Finding the cheapest way to ship to Canada is important for any growing business. Whether you ship to Canada with UPS, FedEx, or USPS, there are many affordable options depending on what you’re selling and how much your orders weigh. This blog will help you find options for cheapest shipping to Canada.
Why Canadian Shoppers Are Important
Other than China, Canada is the US’s largest trading partner. And since China has a population that is 40 times larger (1.4 billion more citizens) than Canada, some could reasonably consider Canada to be our largest trading partner. We exchange over $500,000,000,000 in goods with Canada each year. Because of this close relationship, shipping across the border to Canada is not particularly difficult. Furthermore, the US is Canada’s largest trading partner, accounting for 75% of all of their exports. So, basically, if you properly document your contents, and don’t ship banned items, you should be fine shipping to Canada from the US.
Cheapest Way to Ship to Canada
Canada is an affordable international market to break into. A large portion of its population is near their southern border to the US and despite packages having to pass through customs and potentially being handed off to a different carrier, it is fairly quick, too.
What Is the Cheapest Way to Ship to Canada for Parcels Under 4 Pounds?
The USPS is generally the most affordable way to ship to Canada for light parcels. Once they reach the border, USPS hands the parcels over to Canada Post (the Canadian equivalent of USPS) for final delivery.
When to Ship With First Class Mail International to Canada
First Class Mail International is the cheapest way to send parcels to Canada. Keep in mind, FCMI does not have an estimated delivery timeframe. So, you can expect it take about 2-3 weeks to make final delivery.
When to Ship With Priority Mail International To Canada
If you need a lightweight parcel delivered in a timely manner, USPS Priority Mail International is a good choice. Priority Mail International promises a delivery timeframe of 6–10 days to Canada. Priority Mail Express International has a delivery timeframe of 3–5-days when shipping to Canada.
What Is the Cheapest Way to Ship to Canada for Parcels Over 4 Pounds?
UPS has great options for getting your parcels to Canada. They offer a range of services—economical and express—when you ship to Canada. Generally, shipments to Canada take 2-7 days to reach final delivery for UPS Ground. Cost-effective services that are similar to UPS Ground are USPS Priority International and FedEx International Ground.
Get International Shipping Discounts With UPS From ShipStation
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Additional Fees When Shipping to Canada
In addition to customs and duties that either a merchant or customer pays upon delivery, other fees can be accrued on international shipments. UPS and FedEx may charge additional fees on top of the delivery fees. These fees are not included in the initial rate. These fees may be due to improper packaging, oversized/awkwardly sized packaging, or exceeds a weight threshold.
How to Create Customs Forms For Shipping to Canada From US
As with all international shipments, parcels shipped to Canada require customs forms.
For the USPS, the customs declarations appear on the label. So, there is no additional documentation you need to provide beyond the label.
FedEx and UPS require commercial invoices for international shipments. While these forms are required, it is possible to submit these electronically via EDI and ETD. This is also true of shipping to Puerto Rico and other US territories with FedEx and UPS.
Customs Costs When Shipping to Canada
Canada does have a few regulations around guaranteeing public safety around imported goods. The CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) screens mail for trade facilitation, tariff rating, and examining for potentially prohibited or controlled goods. Parcels valued at over $20 CAD can be searched and have a handling fee applied to the end consumer (or payor if selected).
You can also prepay customs duties and taxes on your customers’ behalf with Delivery Duties Paid (or DDP) through ShipStation.
Items Prohibited from Shipping to Canada
Be aware that Canada Post will not ship certain items, so if you ship USPS, these banned items will not be able to be handed off to Canada Post.
- Tobacco items of any form (cigarettes, cigars, chewing/dipping tobacco, and ecigs) are prohibited.
- Live animals
- Canada post allows exceptions via special permitting for bees, day-old chicks/hatching eggs, parasites, leeches, and some other small cold-blooded animals.
- Certain plants are also prohibited, for an up to date list on prohibited flora, contact Canada Post directly.
- Currency, even antique coins (I suppose arcade tokens, too?)
- Packages that are wet or emit a foul odor (Well la-ti-da!)
- Lottery tickets or any other gambling items
- For a full list of prohibited, read this.
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