Delivery

Ultimate Guide to Canadian Delivery Services

Zach Blank

Straightaway

April 13, 2021

Delivery has grown tremendously with the advent of app-based shopping and ordering. One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery is a mainstay of businesses and families everywhere. This growth comes as a unique opportunity for new drivers. But with such a wide variety of delivery companies and styles of delivery, it can be difficult to choose which delivery service a new driver should pursue. For those starting out in Canadian delivery services, here’s a breakdown of all the options for you.

Canada Post

Salary: 19-27/hour CAD
Commitment
: Part-time, can lead to full-time

Pros

Canada Post is one the oldest delivery services in the country, providing tremendous experience and expertise in all things delivery. The Post serves almost every Canadian citizen, moving billions of packages and parcels every year. For new drivers, it can be great to join an established organization like the Post that has a pension, union, and mentors. There are opportunities for cross-training and career advancement available to all employees.

Cons

Working for the oldest courier service has its own downsides. Canada Post does not have the best tech to help drivers, so many will rely on third party services, like Straightaway, to get them through their day quickly. In addition, most roles have the expectation of becoming full-time. Canada Post is a great path for those wanting to start a career, but may not be ideal for a part-time gig or side-hustle.

DHL

Salary: 19/hour CAD
Commitment:
Full-time or part-time

Pros

DHL has an internationally recognized brand, allowing drivers to add a powerful name to their resume. Within the company are myriad opportunities to grow and take on different roles. DHL focuses on getting high-priority packages to millions around the world, which brings heightened purpose to the role.

Cons

For those wanting to work part-time, the benefits plan is weaker than competing services. There are also reports from part-time and full-time workers alike of consistent overtime, long hours on the job, and mismanagement. We suggest taking extra time to learn about the work culture and job satisfaction of your local branch before you apply.

Purolator

Salary: 63,000 CAD
Commitment
: Full-time

Pros

Purolator is one of the premier Canadian courier services in the delivery market today. While mostly owned by Canada Post, Purolator is distinct with it’s fast-paced culture. Purolator is known for encouraging everyone to optimize and improve existing processes. The company also has a reputation for employee loyalty as many drivers stay with Purolator for decades.

Cons

There are reports of layoffs within Purolator that can impact lifelong employees, but layoffs are not frequent and are typically tied to larger economic downturns. In addition, the fast-paced nature of Purolator allows little-to-no breaks during a shift. Drivers have to stay focused or keep route optimization software on hand if they want breaks in their schedule.

UPS

Salary: 15/hour CAD
Commitment:
Part-time or full-time

Pros

UPS is one of the leading global delivery brands. With locations around the world and internal emphasis on career advancement and learning, there are tremendous opportunities available for those looking to start a career at UPS. In addition, UPS invests heavily in tech for drivers, eagerly improving how drivers optimize their daily routes. Also, UPS has a strong union of couriers that can provide advice, mentorship, and become lifelong friends. UPS workers populate friendly online communities such as the Brown Cafe to discuss work and personal matters.

Cons

UPS Couriers aren’t paid competitively, especially in Canada’s delivery market. While UPS invests in technology, there are frequent employee complaints with the company’s route optimization software and order management device, known as the DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device). 

UberEats / GrubHub / DoorDash

Salary: Pay per delivery
Commitment:
Part-time

Pros

Food delivery is a great option for individuals interested in trying out delivery work. No heavy lifting is required on the job, hours are flexible, and pay is determined by the number of packages delivered. You can set your own hours, use your own vehicle, and deliver a positive impact to your community.

Cons

While food delivery is great for beginners, there are drawbacks. Drivers don’t participate in any pension or retirement savings program with delivery companies. All drivers are considered contractors, meaning little-to-no employee benefits. As compensation is tied to packages delivered, local demand for food significantly impacts day-to-day earnings. For those living in rural areas, food delivery may not provide a stable and consistent income as deliveries are fewer and further between.

Amazon

Salary: 22-27/hour CAD
Commitment:
Part-time or full-time

Pros

Amazon allows tremendous opportunities to those entering the delivery sector in Canada. With Amazon, every driver is fitted with the Amazon Rabbit and Amazon Flex software, optimizing and organizing all deliveries quickly. Drivers can get started quickly, use their own car, and receive above-average pay. Amazon is rapidly growing as one of the richest companies on earth, allowing drivers a steady stream of work and stable pay.

Cons

While Amazon may be one of the best options for drivers, it is not available everywhere in Canada. Driver positions are only available in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary at this time. In addition, Amazon has a reputation for high work expectations. There are also reports of couriers having to work overtime to complete their manifests.

Before You Start Driving…

Starting a job in delivery can be daunting, especially if you don’t consider yourself a map wizard or seasoned driving veteran. But, there’s no need to worry. With the right tools in your belt, delivery can be efficient, safe, and energizing.

Tech

For new drivers it is important to get started on the right foot with the right technology. Great software lets drivers organize their routes, find optimal paths, and navigate with ease throughout their day. Using route optimization software can help you avoid road closures, traffic jams, and get your packages delivered faster. The best part? Great tech saves you time, money, and miles. Check out our analysis of the best app for delivery here to get started.

Gear

On the road, anything can happen, and a good driver is prepared with the proper gear. Drivers need to stay safe, focused, and prepared on the job. Bringing extra jackets, flashlights, snacks, and masks allows drivers to keep going, no matter the hurdle. If you’re looking for the delivery driver starter pack, check out our recommended gear here.

Key Takeaways

For drivers in Canada, the possibilities for delivery driving are bountiful as the sector continues to surge. While there are many options for delivery driving services, it is important to keep track of a few larger ideas when getting started:


  • Lifestyle - Find a role that fits your lifestyle, and keeps you engaged.
  • Culture - Do some research on the culture of your local branch before you apply.
  • Pay - Understand compensation and benefits. You should be aware of worst-case and best-case pay rates.
  • Mission - As delivery is largely individual work, believing in the company’s mission and purpose can impact your motivation towards the job.
  • Tools - Make sure you have all the gear and tech you need. They will make a big difference on the job.


This overview should help Canadians grasp their delivery driving landscape. If you join a delivery company, you can add real value to your community while earning a decent paycheck. Plus, the job can be exciting, opportune, and freeing. Most of all, the industry grows every day, so there’s never a bad time to get started. When you get out there, we hope you choose Straightaway to master your new career.


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Straightaway

Zach Blank

Zach is the co-founder and CEO of Straightaway.

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