All Things Shipping | Sep 22, 2022

Canada Shipping: Best Ways to Ship In and Out of Canada

Sarah Rickerd

If Canada shipping isn’t already on your radar, it should be. The e-commerce market in Canada is booming—its ecommerce market reached $35.5 billion in revenue in 2021 alone. That places Canada 10th on the list of the world’s largest ecommerce markets.

Ready to start selling in the Great White North? Getting to know the rules, regulations, and Canadian shipping options is the first step to tapping into this massive market.

Canada Shipping Best Practices

Though shipping in Canada might seem like a huge undertaking, it’s not as difficult as you might think. By following a few shipping best practices, you can be sure your customers appreciate the value of the shipping you offer.

Remember: your packaging is often the first tangible thing your customers lay their eyes on. At the same time, the size and weight of your packaging can make a huge difference in your total shipping costs. For these reasons, it’s important to focus on offering the best possible value, while also maintaining high-quality packaging standards.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when shipping in Canada:

  • Accurately measure your products and choose a lightweight box or bag that’s as close to the product size as possible to minimize shipping costs.
  • Consider using a fulfillment center close to the Canadian border to cut back on transit times.
  • Ensure your customers get the best shipping value by comparing rates and taking advantage of available shipping discounts.
  • Consider offering value-added services, such as shipping with dry ice, signature confirmation, or shipping insurance depending on the product you’re shipping.

Canadian Shipping Options

There’s no shortage of Canadian shipping options out there. You’ll need to consider the cost of shipping, what services each carrier offers, and the length of transit times to choose which option is right for you. If you’re simply looking for the cheapest way to ship in Canada and/or ship internationally from Canada, UPS or Canada Post will be your best options.

Here’s a quick overview of common Canadian shipping options:

UPS Canada

Take a closer look at shipping with UPS in Canada and you’ll see that the carrier is no stranger to Canadian shipping—after all, they’ve been operating in the country since 1975. Boasting 88+ daily flights into the country and 63 local facilities, you can trust that your packages are in good hands with UPS. Also, with a fleet of over 3,000 delivery vehicles in Canada, you can count on packages being delivered safely and efficiently.

UPS Canada transit times range from one to five days, so there’s likely a service level that’ll meet your needs. Best of all, e-commerce merchants who create their UPS Canada account in Shippo automatically qualify for discounted shipping labels of up to 50% off UPS Expedited®, UPS Express®, and UPS Express Saver®, as well as up to 68% off UPS Standard®.

Common UPS Canada service lines include:

Service Line Delivery Window
UPS Worldwide Express 1-3 Business Days
UPS Worldwide Express Saver 1-3 Business Days
UPS Worldwide Expedited 2-5 Business Days
UPS Standard Day Definite by date scheduled

UPS also offers expert custom brokerage services, which helps reduce transit times by ensuring packages adhere to Canada’s customs regulations. If packages run into adherence problems, UPS brokerage services help you resolve the problem.

UPS also operates over 1,200 retail access points and UPS Stores® across Canada, making it easy for you to drop off your packages or get package pickup.

Canada Post Shipping

According to Statista, 24% of parcels in Canada in 2020 traveled via Canada Post shipping. Canada Post shipping rates are generally lower when compared to other carriers since the service already provides postal deliveries to 16.5 million addresses across Canada.

Though Canada Post offers competitive shipping rates, the carrier’s traditional service doesn’t offer guaranteed delivery times. This can be frustrating for customers and e-commerce companies due to longer transit times, which can take four days or more for international mail.

Luckily, Canada Post owns Purolator, which offers expedited delivery services for shipping in Canada. This delivery service offers shipment tracking information and, depending on the service level selected, guarantees delivery in anywhere from 1-2 business days. Purolator is the second-most popular delivery service in Canada and accounted for 10% of package movement in 2020.

 In exchange for longer transit times, you can extend your customers some of the lowest shipping prices in the industry. Also, Shippo users automatically get the ability to access discounted rates for Canada Post.

Common Purolator service lines include:

Service Line Delivery Window
Purolator Express® U.S. 9AM Next business day by 9:00am (select locations)
Purolator Express® U.S. 10:30AM Next business day by 10:30am (select locations)
Purolator Express® U.S. Next business day (select locations)
Purolator Ground® U.S. 2+ business days

Did you know that you can easily integrate Canada Post shipping on your Shippo account? Use your personal Canada Post account or add Shippo’s Canada Post Master account to get pre-negotiated discount shipping rates and make shipping in Canada a breeze.

FedEx

With coverage to 100% of Canadian residential addresses, FedEx is an excellent choice for Canadian shipping. FedEx offers guaranteed transit times when shipping to and from Canada, typically ranging from 2-7 business days.

DHL

DHL offers several service levels to accommodate an eclectic mix of price ranges and transit times. Their fastest service, DHL Express, guarantees international delivery by the next business day after shipment. Standard international mail, on the other hand, carries a transit time of anywhere from 4-8 days, depending on the destination.

Shipping from Canada to the U.S.

Shipping from Canada to the United States is easier than you think. Because the US considers Canada a preferential trade country, you’ll enjoy special privileges when shipping over the Canadian border.

That said, exporting goods from Canada to the United States still requires special documentation. Typically, that means an invoice that includes these key components:

  • Shipment date
  • Contact details for shipper and consignee
  • Detailed description of package contents
  • Value of item(s)

Thanks to the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), Canadian packages with a value of less than $800 USD should be able to enter the US for free. This helps you save time and money and is meant to encourage retailers to do business across the US-Canada border.

You will want to take note of certain restricted and banned US imports. Packages containing vegetables, products made with dog or cat fur, drug paraphernalia, and certain fish or wildlife are strictly prohibited, for example. Shipments containing items such as firearms, certain biological agents, and defense articles often require a special permit to ship.

For more, you can find a complete list of US import restrictions and prohibitions here.

International Shipping from Canada Best Practices

Shipping from Canada internationally requires much of the same documentation and attention to regulations as shipping from the US. However, things like shipping costs, transit times, and customs fees may vary, based on your destination.

To champion a positive customer experience, do your due diligence on international shipping from Canada. Set some time aside to research applicable taxes and fees, and ensure any items you intend to ship aren’t import-prohibited by your destination country. If you find your shipment is restricted in the importing country, carefully prepare the appropriate documentation.

How Shippo Helps with Canada Shipping

Shippo is dedicated to making your Canada shipping experience a positive one. Need help choosing a carrier? Use your accounts with Canadian carriers to easily compare rates and take advantage of our premier discounts with UPS Canada and Canada Post.

Having trouble keeping track of your import orders? Shippo’s user-friendly interface allows you to easily organize your orders for batch label printing and more. Shippo also supports shipping from the U.S. into Canada, giving you the ability to better distribute your inventory,

Sign up today to tap into support tools and deeply discounted rates that make Canadian shipping virtually effortless.

Sarah Rickerd is a Michigan-based freelance writer covering business, marketing, and technology topics. She is also the owner of Content Conquered, a B2B-focused content marketing consultancy.

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