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Canada Post International Tracking: What You Need to Know


Navigating the world of international shipping can be a stressful experience, especially when you’re sending valuable items across borders. With countless possibilities for delays or mishaps, knowing the status of your package is crucial for peace of mind. Thankfully, Canada Post offers a comprehensive tracking system that allows you to monitor your shipments every step of the way, providing vital information on their journey.

This blog post serves as your ultimate guide to understanding and utilizing Canada Post’s international tracking system. We’ll delve into the details of tracking numbers, explain how to access real-time updates, and equip you with the knowledge to troubleshoot any tracking issues that may arise. So, whether you’re a seasoned shipper or a first-time sender, read on to master the art of tracking your international packages with Canada Post.

Table of Contents

Understanding Canada Post Tracking Numbers

Before diving into the tracking process, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals of Canada Post tracking numbers. These unique identifiers are assigned to each package and act as your key to accessing shipment information.

Types of Canada Post Tracking Numbers

Canada Post offers various shipping services, each with its own distinct tracking number format.

  • Standard Mail: These tracking numbers typically begin with “RA” (Registered Mail) followed by a series of numbers.
  • Express Mail: Express shipments utilize tracking numbers that start with “EX” (Express) and include a sequence of digits.
  • Priority Mail: This service employs tracking numbers similar to standard mail, often starting with “RA” followed by a specific sequence of numbers.

Decoding the Tracking Number Format

The format of Canada Post tracking numbers is not random; it reveals valuable insights about the shipment. For instance, the first two letters often indicate the shipping method (e.g., “RA” for registered mail). The subsequent digits represent a unique identifier that distinguishes your package from others.

Examples of Valid Canada Post Tracking Numbers

To visualize the structure of tracking numbers, here are a few examples:

  • RA123456789CA
  • EX9876543210CA
  • RA0123456789CA

Tracking Number vs. Reference Number

It’s crucial to differentiate between a tracking number and a reference number. While a tracking number provides real-time location updates, a reference number is a general identifier associated with a shipment. This number might be found on your receipt or shipping confirmation but doesn’t offer precise tracking information.

Accessing Tracking Information

Now that you understand the basics of Canada Post tracking numbers, let’s explore the various methods for accessing this valuable information.

Canada Post Website

The Canada Post website is your primary hub for tracking international shipments.

Step 1: Navigate to the Canada Post website.
Step 2: Locate the “Track a Package” section.
Step 3: Enter your tracking number in the designated field.
Step 4: Click “Track” to initiate the search.

The website provides various views for tracking information:

  • Summary View: This overview presents the most recent status update, including the expected delivery date and any potential delays.
  • Detailed View: This option offers a comprehensive history of your shipment, including each scan point, date, and time.

Canada Post Mobile App

For on-the-go tracking, Canada Post offers a user-friendly mobile app available on both iOS and Android platforms.

Step 1: Download the Canada Post app from your device’s app store.
Step 2: Launch the app and tap on the “Track” option.
Step 3: Enter your tracking number and press “Track.”

The app provides similar information to the website, allowing you to monitor your package’s status conveniently.

Email and SMS Notifications

Stay informed without constantly checking the website by subscribing to Canada Post’s email and SMS notifications.

Step 1: Access your Canada Post account or create one.
Step 2: Navigate to your account settings and opt-in for notifications.
Step 3: Choose your preferred notification methods (email, SMS, or both).

You’ll receive timely updates on your shipment’s progress, including departure, arrival, and delivery confirmation.

Third-Party Tracking Services

Several third-party tracking services offer enhanced tracking capabilities and consolidate information from multiple carriers, including Canada Post.

  • ParcelTrack: This popular service aggregates tracking data from various providers, offering a unified platform for managing your shipments.
  • 17track: This global tracking platform supports a wide range of carriers and provides detailed tracking information for international shipments.

These services can be particularly useful for monitoring shipments with multiple transit points and offer additional features like package history and alerts.

Interpreting Tracking Updates

Understanding the language of Canada Post tracking updates is crucial for making sense of your package’s journey.

Common Tracking Status Updates

Here are some common tracking updates you might encounter:

  • “In Transit”: Your package is currently moving between locations, but its exact position is not yet known.
  • “Delivered”: Your package has been successfully delivered to the designated address.
  • “Exception”: An unexpected event has occurred, affecting your shipment’s delivery timeline.

Examples and Interpretations

  • “In Transit – Departed Canada Post Sorting Facility”: Your package has left a Canada Post facility and is on its way to the next destination.
  • “Delivered – Successfully delivered to the recipient’s door”: Your package has reached its final destination.
  • “Exception – Delivery attempted but recipient unavailable”: A delivery attempt was made, but the recipient was not present.

Limitations and Discrepancies

Remember that tracking information is not always perfect and may experience delays or inaccuracies.

  • Real-time Data: Tracking updates may not reflect the package’s exact location, especially for international shipments, which involve multiple transit points and different carriers.
  • System Errors: Occasional errors in the tracking system can lead to inaccurate or missing updates.

Tracking Information for Different Delivery Methods

The interpretation of tracking updates may vary slightly depending on the chosen shipping method.

  • Standard Mail: Standard mail tracking updates might be less frequent, with updates primarily occurring at major transit points.
  • Express Mail: Express mail typically offers more frequent updates, reflecting the package’s progress more closely.

Troubleshooting Tracking Issues

While Canada Post’s tracking system is generally reliable, occasional issues might arise. Here’s how to tackle common problems:

Verifying Tracking Number Accuracy

  • Double-check the entered tracking number: Ensure that you’ve typed the number correctly, as even a single misplaced digit can prevent accurate tracking.
  • Confirm the number’s source: Ensure the tracking number is valid and originates from a reliable source (e.g., shipping confirmation email).

Delayed or Unavailable Tracking Information

  • Time Zones: International shipments often involve multiple time zones, so tracking updates may appear delayed due to differences in time.
  • Transit Points: Packages might be in transit between facilities or countries, with limited tracking updates during these periods.
  • System Overload: During peak shipping seasons or periods of high volume, the tracking system might experience delays or temporary outages.

Contacting Canada Post Customer Service

If you’re facing persistent tracking issues or need clarification, don’t hesitate to contact Canada Post customer service for assistance. You can reach them through phone, email, or online chat.

Tips for Successful Tracking

Following these best practices can enhance your tracking experience and minimize potential issues:

  • Maintain Accurate Records: Save your tracking number and shipping confirmation emails for future reference.
  • Utilize Third-Party Tracking Services: Enhance visibility by using trusted third-party services that aggregate tracking information from various sources.
  • Prevent Tracking Problems: Ensure the recipient’s address is accurate, select the appropriate shipping method for your needs, and provide clear instructions for delivery.

FAQ Section

Here are some frequently asked questions about Canada Post international tracking:

Q1: Can I track international shipments sent through a third-party vendor (e.g., Amazon) using Canada Post?

A1: Yes, you can often track international shipments sent through third-party vendors using Canada Post. If the vendor uses Canada Post for international delivery, you’ll receive a Canada Post tracking number that you can use to monitor its progress. However, if the vendor uses a different courier for international shipping, you’ll need to use their tracking system instead.

Q2: What happens if my tracking information is incorrect or unavailable?

A2: If your tracking information is incorrect or unavailable, the first step is to double-check the entered tracking number and ensure its accuracy. If the number is correct, consider contacting Canada Post customer service for assistance. They can help verify the tracking information, provide updates, or investigate potential issues with the shipment.

Q3: Can I track shipments sent from other countries to Canada using Canada Post?

A3: No, Canada Post’s tracking system is primarily designed for shipments originating from Canada. If you’re receiving a package from another country, you’ll need to use the tracking system provided by the courier in the originating country. However, you may still be able to track the shipment within Canada once it’s handed over to Canada Post for delivery.

Q4: Is there a way to track a package without a tracking number?

A4: Unfortunately, tracking a package without a tracking number is generally not possible. Tracking numbers are crucial for identifying and locating packages within Canada Post’s system.

Q5: How long does it typically take for international shipments to arrive?

A5: The delivery time for international shipments varies depending on the destination country, shipping method, and customs clearance procedures. Canada Post provides estimated delivery timeframes for various destinations on their website.

Q6: What are the standard delivery timeframes for international shipments?

A6: Standard delivery timeframes for international shipments vary based on the destination. For example, shipments to the United States typically take 5-10 business days, while shipments to Europe and Asia can take 10-20 business days or more. It’s best to check Canada Post’s website for specific delivery timeframes to your desired location.

Q7: How can I report a lost or damaged package?

A7: If your package is lost or damaged, you can file a claim with Canada Post. You’ll need your tracking number and supporting documentation, such as the shipping confirmation email or receipt. Canada Post will investigate the issue and provide compensation if they determine the package was lost or damaged due to their negligence.

Q8: What are the potential fees associated with international shipping?

A8: International shipping often involves various fees, including:

  • Shipping Fees: These depend on the weight, size, and destination of your package.
  • Customs Duties and Taxes: These fees vary based on the value and type of goods you’re shipping. The recipient may be responsible for paying these fees upon delivery.

Q9: Can I track shipments to specific countries with Canada Post?

A9: Yes, Canada Post offers international shipping services to various countries. You can check their website for a list of supported destinations and estimated delivery timeframes.

Q10: Are there any limitations or restrictions on international shipments?

A10: Yes, certain items are restricted or prohibited for international shipping. Canada Post provides a list of prohibited items on their website. It’s important to review this list before shipping any items internationally to avoid delays or issues at customs.


Mastering Canada Post’s international tracking system is essential for ensuring your shipments arrive safely and efficiently. By understanding tracking numbers, utilizing the various tracking methods, interpreting updates, and troubleshooting any issues that may arise, you can navigate the world of international shipping with confidence. Don’t hesitate to leverage Canada Post’s website, mobile app, and customer service for support. Remember to maintain accurate records, use third-party tracking services when possible, and always take steps to prevent tracking problems. With this guide, you’re equipped to manage your international shipments seamlessly.