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Jaidyn Farar

Shipping To Canada – Carrier Comparisons, Fees, and More

by Jaidyn Farar

Canada is known for its maple syrup, hockey, and gorgeous natural environment (among other things). It’s also home to over 40 million people, many of whom are avid online shoppers. By shipping your products to Canada, you can tap into a new consumer market and begin boosting your brand recognition worldwide. Here’s what you need to know.

So you’re shipping to Canada, eh? 

Shipping to Canada can seem intimidating, especially if you’ve never shipped internationally before. You might even wonder if it's worth it. After all, shipping to other countries is generally more complicated and expensive than shipping within the United States. 

However, if you’re a U.S.-based company, Canada is actually a great country to test the waters with international shipping. With a thriving economy, great ecommerce infrastructure, and a shared border with the U.S., Canada presents a relatively low-maintenance opportunity to get your cross-border logistics up and running. 

To make sure shipping to Canada helps (and doesn’t hurt) your business, you’ll need to understand taxes and customs, be aware of the most cost-effective shipping options, and choose the right carriers. 

In this article, we’ll review how to ship packages to Canada from the U.S. If you’re curious about the ins and outs of international shipping in general, learn more here.

Taxes, customs, and fees

When shipping to Canada from the U.S., it can be challenging to figure out taxes and customs clearance. But with a little research and preparation, you’ll ensure your shipments get through customs with no issues.

Taxes and duties

A Goods and Services Tax (GST) is an indirect tax levied on goods and services. It’s paid by consumers, but usually included in the price of products and remitted to the government by the business selling the products.

When consumer goods worth over CAN $20 are imported through the mail, Canada imposes a 5% GST. When products are imported by a carrier, those worth over CAN $40 are taxed. 

Some Canadian provinces collect Harmonized Tax (HST) at a rate of 13% instead of GST. Others collect both GST and Provincial Sales Tax (PST), which ranges from 6% to 9.975%.

In addition to GST (or its alternatives), you may need to pay duties on products you ship to Canada. Duties are import taxes meant to protect local industries, and the duties you pay when shipping to Canada will depend on the type of goods you’re importing and their country of origin. 

Note: These numbers are accurate as of February 2024, but taxes and duties are always subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Canadian government’s website.


When your packages reach the Canadian border, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will inspect them, calculate taxes and duties owed, and release them for delivery. To make sure your shipments clear customs—and arrive at their destinations in time—you must fill out all required customs documentation. 

The CBSA provides a step-by-step guide for importing products into Canada. 

Shipping costs and additional fees

Of course, we can’t forget shipping costs! In addition to normal rates, carriers often charge additional fees (surcharges) for things like fuel and residential delivery. On top of these costs, there are brokerage fees: charges incurred when a third-party brokerage service—often the carrier—helps with customs documentation and compliance.

We’ll go into more detail on shipping rates later, but for now, let’s review a few simple tips to save money when shipping from the U.S. to Canada: 

Package rules and restrictions

When shipping to another country, it’s essential to be aware of restricted or prohibited items. If you try to illegally import something, you can get hit with some pretty hefty fines. The Canadian government’s website gives more details about restricted items, including things like:

  • Firearms and weapons
  • Explosives, fireworks, and ammunition
  • Cannabis
  • Food, plants, and animals

In addition to these regulations, make sure to follow individual carrier requirements. Visit your chosen carrier’s website to find a list of things they won’t ship, and follow their packaging guidelines for hazardous materials. 

How long does it take to get a package to Canada? 

Usually, packages can be delivered to Canada within 1-10 business days; however, customs delays, bad winter weather, and other factors can increase transit times. While bad weather is unavoidable, you can take action to avoid customs delays by filling out the required documentation completely and accurately. 

Carriers offer many options for shipping to Canada, including expedited and express options that arrive within a day or two. For non-urgent packages, you can use slower but more cost-effective services. 

What is the cheapest way to ship to Canada?

The most affordable way to ship to Canada depends on package size and weight, delivery distance, and delivery time. If you’re shipping small, heavy items, you can’t beat USPS flat-rate shipping. While FedEx and UPS tend to be spendier, they do offer some low-cost options.

In addition to comparing carrier costs, you should also rely on technology to save money when shipping to Canada. By using a shipping API like EasyPost, you’ll access rate discounts for both domestic and international shipping. Learn more and sign up for free.

Shipping to Canada with USPS

Although USPS deliveries may take a bit longer than UPS or FedEx ones, they also cost less. One of the best USPS options? Flat-rate shipping.

USPS is the only carrier that offers flat-rate shipping to Canada. Because flat-rate pricing doesn’t take package weight into account, it’s an excellent choice if you’re shipping small, heavy items. Another bonus is that flat-rate packaging is free and can be ordered and shipped to you at no cost from the store.

USPS Priority Mail International® offers both weight-based and flat-rate options. If you choose to ship flat-rate, you’ll be able to choose a small, medium, or large box (provided by USPS). Just keep in mind that each box has a weight limit. 

Flat-rate shipments from the U.S. to Canada take anywhere from 6 to 10 business days; prices are shown below.

Box size
Maximum weight (pounds)
Retail price (USD)
Commercial price (USD)

Would you rather pay by package weight? Use Priority Mail International or Priority Mail Express International®. Pricing will vary drastically based on package weight and destination country, so use this cost calculator to get an estimate of the exact cost to ship your packages.

Delivery time (business days)
USPS Priority Mail International
USPS Priority Mail Express International

Other USPS international shipping options include:

  • Global Express Guaranteed® (date-certain delivery with a money-back guarantee)
  • First-Class Package International Service® (packages under 4 pounds)

Shipping to Canada with FedEx 

FedEx has many fast, reliable delivery options for shipping to Canada. Let’s explore some of their offerings. (To learn exactly how much it will cost to ship your packages, check out FedEx’s rate calculator.)  

Delivery time (business days)
FedEx International Ground®
FedEx International Economy®
FedEx International Connect Plus
FedEx International Priority®

Other FedEx international shipping options include:

  • International Priority® Express
  • International First®

When shipping with FedEx (and UPS), be aware that you may need to pay customs brokerage fees in addition to the shipping cost. While brokerage services help your shipments clear customs more easily, they can significantly affect the total cost of shipping. 

Both FedEx and UPS may also apply delivery area surcharges for shipments to remote or less accessible locations. 

Shipping to Canada with UPS

With quick delivery and accurate package tracking, UPS is an excellent option for shipping to Canada. Bear in mind, though, that like FedEx, UPS may charge customs brokerage fees and delivery area surcharges that can drive up costs.

Delivery time and total cost will depend on the distance the package is traveling; use this calculator for exact pricing.

Delivery time (business days)
UPS Standard
UPS Worldwide Expedited®
UPS Worldwide Express™

Other UPS international shipping options include:

  • UPS Express Critical®
  • UPS Worldwide Express Plus®
  • UPS Worldwide Saver®
  • UPS Express® Early to the U.S.
  • UPS Worldwide Express Saver®
  • UPS 3 Day Select® to the U.S.

Accepting returns from Canada? Ship through Canada Post

Once you’ve sent a package to Canada, the last thing you want to do is receive that package again. But if you offer returns, you need a plan for shipping back items that customers have changed their minds about.

For an affordable return option that’s familiar to Canadian customers, use Canada Post. Canada Post is the government-owned postal service in Canada responsible for mail and package delivery—think of it as the Canadian counterpart of the USPS.

When you ship with EasyPost, you’ll access discounts on return shipping through Canada Post and all the carriers mentioned above. 

Simplify your cross-border shipping with EasyPost

Shipping to Canada comes with some built-in roadblocks—higher carrier rates, bad winter weather, and strict customs requirements—but with a little preparation, you can overcome the obstacles. EasyPost is here to help!

With a comprehensive suite of shipping APIs, EasyPost automates key elements of the shipping process to save you time and money. Sign up for free to simplify your international shipping using the following features (and more):

  • Shipping label generation
  • Carrier rate discounts
  • Package tracking
  • Address verification
  • Shipping insurance

EasyPost doesn’t just save you time and money—it also helps you save the planet. Carbon offsets are purchased for each shipment processed through the API (at no cost to you or your customers), so every package is carbon neutral. With 73% of Canadians agreeing that sustainability is important, offering carbon neutral shipping will help you gain more customers on the other side of the border.