Do you value your anonymity? Do you need a safe, reliable address to receive packages and mail in Canada (even when travelling abroad)?
Over 2.8 million native Canadians are expats who live abroad in other countries, according to a 2021 report by the Institute for Research On Public Policy (IRPP).
Virtual mailbox services give you a legitimate Canadian postal address that you can use for personal and business purposes. This makes it the perfect solution for Canadian expats, frequent travellers, or those who don’t have a permanent living situation.
Below, I’ll share some of the best virtual mailbox services in Canada and go over some of their key features, so you can determine which best meets your needs.
While some expats have homes and apartments in Canada, many of them do not.
Instead, expats rely on having their personal mail shipped to a friend or family member’s home or use a virtual mailbox to receive and store their Canadian mail before it’s forwarded to their current address.
Virtual mailboxes are used by more than just expats, though. Virtual mailboxes and package forwarding services are also used by:
- Foreigners who are temporarily living in Canada
- Canadian businesses that don’t have a permanent office address
- Foreigners shopping with Canadian brands that don’t ship internationally
- Canadian residents who want to retain their anonymity
- Canadians who are between residences
- … and more
A virtual mailbox gives you a real Canadian address that can be used to receive mail and packages.
The service will notify you immediately when they receive any packages or letters addressed to your virtual mailbox. Then, your packages will be safely held in storage until you provide the mailing service with another address to ship them to.
Virtual mailboxes are available in most major countries. However, if you need a Canadian address, you’ll need to work with a company that provides users with a Canadian address.
Below, I’ll share some of the best virtual mailbox services in Canada, outline their fees, and mention some of the key benefits of each.
- Learn More: website
If you’re looking for a simple, straightforward virtual mailbox service, you can’t go wrong with Your Canadian Address. YCA offers a secure warehouse located in Montreal, Quebec, which is where your virtual mailbox will be located. This is currently the only mailbox option that YCA offers.
I really appreciate the YCA’s simple fee structure, that’s clearly outlined on its website. To receive your virtual mailbox address, you’ll pay a one-time $20 fee. After this, the fee structure is as follows:
- $10 for package forwarding (doesn’t include shipping costs)
- $2 postage fee for letters
- $3 for faxed copies of mail (first three pages)
- $3 for scanned copies of mail (first three pages)
YCA’s ability to scan or fax copies of your mail can be particularly useful for expats living abroad.
For example, if I receive important mail from the CRA while travelling abroad, I can ask YCA to open my letter, scan it, and email me a copy of the letter’s contents. This ensures that I never miss any important notices or have to deal with fines for not responding to important letters.
If you prefer a physical copy, you can also ask YCA to fax copies of your mail to you.
If you need a package forwarded, YCA works with major carriers, including DHL, UPS, Canada Post, and FedEx, so you can always trust that your package is being handled with care. Once the package is shipped, YCA will send you a tracking number so you can view your shipment’s progress.
Overall, YCA is one of the best virtual mailbox services in Canada, thanks to its low fee structure. It’s particularly useful for expats looking for a simple, affordable way to receive mail and important government correspondence.
- Works with major package carriers
- No monthly subscription
- One-time $20 fee to sign up
- Affordable package forwarding costs
- Address in Montreal, QC
- Learn More: website
ShipByMail is a BBB-accredited, no-subscription virtual mailbox service in Canada. Unlike YCA, though, ShipByMail is 100% free to sign up for. Once you sign up with your email address, you’ll be given a virtual address that you can use to receive local or international packages and correspondence.
Overall, ShipByMail’s fee structure is very similar to YCA. The main difference is that ShipByMail’s warehouse is located in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.
ShipByMail’s fees are as follows:
- $4.99 for package and mail processing
- $4.99 for package consolidation
- $4.99 for package contents check
- $9.99 for electronics functionality check
ShipByMail offers 30 days of storage for free. After 30 days, you’ll pay $1 per day per kilogram. These storage fees are pretty high compared to other competitors, so I definitely encourage you to forward your package before your free storage period expires.
One of the features I like the most about ShipByMail is that they offer affordable package insurance at just $3 per $100 of insured value.
While ShipByMail’s fees are a bit high for letters and paper correspondence, the company’s fees for larger packages are quite fair, which makes it a better choice for online shoppers.
- Low-cost package insurance
- 30 days of free package storage
- Available electronics functionality check
- Virtual mailbox located in Port Coquitlam, B.C.
- Free to sign up for
- Learn More: website
iPostal1 is one of the largest virtual mailbox services in Canada. The company currently offers eight different virtual mailbox locations in BC, Ontario, and Alberta, which gives you plenty of options to choose from.
Virtual mailboxes start at $9.99 per month to receive up to 30 packages and go up to $39.99 per month to receive up to 240 items per month. Customers can also choose to pay for their virtual mailbox with one annual payment to save money.
Forwarding fees vary depending on the size of the package and where the package is being shipped to, which makes it hard to predict shipping costs.
One of the best things about iPostal1 is that they offer cheque depositing for $4.95. So, if you receive a cheque or invoice payment in the mail, iPostal1 will open the letter, scan the cheque and ensure that it’s deposited into your account. This is great for Canadian business owners who frequently travel abroad.
Additionally, iPostal1 offers package monitoring, shredding services, and the ability to purchase insurance on your package at a rate of $4 per $100 of insured value.
All customers receive 30 days of free storage for letters, 10 days of free storage for small packages, and 5 days of free storage for larger packages.
While the fee structure of iPostal1 is a bit more complicated than other virtual mailbox services, the company offers more services, features, and mailing addresses than most competitors, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
- 8 different mailing addresses
- Check depositing is available for $4.95
- Paper shredding services available
- 30 days of free storage for letters
- 24/7 package monitoring
- Learn More: website
PostScan Mail offers six virtual mailbox addresses in Canada, located in Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec.
The company offers a subscription-based service that starts at $10 per month to receive up to 30 items and goes up to $30 per month to receive up to 120 items. There’s also a $20 subscription that allows you to receive up to 60 items.
PostScan Mail offers mail scanning and virtual mailbox management. The one disadvantage of the $10 plan is that you won’t be able to get any of your mail scanned. With the $20 plan, you can scan up to 10 items per month, whereas the $30 plan allows you to scan up to 20 items per month.
Customers will receive 7 days of free storage (for all size packages) and 30 days of free storage for letters.
After this, PostScan Mail imposes a 10-cent fee per every package pound stored or 5 cents per envelope. Although the free storage period is slightly lower than other virtual mailboxes, the daily storage fees are considerably lower.
- 6 virtual mailbox locations to choose from
- Affordable monthly plans
- Receive emailed PDF scans of your mail (only available with $20 and $30 plans)
- Low storage fees
- Free mail recycling
- Learn More: website
Anytime Mailbox easily offers the most virtual mailbox addresses in Canada, with 31 locations in Alberta, B.C., Ontario, and Quebec.
Depending on the location you pick, plans can range between $5 and $20 per month (although the average appears to be $10). Once you select a plan, you can pay extra for features such as check depositing, mail scanning, mail shredding, and package forwarding.
Anytime Mailbox is great for international travellers as well, as the service offers virtual mailboxes throughout Canada, the US, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and even the Middle East.
- Variable monthly plans, depending on mailbox location
- Virtual mailboxes available in most major countries
- 31 mailbox locations in Canada
- Available check depositing
- Available mail scanning
- Learn More: website
ForwardingMe offers three locations located in Calgary, Ontario, and Montreal. Compared to some of the other virtual mailbox services I’ve used, this one has very affordable rates.
The initial set-up fee is just $5. After this, you’ll be asked to subscribe to a $5, $10, or $20 monthly plan, depending on the volume of items you expect to receive and the extra features you want.
The basic $5 plan doesn’t include as many freebies, so you’ll have to pay extra to recycle or scan mail. The basic plan also only offers 7 days of free storage (even for small letters). However, with the $10 monthly plan, you’ll get 30 days of free storage and lower-cost mail scanning, recycling, and forwarding.
- 3 mailbox locations in Canada
- $5 basic monthly plan available
- 7 days of free storage with the basic plan
- 30 days of free storage with standard and premium plans
Now that you’ve had a chance to review some of the best virtual mailbox services in Canada let’s go over some of the key factors you should consider before making a decision.
While all of the companies I listed above are legitimate and trustworthy, each has a slightly different fee structure and offers different perks which may be better suited to one individual over another.
If you frequently receive packages and mail, virtual mailbox services can save you money by offering a monthly subscription. These companies often offer subscribers lower forwarding and shipping fees than non-subscription services that charge higher forwarding and processing fees.
Package bundling involves forwarding multiple items at once with a single shipment, and this can drastically reduce shipping fees and ensures that you receive all of your goods at once. Some virtual mailbox services in Canada offer discounts for bundling your parcels.
The package handlers primarily dictate shipping fees that the company works with. That being said, certain virtual mailbox services impose additional packaging, handling, or postage fees that you should be aware of.
If you’re travelling or living abroad long-term, you’ll want to choose a virtual mailbox service offering a longer package storage period.
Most mailbox services offer between 10 and 30 days of free storage, after which you’ll be charged by the day according to your package weight. The more free storage you can get, the better.
You may want to use a virtual mailbox service for several reasons. Here are some of the most common use cases.
Many US-based companies (such as Brandy Melville, for example) don’t ship across the border to Canada.
The same applies to certain Canadian brands. If you’re in the US and trying to shop online with a Canadian retailer, you may need to use a Canadian virtual mailbox service to receive your package and forward it to your home country.
If you’re a Canadian who’s travelling or living abroad, a virtual mailbox is a great service to have. The service will not only receive and safely store your mail but will also offer to deposit your checks, open and scan your mail (so you don’t have to wait to read the contents), and forward it virtually anywhere in the world.
If you’ve just started an online business in Canada, then you probably don’t want to use your home address as the business’s primary mailing address. Otherwise, the entire internet will be able to see where you live!
In this case, a virtual mailbox address in Canada can help you maintain your anonymity while allowing you to access all your mail and packages.
Of all the companies I’ve tried, I have to say that Anytime Mailbox is the best virtual mailbox service in Canada.
With over 31 virtual mailbox locations in Canada to choose from, no other company can hold a candle to them. They also offer low-cost check depositing and mail scanning, which is excellent for expats and Canadian travelling abroad.
Looking for more travel hacks?
Keep on reading to see my guide to travelling for free and cheap!