Tips On Shipping Packages to Canada

Shipping packages to Canada used to be as complicated as shipping packages to other international destinations however this has changed in recent years. Canada has become a major US ecommerce trade partner and as such, the process for shipping packages to Canada has been streamlined, although there are a few items which should be noted as a bit different from domestic shipping. Keep in mind when shipping packages to Canada that your package will travel on multiple vehicles and will need to withstand being repeatedly onloaded and offloaded. As such, extra care in packaging and labeling should be taken to make sure your package survives the extra handling when shipping packages to Canada. Below are some tips to help you when shipping to Canada:

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The Box

  • Choose a box with enough room for cushioning material around the contents. If you are reusing a box, cover all previous labels and markings with heavy black marker or adhesive labels.
  • When reusing boxes, make sure the structural integrity of the box is intact. A box that is floppy or soft is not suitable for shipping.
  • Do not wrap packages in paper or bind them with twine – this can cause them to get caught in conveyor belts or to be ripped during handling. In fact, UPS will not accept packages wrapped in paper or bound in twine.
  • Enclose an extra label, business card or letterhead with the shipper's address and phone number and the recipient's address and phone number inside the package before sealing it. If the outer packaging gets damaged the shipper will still have the return information. Also be sure to add a return address on the outside of the box in at least 2 places.
  • Use an appropriate size box. A box which is too small does not allow adequate space for cushioning. A box which is too large leaves too much room for an item to shift and may be charged a surcharge.


  • Put 3" of cushioning, such as air-cellular cushioning, loose fill peanuts, corrugated fiberboard, foam pads, crumpled paper or molded plastic, on all sides of the container to fill void spaces and prevent movement of goods inside the box during shipping. Close and shake the box to see if you've used enough. If your item shakes or shifts, add more. Keep in mind that when shipping to England your item is going to get shaken ALOT and the packaging material will settle.
  • Place goods that might be affected by dirt, water or wet conditions inside a plastic bag.
  • Consolidate small parts or spillable granular products in a strong sealed container.
  • Double-box fragile items with 3 inches of cushioning in and around the smaller box.
  • Wrap items fragile individually with cushioning material and center them in cartons away from other items and away from the sides, corners, top and bottom of the container.
  • Position bottles that contain liquids upright. Use an inner seal and perforated breakaway cap. The inner packaging must be able to contain leaks.

Customs Forms

  • It's absolutely vital that your customs forms are filled out properly and entirely when shipping packages to Canada. When shipping online the carriers will direct you to the proper forms to fill out. When shipping packages to Canada from a retail location ask the for proper forms. Make sure everything is filled out accurately and DO NOT try to falsify the value or the contents. This can result in criminal penalties and is certainly not worth saving a few dollars in tariffs.

Compare Shipping Rates

  • You'll be amazed at how much the rates vary when shipping packages to Canada between carriers, even on the same package. You can save big by comparing rates between the carriers to find the best price for your package. You can do this by going to each shippers website or with the Shipping Sidekick international shipping rate calculator.

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