How do I suggest a subject for a stamp or apply to design a stamp?

    Canadian stamps are recognized internationally to be among the finest in the world. The general public, special interest groups, and collectors take a keen interest in stamps because they serve as a reflection of our nation, have educational value and offer beautiful designs.

    A national Stamp Advisory Committee guides Canada Post in selecting stamp subjects and designs. The committee is made up of leading Canadians from across the country selected for their general historic, design or philatelic knowledge. The Committee evaluates all suggestions received based on their contributions to celebrating and promoting Canada—our heroes, our leading personalities, our heritage, our traditions and our achievements, as well as their potential to appeal to Canadians. In addition, Canada Post makes every effort to maintain regional and cultural balance in selecting subjects and designs so that stamps appropriately reflect all aspects of our nation.

    Each year, our stamp program consists of about 20 broad subjects or themes covering some 40 to 50 individual stamps. The Canada Post Board of Directors approves the stamp program.

    Making suggestions for a stamp subject

    We encourage Canadians to participate in proposing stamp subjects. Suggestions should include:

    • A brief description of the subject.
    • Its importance in the Canadian context.
    • Any significant anniversaries or upcoming events.

    Canada Post treats voluntary submissions of artwork as subject suggestions only.

    IMPORTANT: If your suggested subject is related to anniversaries or other time-sensitive events, please keep in mind that your suggestion must be submitted a minimum of 2 years before the beginning of the desired year of issue.  Annual stamp programs close in the summer of the year before the stamps are issued. Some time must pass before topics already covered are repeated.

    Stamp Selection criteria

    Your suggested subject for a stamp should:

    • Have broad appeal to the Canadian population, encouraging Canadians of all ages to buy and collect stamps.
    • Relate primarily to Canada and is it of national significance, such as:
      • Evoke Canadian history, traditions, accomplishments or natural heritage.
      • Illustrate the social, cultural, political or economic life of Canada.
      • Commemorate people (generally after their death), their work, their birth or a life event to recognize outstanding contributions to Canada.
    • Enhance the high regard for Canadian stamps in Canadian and international philatelic circles.

    All stamp subject suggestions should be directed to:

    Chairperson of the Stamp Advisory Committee

    Canada Post acknowledges all suggestions it receives.  A copy of the public announcement of the subjects chosen for the annual stamp program will be sent to all those who suggested subjects related to that year's program.

    Stamp Designer Selection Process

    Canadian stamps portray a wide range of work by many of Canada's best graphic designers, painters, illustrators, photographers and visual artists. The design of stamps requires a high degree of design expertise, artistic judgment and technical knowledge.

    Canada Post commissions Canadian designers to create stamp designs for the subjects selected. Stamp designers are selected for their demonstrated skill in both graphic arts and miniaturization, and for their potential to create new and innovative (for example, holographic) stamps. Designers’ imaginations are restricted only by the size of the final artwork.

    Canada Post normally commissions more than one designer for each stamp subject to increase the potential for design innovation. The Stamp Advisory Committee reviews and recommends to Canada Post approval of the design and content of individual stamps.

    Canadian professional designers and artists whose work demonstrates the high standards required for stamp design may submit a professional résumé accompanied by a portfolio of their work. Portfolios should be in digital format.

    Submitting a portfolio does not oblige Canada Post to offer a commission to the person making the submission.

    Portfolio submissions should be sent to:

    Director of Stamp Services

    Canada Post acknowledges all submissions it receives. Canada Post may retain submissions for an indefinite period for future reference and consideration; it is not responsible for returning portfolios and submissions.

    Where to Find Additional Information