The Best Time to Mail

Whether you’re printing promotional materials for a store, sending samples of your work to corporate headquarters, running a Direct Mail campaign or sending copies of your graphic novel to your Kickstarter supporters, chances are you’ll be using Canada Post mailing services. The variance in how long it takes for items to reach a place can be drastic: it depends on when you’re sending the item, where you’re sending it to, and it’s dimensions. Other options, like Personalized Mail/Postal Code Targeting are another factor.


The first thing to consider is the time of day you want to show up at the post office. There’s some variance from day to day, but most post offices have the last batch of mail for the day picked up at 5 PM local time; if you get your items in before that time, you can expect them to go out the same day, so the delivery standards for that day apply. After 5 PM, you’re just as well to arrive at the post office the next day. Contact your local post office to see when their last mail pickup is.


It can be somewhat tricky to deduce when you should send an item for it to arrive on a certain date. Canada Post has Delivery Standards that are somewhat arcane to navigate; a series of tables and charts explain about how long it takes to get from any given urban centre to any other given urban centre, with time being added for parcels that are destined for rural areas. These charts are necessary because of the wide variety of different services Canada Post has for mailing services. In terms of time frame, they can be split broadly into three service types: Regular Post, XpressPost and Priority Post. As a rule of thumb, within Canada: Regular Post takes about two days within your city, three days for rural areas around your city and four to five days to other urban areas. XpressPost takes a day within your region (Western Canada or Eastern Canada) and two days to an area that isn’t in your region; Priority Post takes one day. It should also be noted that rural areas, especially far north rural areas, can take weeks by Regular Post and quite a few days by XpressPost or Priority.


So when should you mail an item? Generally speaking, you should try to mail it a day or two before you want it to get there, keeping delivery standards in mind; while Canada Post tries to keep its standards, inclement weather and other delays can cause your item to arrive late. Err on the side of caution and send everything a bit early. You should also expect delays during the holidays, both in line at the post office and for your parcel to arrive at its destination.

Reputable printing companies will have a good relationship with Canada Post; they’ll be partners in Direct Mail, and they’ll have a good grasp of delivery times and standards.