Letter carriers (NOC 1512)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

Letter carriers pick up, sort and deliver mail, parcels, packages and flyers. They also record delivery of registered mail and collect money for cash-on-delivery parcels. Letter carriers work for the Canada Post Corporation.
 
Common job titles
  • carrier, priority post / special delivery
  • mail collector / deliverer / worker
  • postal service collector / deliverer

Duties

Letter carriers:
  • Organize mail by address and load into mailbags or containers
  • Deliver and collect letters, small packages, large parcels as well as other printed material along mapped out routes
  • Deliver flyers to businesses and residences
  • Deliver express mail and special delivery letters and packages
  • Collect signatures and payment for cash-on-delivery service
  • Record delivery of registered mail
  • Leave notices that items could not be delivered and the location where they can be picked up
  • Return undeliverable mail to postal station

Work environment

Letter carriers do much of their work outside and experience different weather conditions/seasons. They must walk for most of their shift. Some letter carriers operate a postal truck – as large as a five-ton vehicle – and sometimes deal with busy traffic conditions. Letter carriers that drive vehicles still need to walk to make their deliveries. Rural positions may mean that they need to use their own vehicle to deliver and collect mail. When a letter carrier uses their own vehicle, they must meet Canada Post's vehicle requirements and insurance costs may also be covered by Canada Post.

Along with handling heavy mail bags and parcels – which can weigh up to 23 kg – people in this job need to carry mail bags loaded with mail, from door to door. These bags can weigh close to 16 kg each.  

Letter carriers typically work Monday through Friday, though the hours can vary depending on their route. Some letter carriers work weekends. Some do “shuttle runs” between post office locations and some collect mail from mailboxes. 

Some health and safety challenges for letter carriers include dealing with dogs that might bite. Letter carriers are trained to protect themselves against aggressive dogs and, if requested, may carry pepper spray. Workers also have the right to refuse delivery if they feel unsafe.

Letter carriers can suffer common types of injuries from slips and falls on mossy, icy or poorly maintained steps/sidewalks.

Insights from industry

Advances in technology mean that some of the work in the postal industry is being automated. In general, people use email, social media and other electronic forms of communication instead of mailing letters. However, there is an increase in flyers and other materials being sent. Also, online shopping continues to increase, which means there are more parcels of all sizes and weights to be delivered.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Many letter carriers start out as temporary or on-call workers, and eventually move into permanent full-time positions.

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with additional training or experience. Canada Post offers training to some letter carriers so they can move up to supervisor or management positions. Corporate positions at Canada Post are in high demand and there is a great deal of competition for these positions.

Additional resources