How Long Does Canada Post Hold a Parcel Before Returning it to Sender?

Waiting anxiously for a package only to discover Canada Post is holding it can be frustrating. But how long will they keep a parcel before sending it back? What factors determine the hold time? This article will look at key details on Canada Post’s parcel holding period and policies.

Typical Hold Time for Undelivered Packages

Under normal circumstances, Canada Post will hold domestic parcels at a post office for pickup for 15 calendar days. This standard holding period gives recipients ample time to retrieve items that could not be successfully delivered to their address.

If the package remains unclaimed after 15 days, Canada Post will return it to the original sender. Some exceptions with shorter hold times include Xpresspost and Priority packages, which are held for just 7 days before return.

COVID-19 Impacts on Hold Times

During the pandemic, Canada Post suspended the 15-day holding period and held all parcels until further notice. This helped manage high volumes and enabled recipients time to retrieve parcels while following public health guidelines.

Now with COVID-19 measures easing, Canada Post has reinstated standard hold times. But ongoing pandemic protocols can still occasionally extend holds beyond 15 days when needed to keep parcels flowing safely.

How Hold Duration is Determined

Canada Post sets its standard 15-day holding period based on typical needs and service factors like:

  • Allowing reasonable time for recipients to pick up parcels
  • Managing sorting facility capacity
  • Maintaining workflow to handle high volumes
  • Keeping items secure until retrieval
  • Providing good customer service

Shorter hold times for priority items help speed up processing and delivery for customers paying urgent shipping rates.

Factors That Can Extend Hold Times

While Canada Post strives to follow consistent holding periods, some situations can result in parcels being held longer:

  • Ongoing COVID-19 impacts disrupting operations
  • Bad weather or other issues causing post office closures
  • Recipient away on vacation or business travel
  • Recipient in hospital or long-term care facility
  • Recipient’s inability to safely travel to retrieve parcel

Canada Post may grant extensions if recipients demonstrate a valid need for extra holding time.

Picking Up Parcels to Avoid Return to Sender

If unable to receive a delivery, be sure to pick up parcels promptly before the hold period expires. Bring government ID and the notice card left by the mail carrier.

You can also arrange redelivery or redirect the parcel to another address rather than letting the hold lapse. This prevents the hassle of packages being returned and needing to be reshipped.

Key Takeaways on Canada Post’s Parcel Hold Duration:

  • Standard hold time is 15 days for domestic parcels
  • Priority items like Xpresspost are held for just 7 days
  • COVID-19 has resulted in flexible hold periods when needed
  • Reasonable hold duration allows recipients time to pick up parcels
  • Request extensions if you need more time to retrieve an item
  • Pick up packages promptly to avoid return to sender situations

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