Canadian Postal System

For the first time in my 55 years of living I find it necessary to send a first class letter to a Canadian address. How efficient is the Canadian Postal System (or however they term themselves)? Years ago, in the '80s, I sent post cards to friends when I was on vacation in Canada. I beat them home by three weeks.

Specifically, I am wondering what an average time would be for a letter to travel from Spokane, Washington to Toronto, Ontario.

Many thanks for all answers.

Two weeks, I’d say.

The USPS is one of the things that I prefer over home. Canada Post is sloooow compared to it.

Thank you, Ginger, for your prompt response.

Keep in mind that you are dealing with two postal systems so that is bound to slow things down further. I find my letters generally take 5 business days cross country, 3 business days cross town.

I know that USPS Global Priority Mail should take about 4-6 business days, but I think that’s only in the US. I’m not sure about Canada. I ordered something small on eBay and the seller is using Global Priority Mail (shipping was $5 USD for me), but it’s been 10 days so far and I still haven’t received it, so I’m betting that the Canadian postal system will slow it down somewhat.

Errm…that should be, “I think that’s only within the US…”

I doubt it would take long.

I shipped hundreds if not thousands of parcels via Canada Post at an old job. I have no recollection of them ever screwing up. Never a late shipment, never a lost or damaged parcel. Canada Post has a great logistical netowrk that spans the country (sending something from Vancouver to Toronto can take a single business day, if you spend a couple of bucks extra). I would be geniunely surprised if your letter took more than three business days to arrive.

I worked for an eBay PowerSeller. The Canadian postal system was by far the worst one, because of customs. They’d hold up things for 3 months without a word, and meanwhile the buyers thought we were ripping them off. I wouldn’t worry about a letter, though.

Is that what they do? Well, it’s probably at Customs right now, but I doubt they’ll hold my item long because they’re clothing articles that are about as big as a pair of socks. But, I wouldn’t worry about letters, either.

Back in Vancouver, my mother went to a community English class. One of their tasks was to send a postcard to someone else in the class. The person lived two blocks away.

It took two months to get there.

Our other experiences with the post were not as spectacularly awful, but they weren’t that great either. Make of it what you will.

My mother recently mailed some invitations to Canada. She was told that if it didn’t have “Airmail” written on it, it would take 6 weeks to get there. I’m not sure how long it was expected to take if it did have Airmail written on it.

While I don’t snail-mail much anymore, I find that the letters do get sent quickly through Canada Post. A couple of days if it is local, and 3 or 4 days national.

We’ve sent and received Air Mail to/from England ($1.20?) and had it in a couple days.

I’ve also sent stuff priority mail to Indiana and it took 10 days. Actually, we’ve sent a number of letters from Toronto to Indiana and regardless of the postage that we pay, it takes a painfully long time to get there. We’ve tried paying the highest rate below courier (I think the letter cost $7, while the guaranteed 2-day was $29) and it still took over a week. Then we sent a letter with the regular $0.80 stamp and got there a day quicker! BTW, the rate for a letter/postcard is now $0.85 to the US.

The only reason that I can think of is that we’re close to a sorting facility here in Toronto, and that the letter has to go through multpile facilities in the US to make it to the local distribution.

So, those experiences coupled with the lost mail that Western Union sent to an Ohio address doesn’t give me the best impression of USPS.

Postal worker checking in…

Okay, an Australian one, so I can’t comment on the Canadian situation, but I can give you a general overview of how it works, and how it works is thusly:

Postal administrations tend to treat incoming ex-overseas mail like dirt. To adapt the Australian experience to what I assume also goes on in Canada, it will work along the following lines: let’s say you have a sorting centre based in, say, Calgary. It will be responsible for reciept of mail from the various Calgary post offices, which it then sends out across the country and across the world. It will also be responsible for incoming mail for Calgary addresses. So, let’s look at the incoming stuff. It’s a busy night at the Calgary Mail Centre, and the place is humming. There are several hundred thousand letters “on hand”, waiting to be fed through the sorting machines. These are local, national, and international in origin. The duty manager has to prioritise this stuff, so he makes his pick of what to feed through first. This will invariably be what we (Australia Post) call “own to own”. That is, mail posted IN Calgary FOR Calgary. If that mail is delayed, then not only does Canada Post look bad generally, but the Calgary Mail Centre will look bad specifically, and it is that particular manager’s arse (bonuses etc) on the line. There is nowhere else that the mail has been - nobody else to blame. Next priority is domestic Canadian mail generally. If that’s late Canada Post still looks bad, but the manager can blame “those slack bastards in Toronto”. Finally, comes international mail, where you can shunt the blame over onto an entire different administration. A Canadian postal customer regularly receiving US mail late will invariably blame the USPS because “Hey, the local stuff gets here on time” (and of course it does, for the reasons given).

When postal administrations abuse this too much, it is not uncommon for the sending administration to send an arse-kicking delegation over, and then for a few weeks or months things improve. Then it gets slack again.

On the other hand, international mail can be quite quick when it wants to be. A letter from NYC to Toronto will be on a direct flight, and will go post office > mail centre > mail centre > post office. On the other hand, a letter from Buttfuck Nevada to Lower Buttfuck, North Carolina, might have to be handled many more times, even though it is domestic.

My wife is Canadian, so we mail stuff there all the time (Windsor and Toronto from Cleveland, specifically). Letters are always stamped or stickered “airmail” and postage is 60 cents. Our stuff only takes a day longer to reach their destination than domestic U.S. mail, FWIW.

I used to live on Whidbey Island, Washington and my family lives in Toronto, a letter sent by regular mail will take a week to get there on average.

And you say you’re NOT Canadian? :smiley:

My experience with Canada Post timewise is pretty much the same - in Calgary mail is very quick (a day or two), across Canada is a couple of days to a week. Even the stuff I get from the U.S. is pretty quick.

Maybe it’s my local mail carrier, but the problem with Canada Post is not their timing, but their quality. I tried to mail a subscription card from a magazine - it was returned because there was no postage on it. Um, turn it over, Einstein. If I try to return a piece of mail to the sender because the person addressed doesn’t live here, I have to black out the “To” address or it will keep coming back to my house again and again, regardless of what I have written on it (i.e. "Return to sender - not at this address.)