Deployment TipsterWhile They're Away

Shipping Care Packages

While this article focuses on Christmas care packages, the information is useful throughout the year. 

With Christmas less than two months away, it is time to think about putting together and sending deployed family members their Christmas care packages. Before I go any further, I need to admit, I am really lousy at this part as a spouse and parent.

In the past, when all our children were younger and lived at home, time seemed to be a luxury I did not have. So when family members offered to send my husband a care package, I jumped at the opportunity and sent along his address. When our eldest daughter was deployed a few years ago, I again jumped at the opportunity to let our family members send care packages to her. I know, bad spouse. Bad mom. To redeem myself a little, I did recently send my husband two care packages. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I beat the care packages to my husband as we met for his HLTA. It took over a month for the packages to get to him.

Task Force Mali’s Postmaster receives over 60 bags of mail from Canada to Camp Castor, Mali on August 25, 2018.
Photo by: Corporal Ken Beliwicz. Image courtesy of CAF.

Moving forward, care packages are a great way to stay in touch with your deployed family member while they are away, especially over the holidays. Along with making the deployed family member feel loved, care packages also allow family members to stay connected. There are two ways you can send your care package. You can use Canada Post or your local Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC). Canada Post regulations apply either way you send your parcel. During the holiday season, Canada Post offers free shipping to deployed military personnel. However, during the rest of the year, there is a cost. Using your local MFRC, there is no cost.


It is advised to call your local Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) to find out the mail deadlines: when mail will be picked up, and when it will be shipped out.


If you don’t live near an MFRC, don’t fret. Canada Post usually runs their free regular parcel service to deployed military personnel beginning after Thanksgiving, till a week or so into the new year.

Lettermail can be sent at no charge between  This year, 2023 is the 18th year the crown corporation is offering its free delivery program to deployed military personnel. Remember: the sooner you ship your package, the more likely your loved one will receive their package before Christmas. It could take a while for the parcel to reach your military family member. Note my story.

You need to have your address in the top left corner of the parcel. A clear and legible list of the contents in the package.


Some MFRCs will provide boxes for people to use to send their packages. Again, contact your local MFRC. Maximum length is one metre for any one dimension and two metres for the length plus girth. Maximum weight is 20 kg (approx. 44 lbs). Oversized and overweight parcels will not be accepted.

For more information on size and weight visit HERE.



You need to have your address in the top left corner of the parcel. A clear and legible list of the contents in the package. This should be located in the bottom left corner. Your deployed family member’s address. Make sure it is correct, as the parcel can get misdirected or lost.


It should be noted if the parcel is lost, stolen, or damaged, you are out of luck. My daughter has experienced this. She did not receive two of her packages while she was deployed.

01 November 2005 Kabul, Afghanistan Master Corporal (MCpl) Dennis MacDonald working out of a Forward Operations Base (FOB) looks over mail he has just received from home. MCpl MacDonald is a member of Golf Company from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (2 RCR), a mechanized infantry battalion from Gagetown, NB. Photo by: Master Corporal Ken Fenner Task Force Afghanistan Roto 0 Photographer © 2005 DND-MDN Canada.


It is recommended not to use this service if your loved one will be home within four weeks or less. You could write on your parcel, “If this member has already departed theatre, please distribute contents among other members in theatre.” If your parcel is undeliverable, and not labelled as suggested above, Canada Post charges return postage when you claim your package.


It should be mentioned parcels are subject to x-ray/search, and all prohibited items will be seized and disposed of, with a list of the items being sent to both the sender and addressee.

Please note: Due to capacity limitations on military aircraft carrying supplies to deployed forces, Canada Post’s free shipping program is restricted to family and friends of the deployed servicemen and women serving overseas.

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Megan Egerton

Megan Egerton is a military wife, mother of two, principal and writer. Author of While You Were Away:101 Tips for Families Experiencing Absence or Deployment

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