What Is Non-mailable Matter?

Non-mailable Matter

Non-mailable is any mail or material that is generally prohibited for mailing. When these materials are found in the mail stream, they will be held by the postal inspection service. These items include hazardous materials, firearms, explosives, switchable knives, incendiary devices, motor vehicle master keys, controlled substances, advertisements camouflaged as invoices, and perishable material that may go bad before delivery.

Here are things that the postal service must refuse to carry:

• Items that are prohibited by law. For example, fraudulent, illegal or obscene materials.
• Any item that breaches an Act of Parliament
• Products that do not meet marking requirements or certain characteristics
• Any product or substance that could:
• Damage postal equipment or any other thing
• Injure and cause harm to people handling the mail
• Cause entrapment of other materials
• Sexually explicit material unless they’re sent in an opaque wrapping and labeled “Adult Material” or words along those lines.

  • NOTE:
    Sexually explicit products that are sent as Personalized Mail, Neighborhood Mail or Postal Code means representations or pictures of nudity that are indicative of sexual activity, representations or pictures of sexual intercourse that do not have any context suggesting degradation or violence, or any writing describing sexual acts in a purely technical method, without any context signifying degradation or violence.
    Any material displaying a modified postage stamp in infringement of section 52, or displaying a mark or word in infringement of section 58, of the Canada Post Corporation Act and Regulations is also a non-mailable material.
    The customers should ensure that every item is acceptable for mailing. It is the responsibility of the customer to ensure that before they deposit an item with Canada Post:
    • The item has been paid for and is properly prepared
    • The item does not contain non-mailable matter
    • The mailing of the material is permitted by applicable law
    The customer should acknowledge that in accepting the material for deposit, Canada Post may intentionally rely on the illustration from the customer. For more information on handling non-compliant materials visit canadapost.ca generalterms. Look for the Solicitations by Mail Regulations and Non-mailable Matter Regulations.
    Restrictions or prohibitions on the acceptance of certain commodities for sending by post may apply. For more information refer to International Destination Listing.

Handling of international inbound non-mailable matter

If an international inbound commodity is found to be non-mailable, it will be immediately removed from the mail stream. The item will no be returned to the sender. Instead, the appropriate legislative authority in Canada will destroy it.

Criminal code and other offences

Any customer using the mail to deliver any of the commodities below commits an offense:

• Items that are indecent, immoral, obscene, or scurrilous
• Any article or message sent to a person to obtain money through pretenses
• Articles relating schemes to defraud or deceive the public
• Any article relating to illegal lottery schemes
• Any material relating to betting, waging, pool-setting or bookmaking


Any custom document falsely represented as complying with requirements will be considered an offense.