What is non-mailable matter?

Generally, non-mailable matter means any mail that:

  • Is prohibited by law (for example, illegal items, obscene material, or items that may not be imported or sent by mail)
  • Fails to meet certain physical characteristics or marking requirements
  • Contains products or substances that could cause:
    • Injury to those handling the mail
    • Damage to postal equipment or other items
    • Entrapment of other items
  • Bears a modified postage stamp in contravention of section 52 of the Canada Post Corporation Act and Regulations
  • Bears a word or mark in contravention of section 58 of the Canada Post Corporation Act and Regulations 
  • Contains sexually explicit material unless you send it in an opaque envelope with the words “ADULT MATERIAL” or similar wording. Solicited Publications Mail™ items only need opaque wrapping.

Please note: Sexually explicit material that’s sent as Personalized Mail™, Postal Code Targeting, or Neighbourhood Mail™ means:

  • Images or representations of nudity that suggest sexual activity
  • Images or representations of sexual intercourse, with no context suggesting violence or degradation
  • Written text that describes sexual acts in a way that’s more than purely technical, with no context suggesting violence or degradation

You’re solely responsible for ensuring that an item is acceptable for mailing. Without limiting that responsibility, by depositing an item with us, you represent that the item:

  • Has been properly prepared and paid for
  • Doesn’t constitute non-mailable matter
  • Is allowed to be mailed by applicable law
  • Complies with Canada Post requirements

You acknowledge that in accepting an item for deposit, we may expressly rely on that representation from you.

If we find an international inbound item to be non-mailable, we must immediately remove it from the mail stream. There’s no option to return to sender. The appropriate Canadian legislative authority will destroy the item.

For more information on how we handle non-compliant items visit:

Please note

We’re providing the information on these pages as a convenience only.  Some of this information is derived from sources other than Canada Post, and we don’t promise that it’s accurate or complete.  All of this information is subject to change without notice.  It’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re complying with all applicable requirements.