How Canada Post gets parcels to Northern regions

May 12, 2021
2 minute read

Canada Post is proud to deliver to everyone, everywhere in the country, and we understand we have a special obligation to serve our Northern communities. In those remote regions, we are typically the only delivery provider. That makes us their lifeline to the online world.

We’re committed to providing reliable delivery service and our network includes unique features to help us do that in the North.

Watch this video on how parcels move through the postal system and arrive in Northern regions:

We rely on private airlines to fly packages to 180 Northern communities. These aircraft transport passengers and their luggage, perishable food items, and mail. Passengers take priority.

When these popular flights are full, there is sometimes no room for cargo, including mail. Parcels destined for northern regions go on the next available flight, which could be days later.

Each community airstrip has its own landing and take-off restrictions, determined by visibility and runway length. Those restrictions determine the maximum weight allowed on a particular flight. Where maximum weights are low, arriving flights carry less cargo, including mail.

As part of our responsibility to keep every community safe, postal inspectors scan all packages before they are loaded on planes. Packages containing non-mailable matter, such as alcohol and illicit drugs, are removed from the delivery stream.

Right now, the volume of parcels destined for Northern regions is high, causing backlogs and delays throughout the postal network. Sometimes we must stop the mail at our southern facilities and wait for backlogs in the North to clear. Northern retail outlets receive so much mail, they often have no space to sort and store it all. We hold mail at our facilities or at airports until customers pick up packages and retail outlets can accommodate another mail shipment. We are working to reduce delays in all areas of our network.

When packages are delivered to Northern postal outlets, workers must scan them before giving them to customers. Workers process packages as quickly as possible, and we’re asking customers to be patient and friendly with them.

Please help us keep postal outlets safe for everyone.

  • Visit this page for a complete list of non-mailable matter Canada Post doesn’t deliver.
  • To track packages, call Canada Post customer service at 1-866-607-6301, visit or, download the Canada Post app.