Shopping Discussion

Mail Processing at Canada Customs SLOW?

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 19th, 2017 10:08 am
Sr. Member
Nov 21, 2004
991 posts
104 upvotes
the other day I shipped something from Downtown Toronto to Etobicoke, guess what, it took 2 weeks to deliver.
sonician wrote:
Aug 10th, 2017 9:31 am
First time posting to this thread, and I've a different angle to present. I'm a part-time seller on eBay, shipping 2-3 items a day, often domestically through Canada Post Lettermail (DVDs, CDs, etc).

I got a note from a buyer last night, who is in Victoria. BC, and reported his item arrived on the 8th of August (this past Tuesday).

I shipped it from Halifax on April 6th, 2017. I'd already refunded him back in early June after we assumed it was lost, and he was nice enough to re-send the payment.

This is now the 13th item that I've sent domestically, since the spring, that has taken longer than 3 weeks within Canada. This was the longest by far. But I've had some others take 56 days to Saskatoon, 21 days to Ottawa, and so forth.
Penalty Box
User avatar
Feb 9, 2009
633 posts
243 upvotes
sonician wrote:
Aug 10th, 2017 9:31 am
But I've had some others take 56 days to Saskatoon, 21 days to Ottawa, and so forth.
Indeed a new angle. I don't ship locally a lot, but regular letters (not goods, shipped in envelopes as lettermail) within a local region usually come fast, as well as traceable packets within Canada. It may be some sorts of non-traceable lettermail within Canada are delayed. If this is the case systematically, it confirms overall trend to elicit higher fees for shipping items locally by a traceable Expedited Parcel etc instead of regular mail. Can you document these cases with some dated shipping & buyer receipts? I'd imaging, its mostly relevant to larger heavier untraceable lettermail envelopes and media mail? CP internal Lettermail delivery standard within Canada is maxed at 8 days for envelopes 2.0cm thick with weight up to 0.5kg. Current law regulates only lettermail size & fee, but no delivery deadlines & penalties, so it creates an obvious loophole if CP wants to press buyers to ship locally with a more expensive shipping method.
Last edited by arnycus on Aug 10th, 2017 12:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Sep 14, 2009
812 posts
246 upvotes
Halifax
arnycus wrote:
Aug 10th, 2017 12:36 pm
Indeed a new angle. I don't ship locally a lot, but regular letters (not goods, shipped in envelopes as lettermail) within a local region usually come fast, as well as traceable packets within Canada. It may be some sorts of non-traceable lettermail within Canada are delayed. If this is the case systematically, it confirms overall trend to elicit higher fees for shipping items locally by a traceable Expedited Parcel etc instead of regular mail. Can you document these cases with some dated shipping & buyer receipts? I'd imaging, its mostly relevant to larger heavier untraceable lettermail envelopes and media mail? CP Lettermail delivery standard within Canada is maxed at 8 days for envelopes 20cm thick up to 0.5kg. Current law regulates only lettermail size & fee, but no delivery deadlines & penalties, so it creates an obvious loophole if CP wants to press buyers to ship locally with a more expensive shipping method.
Of the dozen plus items I shipped that took 3 weeks or more, all were standard, sub 20 mm (I assume that's you meant instead of 20cm) thick lettermail items in #0 envelopes.
So they go as standard lettermail, $185 up to 100g and so on.
Newbie
Mar 20, 2016
69 posts
23 upvotes
Vancouver
sonician wrote:
Aug 10th, 2017 9:31 am
First time posting to this thread, and I've a different angle to present. I'm a part-time seller on eBay, shipping 2-3 items a day, often domestically through Canada Post Lettermail (DVDs, CDs, etc).
I got a note from a buyer last night, who is in Victoria. BC, and reported his item arrived on the 8th of August (this past Tuesday).
I shipped it from Halifax on April 6th, 2017. I'd already refunded him back in early June after we assumed it was lost, and he was nice enough to re-send the payment.
This is now the 13th item that I've sent domestically, since the spring, that has taken longer than 3 weeks within Canada. This was the longest by far. But I've had some others take 56 days to Saskatoon, 21 days to Ottawa, and so forth.
16 days from Montreal to Vancouver for lettermail, not nearly as bad as yours but does show a pattern.
For reference here is Canada posts guidelines:
The delivery standards are estimates of how long it will take for the mail to be delivered. These delivery standards are not guaranteed.
Table 2: Delivery standards for the Lettermail service
Delivery Zone: Major Urban Centres
- Within Province = 3 days
- National = 4 days
Newbie
Nov 21, 2015
5 posts
1 upvote
Montreal, QC
jpwkr1 wrote:
Aug 10th, 2017 2:56 pm
16 days from Montreal to Vancouver for lettermail, not nearly as bad as yours but does show a pattern.
For reference here is Canada posts guidelines:
I don't have time to read a 234 page thread, so I don't know if this has been said before.

However, if the address has the wrong postal code, or is not legible by a machine (eg, you wrote the address in a wrong place, you have sloppy writing), then your package has to be hand routed.

This typically means it leaves whatever 'fast path' it would have taken before, and is routed to a special, regional mail center to be hand examined, and then finally routed where it normally should go. These facilities are sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

I had a monthly letter that took anywhere from 3 days to 30 days extra to reach me. After a couple of years of this, I investigated -- and this was the issue.

Just a FYI. I have zero idea if this is the case, but it surely sounds like something LIKE this.

https://www.canadapost.ca/tools/pg/manu ... sp#1637391
Member
Oct 12, 2012
306 posts
177 upvotes
Some orders from June-July. All are ordered from eBay or Aliexpress using the cheapest free shipping option and going to Vancouver.

Ordered June 13, arrived Aug 8 (56 days)
Ordered June 13, arrived Aug 9 (57 days)
Ordered June 13, arrived Aug 10 (58 days)
Ordered July 3, arrived Aug 10 (38 days)
Ordered July 10, not yet arrived
Ordered July 10, not yet arrived
Ordered July 10, not yet arrived
Ordered July 16, not yet arrived
Ordered July 27, not yet arrived
Ordered July 27, not yet arrived

Interesting that the 3 ordered on June 10 all arrived within 3 days of each other, so it lends credibility to the idea that they just put them in bins as they arrive and process them when they get to them.
Newbie
Jun 27, 2017
50 posts
3 upvotes
For everyone's reference here:
EMS:
Shipped on June 9, not yet arrived
Shipped on July 21, arrived July 26 (5 days)

Airmail:
Shipped on July 7, arrived July 12 (5 days)
Shipped on Aug 2, not yet arrived

Probably will have another parcel shipped this month through EMS as well. (They are expensive and rare items)
Newbie
User avatar
May 10, 2017
94 posts
13 upvotes
Liselsia wrote:
Aug 10th, 2017 7:11 pm
For everyone's reference here:
EMS:
Shipped on June 9, not yet arrived
Shipped on July 21, arrived July 26th (5 days)

Airmail:
Shipped on July 7, arrived July 12th (5 days)
Shipped on Aug 2, not yet arrived

Probably will have another parcel shipped this month through EMS as well. (They are expensive)
Of course it's up to you to use expensive shipping methods and sometimes it makes sense to send pricey item using expedited service.
I don't know if you know but you can always ask seller to use epacket (LM999***999CN) or UBI smart parcel (16-digit tracking number).
It takes around 2 weeks to arrive, well sometimes it might take a little bit longer. Still it less money.
Of course I'm talking about items that coming from China and South-East Asia through AE or EBay. Japan could be a little bit different though.
“They are not mad. They're trained to believe, not to know. Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is dangerous.”
Newbie
Jun 27, 2017
50 posts
3 upvotes
nixrfd wrote:
Aug 10th, 2017 7:36 pm
Of course it's up to you to use expensive shipping methods and sometimes it makes sense to send pricey item using expedited service.
I don't know if you know but you can always ask seller to use epacket (LM999***999CN) or UBI smart parcel (16-digit tracking number).
It takes around 2 weeks to arrive, well sometimes it might take a little bit longer. Still it less money.
Of course I'm talking about items that coming from China and South-East Asia through AE or EBay. Japan could be a little bit different though.
Shipping methods in Japan are quite limited, sadly.

My only choices are either Registered SAL, SAL Parcel, Airmail Small Packet, EMS, and FedEx.
However, FedEx is out of question. I've used it once, not a very pleasant experience. Though I've to admit that they are really fast.
Newbie
Mar 2, 2017
3 posts
asdgpjkdjksdfgdflkgdf wrote:
Aug 10th, 2017 3:44 pm
I don't have time to read a 234 page thread... but it surely sounds like something LIKE this.

https://www.canadapost.ca/tools/pg/manu ... sp#1637391
Kind of reminds me of the DMM (Domestic Mail Manual) in the U.S., which wasn't an easy read either. Anyway very interesting point, about the preference or trend (so to speak) towards machine readable labels. Yesterday's Toronto Star newspaper had a page one ad running along the bottom where Canada Post was encouraging "on-line sellers" to use special labels in tandem with their "Paypal business account".

Recent results for me (small packets) machine readable from Japan 2 wks approx to Toronto. Ditto one from the Los Angeles area. Today however one arrived from Iceland... ordered at midnight on July 30th. Not machine-readable just a laser printed text label so that's 11 days. Not bad.
Penalty Box
User avatar
Feb 9, 2009
633 posts
243 upvotes
Fashtambula wrote:
Aug 10th, 2017 9:14 pm
Yesterday's Toronto Star newspaper had a page one ad running along the bottom where Canada Post was encouraging "on-line sellers" to use special labels in tandem with their "Paypal business account".
Paypal sellers can be lost after reading your post. Smiling Face With Open Mouth Because Paypal.ca has being offering integrated CP payment & label printing for years. Its not "special", but an ordinary label with a (machine readable) barcode if you pay for a tracking number as required by Paypal Seller Protection. For Canada letter-mail, barcodes are only available for Registered mail at 3 times higher fee, so the seller would usually print or write the address label himself and drop the letter at the outlet. Sorting conveyor equipment can read and recognize hand-written addresses too, so in that sense its also machine-readable, unless you can offer a stricter definition. The only requirements: the label address must adhere to CP Addressing Guidelines and should fully fit on one side of the envelope. Presence of a barcode shouldn't have any effect on delivery speed, its just a tracking number, unless express shipping method was paid for. Standard lettermail is usually untraceable, but still must be delivered within CP posted delivery times. Its highly unlikely, regular Ebay sellers would attached a bad address label to lettermail, and in any case its likely to be printed, not handwritten.
Last edited by arnycus on Aug 10th, 2017 10:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 13, 2002
2873 posts
443 upvotes
So a few days ago, chaingunsofdoom shared with us that the Canada Post Ombudsman had been asked what was up with the delay and that the reply back basically pointed the finger at the CBSA (bolding mine):
CP Ombudsman, via chaingunsofdoom wrote:As you may know, International postal regulations require that every item entering Canada is subject to review for admissibility into Canada by the Canada Border Services Agency. On occasion, an item may be sent for secondary inspection which may cause a further delay in the clearance time.

Please understand that Canada Post has no involvement whatsoever with the Customs clearance process or regulations. As indicated on our website, “Canada Post has no information on specific items awaiting customs inspection.

Once an item is released by Customs, Canada Post is then responsible
for the sorting, transportation and delivery of the shipment."
As I'm still waiting for an item shipped from Europe in June, and can see on a Euro tracking site that it arrived in Canada on July 13th and hasn't moved since, I wrote to the CBSA to complain about the processing backlog and ask why the processing delays are getting worse with time, not better. I must mention that the CBSA's Complaints webform requested my parcel's tracking number, so I provided it, and I also explained briefly in the body of my complaint that CP is blocking tracking updates on internationally-sent inbound parcels, yet foreign tracking services reveal updates. Anyhow, here's their reply, bolding and underline mine to emphasize that we're being sent in circles:
CBSA, in an email reply to me wrote:The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) administers more than 90 acts, regulations, and international agreements on behalf of other federal departments and agencies, the provinces, and the territories. We examine any imported item that comes into Canada by mail that is suspected to contain goods mentioned in the Customs Tariff or any goods that are prohibited, controlled, or regulated under any act of Parliament.

It is important to note that all items in the postal stream, even those in the CBSA area, are considered to be within the course of post and it is the responsibility of Canada Post Corporation (CPC) to respond to client inquiries as to the status of a shipment. Therefore, we encourage clients to continue to verify status of their postal items by visiting the CPC Web site at: www.canadapost.ca

For all inquiries regarding the tracing of parcels, please contact the CPC directly at either the Web site listed above, or by telephone at 1-888-550-6333.


If you contact the CPC and they advise you that your parcel is being reviewed by the CBSA, please ensure that you ask them the exact date your parcel was presented to the CBSA for review and to confirm the location of the mail facility reviewing your parcel. This information is necessary if you wish to contact the CBSA again for further assistance on this matter.

For general inquiries, you may also contact the CPC at 1-866-607-6301.

For the majority of mail items, the CBSA will release them as they are presented by the CPC to our officers. Should further processing be required either by the CBSA or by another government department in order to make a release decision, or during periods of significant mail volumes, processing times may increase. Once an item has been released, it is returned to the CPC for final delivery.

Although the CBSA is committed to ensuring the expeditious flow of mail across the border, it is important to note that our mission is to ensure the security and prosperity of Canada by managing the access of people and goods into Canada. At this time, we regret that we cannot provide you with specific information regarding the time frame for clearing your parcel.

The CBSA is required by law to inform the CPC within 60 days of all mail items seized or detained, unless the mail has been delivered to the addressee or returned to the CPC before the expiry of that time.

We thank you for contacting the Canada Border Services Agency.
I will be phoning CP on Friday. And wouldn't be surprised if my parcel suddenly arrives, not that will excuse anything.
Penalty Box
User avatar
Feb 9, 2009
633 posts
243 upvotes
RenegadeX wrote:
Aug 10th, 2017 11:34 pm
CBSA is required by law to inform the CPC within 60 days of all mail items seized or detained.
Ask CP what exact regulation requires that. Also keep in mind, once a container or pallet is unloaded from a ship, airline, or truck in Canada, its brought by CP to their nearest plant yard, and may sit on that yard indefinitely long (reportedly up to 6 months) without been scanned and admitted to arrive in Canada. So CP CSR would tell you the item is not in Canada yet, despite airline data shows the opposite. Once the pallet is scanned by CP, each of its packages tracking is updated via Electronic Shipment Manifest that accompanies the pallet. Then CBSA decides looking at the Manifest submitted by CP whether they want to physically examine the pallet's content, or deem safe and clear back to CP without examination. In both cases CP would scan the pallet again with corresponding tracking code, and its packets tracking is updated again via Manifest kept in the CP DB. Once cleared by Customs, the pallet may be brought by CP to the adjacent sorting plant or sent to a less busy international mail plant in another province for sorting. At this point it may be held again indefinitely long (reportedly up to 3 months) before CP actually sorts it to bins sent to local depots.

That means, if CP ever presented your packet or its data to CBSA, both CP and CBSA would have a record of it with exact "received" and "released" dates. So if CP refuses to give you a date when the packet was sent to CBSA, this likely means the container or pallet is still sitting unopen on the CP plant backyard (also called a bonded warehouse). If CBSA gives you the release date, then the pallet or cages with packets released by Customs now sit at CP sorting plant. CP may hold them indefinitely long without sorting, since the law at present does not specify any specific processing deadlines, unless your delivery method contract includes specific time guarantee and shipping fee refund for failure to deliver within that time. In the latter case, the actual shipper may notify CP they give up their rights to you (the receiver) to claim the refund or request a lost item trace, if CP was the only postal service carrying this item along the entire route.
Newbie
Jun 25, 2017
3 posts
Hi everyone. I need some advice. So I ordered 1 pair of jeans from the UK back in April that I never received so I ordered it again when they finally restocked it. Now for some reason my package got sent to the Middle East via express (but I did not choose express and they probably figured that I'm the same customer who never received my package) and I'm being charged by customs there for $38 CAD. I already contacted both the retailer and the postal service that's handling my package right now but I don't expect a fast reply from them. This is the first time that something like this happened to me and I'm unsure what to do. Am I really required to pay for customs from another country? Has this happened to anybody else?

I'm never ordering from that website again. I'll just wait until they stock their items at The Bay lol.

Top

Thread Information

There is currently 1 user viewing this thread. (0 members and 1 guest)