Understanding how and why you need to manifest

2 minute read

Once your business reaches a certain order volume, it’s time to improve your shipping efficiency. How fast you process and get your shipments out the door matters. Shipping platforms and solution providers can make it easier by automating the label process, increasing shipping accuracy and making tracking your shipments and inventory easier. They can also produce manifests for your shipments which will not only optimize the efficiency of your Canada Post shipments, but they are also a mandatory requirement.

What is a manifest?

A manifest is a list of all goods packed into one shipment. Commercial customers must include a manifest with each shipment. Many shipping software systems, including Canada Post’s EST 2.0, and other shipping solution providers, will send the electronic version of the manifest to Canada Post and allow you to print a copy to include with your shipment.

The paper copy of the manifest must accompany all items dropped off or picked up. The electronic manifest must be transmitted to Canada Post on the same day and prior to drop-off or pickup of that shipment. Items where the electronic manifest data file has not been transmitted at the time of drop-off or pickup may be refused.

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When to produce a manifest

A manifest must be completed daily for all your shipments – whether they are created using EST desktop 2.0 or a third-party shipping solution provider. The manifest can only be generated after printing your shipping labels. Be sure to click “End of day” or “Canada Post Manifests” (depending on the shipping software you use). This will send the shipping data, including tracking numbers, to Canada Post electronically.


Submit your shipments by end of day to process the manifest. If you don’t, there will be a surcharge for the impacted shipments.

Canada Post works with third-party shipping tools which offer integrations that make shipping with Canada Post simpler. Don’t know how to generate a manifest? Contact your shipping system provider with your questions on manifesting. They can offer great tips.

How to ensure your shipment is ready

All items being picked up must be accompanied by a transmitted manifest or bill of lading that is completed accurately. Missing information on the order document or label may result in the pickup being refused, the parcel being delayed or returned to the sender or a surcharge. There are three exceptions to this rule:

  • Items prepared using Canada Post’s EST Online or Express Order Entry (EOE) that bear a shipping label that states, “no manifest required”
  • Items with a parcel returns service label approved by Canada Post
  • Canada Post’s Prepaid products, including parcel shipping and associated option fees but excluding pickup fees and taxes