Living as I do with one foot in the USA and one foot in Canada, I find myself sending letters from Canada to Canada, Canada to the USA, and sometimes carrying mail with me over the border to mail in the USA to the USA. I have one pile of Canada Post stamps, and another of US Postal Service stamps. But looking up the various postage rates, with their grams and ounces, was a nuisance. I couldn’t find a single rate card which covered both countries succinctly. And with each service raising its prices about once a year, my improvised rate cards were going out of date every few months.
Nearly two years ago I came up with a handy quick reference to current Canada Post and USPS postage rates for basic letters between the USA and Canada. Last spring it was polished enough that I posted it on my web site. I just now updated it to reflect the Canada Post rate increase which took effect on 17. January. You can find it at http://jdlh.com/en/pr/postage_card.html.
The card is originally an OpenOffice.org spreadsheet. I’ve exported the spreadsheet as an easily printable PDF file. Print it out for a handy quick reference card, which you can keep next to your stamps or your postage scale. The card comes with two identical copies on two letter-sized (8.5″x11″) pages; print it out double-sided, and cut down the middle, to get two compact 5.5″x11″ cards with USPS on one side and Canada Post on the other.
Both source and PDF edition are licensed CC-BY-SA. Please feel free redistribute and modify them, as long as you credit me and share your modifications also. I’d be delighted if someone wanted to modify the layout to fit A4 paper, or address other country pairs. Please let me know if you do.
The chart lists rates in both grams (used by Canada Post) and ounces (used by USPS and my scale). The spreadsheet gets the relationships between rates right based on a few fundamental prices, and formats the rates in a compact quick-reference format. Now, when the rates go up, it’s a quick matter to update the spreadsheet, generate a PDF file, and print out new reference cards. It also lists minimum and maximum dimensions for various classes of mail. It’s aimed at normal letters, in standard and large-sized envelopes; it doesn’t cover express mail or parcel post. That would take us beyond a small-format sheet.
Note that the USPS raises rates on 17. April, 2011. I plan to revise the USPS side of this chart around the time that happens.