail theft
Source: CTV News
2) Filipino Postal Worker charged for mail theft
Source: Huffington Post
As an employee of over 10 years and customer who uses the service, it's very bad. I'm so disappointed to work for a company who hires these types of people. Here is my experience working here. As a Canadian citizen I'm very disappointed with the horrible treatment here in the Calgary Plant. I have been discriminated on a daily basis because I am not Filipino and do not understand their native language they use in the workplace. 60 percent of employees (Full-time, part-time & casuals) in the plant are foreign workers from Philippines. There is very strong lazy work ethic going on daily as most workers do is either chat or browse facebook on their mobile phones, as a result mail is being delayed. Management is no better, as most of them do not treat you like a human being rather more like an animal especially the PCR Manager and Tech Services Manager. They take their aggression on postal clerks by making our work lives as miserable as possible for their own benefit. Management does not care about company or anything else except for themselves and their bonuses. The Plant Director sits in his office watching TSN sports nearly everyday! The PCR Staffing officer is just as guilty because she brings and hires mostly Filipino workers. Once they're in, she secretly accepts gifts from them as bribes.
I used to ship packages to my friends in Japan only for them to call me up and told me that they received it damaged which really upset me a lot even though I placed numerous FRAGILE label stickers on the packages. Apparently the postal workers don't care. I found this out when the Filipino postal workers are simply tossing parcels and packages like they were basketballs! Even though the supervisors are around, they simply turned a blind eye for them. I wish I could video record all these wrong doings going on in the Calgary Plant but apparently it's illegal to do that according to company policy. Overall as a customer, I feel cheated from paying such expensive postage fees for low quality service.
That's all for my comments and rants. I apologize if it's very long but this is the truth that Canada Post Corporation will not disclose to the public and Canadians. I hope people will understand the dark truth of the Canadian Post Office.
From David Lay (2016-07-29):
So who is doing what about it? There does not appear to be any political incentive to make Canada Post more competitive internationally. Not much point in my bitching at my local MP if he can safely ignore me.
I found your site in a web search, along with the CTV article on the subject; Pricey parcels: Why does it cost so much to ship from Canada?. Canada post refused to be interviewed.
So how do we make this an issue?
In May 2016 the federal government announced that a review of Canada Post's operations. This is an excellent opportunity to tell the government how Canada Post is hurting your business. We strongly encourage all businesses to get involved with this review. Tell all your business friends and associates to submit their comments too.
From Mahnaz Golshekan (2016-05-07):
I had a package which was a little heavy for me to handle. So I stayed home for the time they deliver. The delivery date, a Monday, I received a delivery notice that they brought it on Monday and I was not home. I called post office (in Shoppers Drug Mart) during their working hours and the lady tell me my package is there (that was before the end of the day when they return the packages). I asked the lady why they did not deliver it to my door, she said they are not supposed to that. Can you believe it? Why do I pay for shipping if they are not delivering to my door. Then I called Canada Post and they said they have to do the first delivery after that leave the notice.
Now I am trying to track a package I mailed the other day and their website takes me to a very strange screen and then epost which I DO NOT need.
Thanks for having this.
From Myles Vaux (2016-03-19):
Who makes the decisions on raising prices for the light packets? Does Canada Post know what they are doing?? I sell very cheap items to the USA via eBay and Etsy and it is no longer affordable and am unable to compete with China etc. on shipping rates.
From Don Snell (2015-11-09):
Just wanted to say that your website is great. As an eBay user I have been dismayed at the high cost of shipping items sold on eBay. Comparatively high shipping rates by Canada Post is killing the chances of small business or individuals to compete. Maybe it is time for them to go or drop their prices.
From Paul Gill (2015-10-21):
This is major complaint. I'm have a disability. I wait for my cheque all month. When my mail carrier has not arrived with my cheque, it is past four and now the bank is closed and I have no food or money. This is unacceptable. I want the supervisor and manager disciplined or fired. They work their cushy jobs while we low income people suffer without our basic needs. This is from the city of Victoria. I live in Saanich. I am so fricken angry yet I know you will respond with a bullshit excuse I have contacted my MLA and govt offices.
From Martin Pagnan (2015-08-11):
How about 2 weeks to get an ordinary letter from Ottawa to Vancouver?
From Art Wong (2015-08-03):
Don't get me started. I agree with all the examples cited. I used to sell items on eBay. Mailing even the small items costs $9-10 quite often more than the item is worth.
From Mark Fowke (2015-06-12):
We are currently in a dispute with Canada Post over surcharges. The crux of the issue is their rounding of parcel sizing and weight, more commonly known as volumetric measurement. When they round the size of our parcels, it bumps it to the next pricing category and we get dinged with a surcharge for what I call 'air freight' since I'm paying to ship air. By not using actual measurement they get away with this illegal practice. And their Ombudsman Office is simply a shill of the Corporation...no help here at all. As you have pointed out, it would be simpler, and cheaper, to produce our product in the USA or elsewhere and ship it into Canada...avoiding the tax and usurious postal rates. We are exploring this possibility at this time.
From Stanley Green (2015-02-18):
We need to privatize this comedy called Canada Post. My suppliers in the UK, who dispatch orders for Canada the same day they are received are amazed at the length it takes for the parcels to arrive in Surrey, B.C. The employees in the Surrey sorting centre could not care less that my parcels are lost, arrive TWO MONTHS later, are vital for my existence.
From Elie Descoteaux (2014-07-15):
First, I would like to fully share my support and extend my gratitude for you to have put this website to show the real color of canada post disastrous management and price structure.
My name is Elie. I have an online business and feel the pain every day, and have come to the realization that Canada Post is creating a literal business sabotage in Canada.
I really like that you took time to order from overseas to show the difference on price structure.
If ever you want to exchange ideas, please feel free to contact me. I might not have the 40 year experience you have but I am very interested in logistics in Canada and the real cost we have to pay for it. I use USPS and Canada Post and can see first hand how much it is creating a wide gap in price equality in both countries.
Here are some points that I think would maybe help create influence:
- The interesting point is that 70% of the parcels delivered by Canada Post come from overseas; this is a huge trade deficit.
- These parcels that are not sent from Canadian businesses, this is revenue lost in Canada, and it is taxes lost in Canada, and all the related indirect jobs being lost and not created.
- We know on big delivery days Canada Post can deliver 1,000,000 parcels. If we take an average of 300,000 a day x 250 days = 75 million parcels. If 70% come from overseas, that is 52.5 million parcels. Let's say at 20$ in value, it would be over 1 billion $. This is very conservative calculating; the real number is more likely close to 3 billion.
- We are not trying to stop parcels from overseas. But what if we started the race on the same line? What if we started to export more? What is the real cost of high cost parcel mail? What is the revenue lost from a society stand point? All this does is cause businesses to close down or never open.
- Why does it cost more to send a peanut across the street than to receive a parcel from 15,000 kilometres away? - The mailing sorting machine upgrade at Canada Post will read delivery confirmation information from the equivalent of letter post of incoming international mail. But this will not be offered to Canadian businesses. It will accept international mail packages thicker than 2 cm, but not mail packages from us.
Unfortunately, there is not much lobbying for small business like us. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.
From Kelly Pickell (2014-05-06):
The fuel surcharge should be related to distance and how much fuel is used not price. I believe they could be breaking the law with this one.
I ship the same small package from BC to:
BC fuel surcharge $.62
Alberta fuel surcharge $.65
Saskatchewan fuel surcharge $.67
Ontario fuel surcharge $.72
Quebec fuel surcharge $.78
How can it cost only $.10 more in fuel to ship to Ontario than BC? Canada Post calculates the fuel surcharge at 11.50% of the cost, not the distance.
No matter how you slice it we are getting screwed.
From George Irwin (2014-05-06):
Finding your web site was very uplifting - thank you!
Having volunteered to work on a community association committee to deal with Canada Post's Community Mailbox Program I had proposed developing a website to capture the issues and facts that would allow an informed debate to take place. Your website is inspiring and I will be proposing to use it as a model. Our plan is to create a network of community association websites to allow the community associations to collectively work together to get answers from Canada Post.
From Brendan Heng (2013-12-23):
I recently wrote an article on my Dropshipping Blog.
I decided to do my part and spread some awareness around the issue. Like you said, I don't know why mainstream media hasn't picked up on this. It is no secret that Canada's E-Commerce is lagging compared to everyone else and this could very well be a reason. Let me know if have any feedback on the article as well.