Updated:  Online Canadian Businesses Need Easy, Affordable Shipping Options

Please see the update below original post.

It has happened to most of us as consumers and businesses, that moment in the transaction when the shipping is calculated and the shopping cart is abandoned.  Whether it’s losing sales to high shipping rates, losing money from absorbing some or all of the shipping cost, or shocking shipping expenses when ordering stock or supplies; shipping is kicking Canadian businesses right where it hurts.

We Need to Nurture Small Web Businesses

  • Online small businesses are part of the stable base in the Canadian economy and they can play a huge part in our economic recovery.
  • Canadian eCommerce provides the online Canadian shopper with the option to buy Canadian and it brings in money from other countries.
  • Web businesses provide employment and allow individuals to become self-employed.

Facilitating online small business success is to facilitate the success of this country, which is why the Canadian Government needs to nurture them.  Lowering shipping costs through Canada Post would actually increase Canada Post’s revenue from additional small business customers and more frequent small business shipping.

Online Canadian Businesses - Shipping OptionsPrice is only part of the shipping issue, however.  Canada Post offers a tiny discount to businesses through their Venture One program (which is offset in part by a fuel surcharge that was never lifted).  What they don’t offer is easy shopping cart integration, and perhaps most importantly, flat rate shipping boxes.  All they’ve ever had is one flat-rate eBay/Paypal box that had to be purchased from eBay, resulting in little savings. Their flat rate envelopes are useless for most shipments and they don’t even have those for US shipping.

What I would like to see is a full range of flat-rate boxes provided free like USPS has, accompanied by a flat-rate deal that amounts to more than a few pennies in savings.  It should also include flat rates to the US.  Flat rate boxes would allow online merchants to integrate Canada Post shipping with any shopping cart software, without programming or paying a monthly fee for shopping cart maintenance.

Convenient, affordable shipping would also encourage self-employment and part-time ventures by facilitating easy shipping quotes for auctions, etc. Self-employment can make it feasible for people with physical or mental challenges, single Moms, etc., to work from home.  The benefits of encouraging online business are quite astounding when you think about the possibilities, but affordable shipping is a fundamental part of Web business success.

If Canada Post made it mandatory to use their online shipping tools to get the flat rate, they would save in manpower and offset the cost.  While USPS doesn’t do that, I believe it’s reasonable and it makes this a sound business move by Canada Post.  As an added economic bonus, the box manufacturing and printing could be done by a Canadian company.

The more reasonable cost and convenience would reduce a heavy burden on people who sell online.  It’s a relatively easy way to give the Canadian economy a boost, and we need to get the Canadian Government on board so they can call Canada Post on their mandate to provide affordable shipping solutions.  They don’t know what we need unless we tell them, so please drop them a polite note and/or share this post with them.

Most MLA’s, Premiers and Federal Government departments are on social media these days.  There are social media sharing buttons at the bottom of this post.  You can address the post to specific Government leaders with the “@” sign on both Twitter and Facebook.

Here are a few Twitter accounts for concerned parties:

Canada Post: @canadapostcorp
Canada’s Economic Action Plan: @economicplan
Industry Canada: @IC_News
Canada Business: @canadabusiness
Public Works and Government Services Canada: @PWGSC_TPSGC
Service Canada: @ServiceCanada_E

Let’s get some money flowing in Canada and bring in some foreign dollars while we’re at it… Let’s do business online!

—– UPDATE:  Canada Post has INCREASED their rates by 3.2-3.7%.  Rather than using online shipping tools to devise methods of lowering shipping costs, they now use it as an excuse to apply a surcharge for people who don’t use EST, on top of their latest increase.  I’m not sure how they’re calculating 3.2%, because today I shipped a parcel to the US that used to cost around $17.00, but now costs $22.00 for the exact same size and weight.

If that isn’t bad enough, the clerk at Pharmasave says that some can no longer drop off our parcels when we use online shipping tools.  Instead, we have to wait in line and have them check it, depending on who happens to be working.  I fail to see the point of using online shipping tools if we have to wait in line and have them do everything that they’re charging other people a surcharge to do, but logic isn’t exactly Canada Post’s strong suit.

Canada Post’s brilliant idea was to launch an expensive campaign informing Canadians they can use Canada Post to ship their online purchases. I don’t know of one single Canadian who doesn’t already know that. They’re not using Canada Post because they’re way too expensive.

Apparently, Canada Post is simply incapable of seeing beyond the end of their nose.  A thriving online business sector means an increase in shipping.  As it stands now, no customer wants to pay Canada Post’s inflated shipping costs.  Therefore, there will be far less shipping through Canada Post.  Even their own survey concluded shipping costs are the primary reason people don’t buy from Canadian businesses. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Everything about USPS says “We want your business”.  Everything about Canada Post says “We’re trying to go out of business and we’re taking you with us.”

Small businesses represent more than 98% of Canada’s businesses and eCommerce could take that to a whole new level.  If the government wants to improve the economy like it claims, it absolutely must step in to make shipping feasible for small businesses.  Contact them and let them know that Canada Post is going to stifle progress and put us all out of business if they’re not controlled.  Apparently they have to be forced to find innovative ways to be profitable beyond “jack up the prices”.

If the government can legislate people back to work because of “economic impact”, they can certainly call Canada Post on its mandate to provide affordable shipping options to Canadians.  They have failed.

—– End Update

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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Albert James

You have a lot of good articles to share.

Brent Roark

Their ignorance would be funny if it wasn’t so devastating. It’s like they took their kids to work and left them there to run the place.

What about the Chamber of Commerce? We could hit our local and national chapters? Somebody has to do something…this is insane.

Dennis Corey

It’s pretty obvious they know nothing at all about today’s shipping environment from the business perspective and they don’t care. I call for the government to force new management that has the knowledge and motivation to bring Canada Post into the digital age so Canadian businesses can stop lagging behind the US.

I bet someone like you would straighten them out and get them moving in a productive direction in no time. But they don’t want that. They’d rather cry about not being profitable and use it as an excuse to do the only thing they know how to do…up the prices until they’re out of business because we are. They’re overpaid, lazy and obviously have no idea what they’re doing.


I don’t know what the solution is but its glaringly obvious that shipping in this country is going to hurt businesses. As more go online it’s just going to become a bigger issue.


Maybe I’ll start a petition because something has to change.


Before I sold my ecommerce store we saw abandoned shopping carts on a regular basis and almost 80% were after shipping was calculated. That said it all.


I would love to see stats about how many businesses attribute their failure to shipping costs in Canada because I bet the number would scare you.


I actually did go out of business because of shipping! My products weren’t that big and heavy but shipping more than DOUBLED THE PRICES. Who is going to pay that????

Jim R.

I may be in touch for an interview. This story could make a big difference to small businesses in Canada.


Canada Post cuts off their nose to spite their face. If they’d put some brains behind it you have handed them a profitable idea and placed an economic boost on the government’s silver platter.


The government that does things like this to help me help myself will ABSOLUTELY HAVE MY VOTE!!

Susan ~ Calgary

Good luck trying to get Canada post to put some effort and creativity into their bottom line. They’re only capable of increasing prices.

Cynthia F.

You’re not kidding! Paying shipping and trying to charge my customers fairly is seriously going to put me out of business. Sales across the border? Forget about it!


I asked for flatrate boxes several years ago and the reply from canada post amounted to a virtual patting on the head like I couldn’t possibly understand. I hope pressure from leaders inspires change.


I saw it in an email newsletter too, encouraging Caandian businesses to fight for real change that makes a real difference to our success.


Agree x a million. We here speeches about how the government is supporting small businesses but they don’t want to put a little effort into doing something useful.


I just wanted to congratulate you on this article going viral. Links to it arrived in two newsletters this week. Maybe someone will listen.

Larry Sw

HERE HERE!!!!!!!! Shipping is insane and I’ve lost many customers because of it. CP could at least make some effort with flat rate boxes. USPS works for business and CP thinks they’re ENTITLED to business.


I couldn’t agree more and yes it comes down to the gov putting some pressure on.