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Canada - Postal Service and Mail Delivery

The national postal service in Canada is called Post Canada. Their website provides a lot of useful information including how to find postcodes for addresses, both residential and business. The postal codes in Canada are set up in the same way as the UK postal code system where they are 6 characters separated into two blocks of three with a space. No hyphen is used in the Canadian postal codes. All letters within the postcode should be in capitals.

The postcode is set out in a very specific way. The first 3 characters make up the Forward Sortation Area. This shows the geographical location of the address and all postcodes in that region will begin with the same three characters. The second set of three characters is the Local Delivery Unit. This is a more defined area of where the address is such as the street or building that houses the premises.

When you send anything to Canada the address on the package should be laid out in a certain way. The top line should address the person that the package is intended for. The surname is often written in capital letters. The second line should then be either the company name if it is a business package followed on the next line by the building name and number or if the package is going to a residential address then the second line would be the house number and street name. The following line would then have the postcode followed by the town or city the package is going to and the province code. Return addresses are usually laid out in the same format and placed in the top left corner of the package.

All mailboxes are red and each one will state the collection times clearly on the front. Stamps are sold singularly or in books of 10. You can also buy stamps in rolls of 50 from any Canada Post outlet or online. Rates for sending a package will vary depending on the weight and the size of the parcel. The destination address will also play a large part in the cost of postage as some international locations cost more to send items to.

You can send parcels by registered mail. This means that when the parcel is received at the other end a signature is required from the recipient to prove they have accepted delivery of it. When you send the package you will receive a receipt so that if the package goes missing or is otherwise undelivered you can make a claim. Sending a parcel registered post in Canada is as easy as in the UK and the post office clerk can help with the paperwork.

Receiving post also works in a very similar way to the UK whereby letters and smaller parcels that can fit into the mail box are delivered easily, other parcels that are too large to fit in the mail box will need to have someone home (or at the business premises) to accept them. If no one is home a notice is left to tell you where the parcel is being held and the opening hours so you can arrange to pick it up. If you have to collect the parcel from the depot then identification will be required.

There are several services offered by the Canadian Postal Service including mail forwarding. You can use this facility for a small fee paid annually. This service ensures you still receive all your mail if you move home either permanently or on a temporary basis. This service is also offered for those moving to addresses outside of Canada. The Canadian Post Service can also hold mail temporarily. This is ideal for those people going on a holiday who don’t want anyone to notice a pile up of mail indicating no one is home. The post office will then deliver the mail upon your return.

Although some post office hours differ the majority of the Canadian post offices are open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. The Canadian Postal Service strives to deliver mail to each individual home or business premises. Some very remote areas of the country however may experience delays or delivery problem due to adverse weather conditions and the location of the property. In cases such as this you can open a post office mailbox with your local depot for a small fee. That way you can check for mail whenever you are in the area, and you may find you receive mail quicker this way.

Useful Resources

Canada Post Office
Tel: 1 800 267 1177

Read more about this country

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