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Mail Services


M-1.1.1 - PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to define the various University mail processing services and responsibilities, as well as the policies governing the provisioning of such services.

M-1.1.2 - SCOPE

This policy is applicable University-wide, for all mail services, whether involving University or grant funds. No exception may be made without the written consent of the Vice-President (Administration and Finance).
Included in this policy are the services offered through Central Mail Services at the St. John's campus, mail services at Grenfell Campus, mail services at the Marine Institute (MI), the Mailroom/Printshop at the Health Sciences Centre (HSC), and the mail areas located in the central general offices. To facilitate workflow at Grenfell Campus, MI, the HSC, and at other University locations, authority may be delegated to the appropriate administration at those locations.
The Mailroom/Printshop at the Health Sciences Centre is part of a shared services arrangement and provides services to both University faculties and departments, and to the Health Care Corporation. Therefore, for operations at that location, there must be coordination and integration of the policies and procedures related to the Health Care Corporation.


It is the responsibility of all University administrators to ensure that correct policies and procedures are followed.


The Director of Computing and Communications is directly responsible to the Vice-President (Administration and Finance) for the administration of these policies and procedures.



University Mail Services is responsible for all policies related to centralized mail activities at all University locations. These activities include, but are not limited to, the delivery, pick-up, sorting and processing of mail; coordination of courier services; messenger services; central facsimile services; tendering for related goods and services; folding of applicable material and inserting of this material into envelopes; providing advice on the proper procedures for processing of mail and related services.

University Mail Services is funded to support the collection and distribution of University documents only. University postage costs, and all other associated costs, are to be used for the sending and receiving of University materials only. Other than exceptions as noted in M.1.2.5, no other mail is to be directed through the university's Mail Services.


Receive, sort, and deliver all mail addressed to the university. Mail delivery is made as per established schedules. Mail Services reserves the right to revise schedules where necessary.


Pick up, sort, prepare, affix postage, and process all mail being sent from all university offices.


Mail that is received at University Mail Services, which does not have sufficient address information so as to complete delivery, may be opened by a supervisor (or designate) in an effort to identify the intended recipient. This includes outgoing mail which has been returned to the university as undeliverable, and which does not contain sufficient return address information.

Mail Services will make every reasonable attempt to ensure the confidentiality of any mail that must be opened for identification purposes.


Mail Services is not intended to be used for the processing of personal mail. However, Mail Services will exercise discretion in the handling of some mail that may be considered personal, and which is received at Mail Services.

  • Any incoming personal mail will be delivered as addressed.
  • Outgoing personal mail will be processed as long as it is properly prepared and has the correct postage attached.
  • Under no circumstances will Mail Services send or receive personal mail that requires special handling or care.
  • Mail Services reserves the right to refuse processing of any personal mail whenever circumstances warrant such action.
  • Outgoing personal mail is not to contain the university address as the return address.

M-1.2.6 - CHAIN MAIL

The use of university mail facilities for the distribution of chain mail is strictly prohibited. Any instances of abuse of this policy will be investigated and reported to the appropriate administration.

M-1.2.7 - COURIER


Mail Services will send items by courier services when required. Departments may initiate courier services directly. Upon request, Mail Services will provide advice and recommendation on courier services.


Courier agencies have been instructed to adhere to the following procedure for delivery of courier items:
  1. Attempt delivery of item as addressed.
  2. If undeliverable as addressed, courier is to bring the item to the appropriate general office.
  3. If there are further delivery problems, the courier is to contact Mail Services to resolve.
  4. If delivery still cannot be completed, the courier service is to bring the item to Mail Services. At this point, delivery by courier will be deemed complete and Mail Services will accept responsibility for delivery to destination.


Mail Services will provide a 'messenger service' for items requiring hand-carry, rush delivery within the metropolitan area. This service is to be used for university material only, that cannot be sent through normal mail, or that requires immediate attention. In order to facilitate schedules, Mail Services reserves the right to set deadlines, or delivery levels, for the receipt of items requiring 'messenger services'. Mail Services will advise when a request for messenger service cannot be met; in these situations the requestor may make arrangements for alternate delivery.


All items identified as 'Rush', 'Hand Carry', or with similar markings will be sorted for delivery in the next scheduled mail delivery. If the item is clearly identified, Mail Services will attempt to keep it clear of regular mail so that it may given priority attention by the recipient.


Centralized facsimile (fax) services will be provided in the main Mail Services, in the Mailroom, HSC, and in the central general offices. University related materials may be sent or received at either of these locations. Fax messages which are received at either location will be sorted for regular internal mail delivery, unless there are specific directions for special notification or handling. Costs associated with the transmission and/or receipt of facsimile messages will be recovered from the appropriate account, and at a rate pre-determined by Mail Services. These rates include, but are not limited to, costs associated with long distance, paper, machine purchase and maintenance, and miscellaneous operational expenses.
University facsimile machines are not to be used for the transmission or receipt of personal material.


Mail Services provides resources for the folding, and inserting into envelopes, various printed materials. However, since the primary service provided by Mail Services is the sorting and delivery processing of university related mail and material, the folder/inserter service will be provided as a 'non-priority' service, and will be provided as resources are available.


  • Material should be properly prepared. Each request has unique requirements. Contact Mail Services for advice on material preparation.
  • Material should be consistent in size and weight.
  • Appropriate scheduling and lead-time should be provided. For larger jobs (500 pieces or more), at least two days notification is required. Smaller jobs would not require as much lead-time. However, equipment has to be readied, and resources made available for any size of job; therefore, clients should provide for this in their scheduling.
  • Mail Services reserves the right to refuse work for folder/inserter services if it is felt that by providing this service, the sorting and delivery of mail would be impeded. In these circumstances, it will be the responsibility of the requestor to find other resources for this service if necessary. Mail Services will be available to provide advice in these situations.



  1. The university's postage budget is decentralized. Funding is allocated to departmental accounts for costs associated with postal charges as part of base budget allocation. It is each department's responsibility to reconcile postal charges, and to initiate enquiries regarding same.
  2. Mail Services will process all properly prepared outgoing mail and courier items, and where necessary, affix postage or assign postal costs for mailing. Mail Services will maintain an ongoing daily record of all related postal and shipping charges, by account code, and, at the end of the each month, submit this record to the Department of Financial and Administrative Services for the transfer of costs from the various accounts, to the Mail Services account. Records will be maintained for reconciliation and for reference in responding to enquiries.
  3. In order to avail of special reduced postal rates on certain items, Mail Services will maintain a float for the cost of mailing of these items. Normally, these costs will not be recovered from departmental accounts.
  4. As per established guidelines, Mail Services will identify, and employ the most effective and economic method for mailing of all items. Exceptions to this policy may be made on the request of the mailer.


All mail should be sent in proper envelopes, or in the case of parcels, should be wrapped and secured so as to withstand the handling involved in shipping. All mail should be clearly and properly addressed; external mail should include a university return address in the upper left hand corner. This return address should contain the name of the sender, the section, department or any other reference that may be necessary to ensure prompt return in the event of non-delivery.


External letter mail should be sent in the appropriate sized envelope. In general, postal rates are based on weight, size, and destination; therefore, if the item can fit in a smaller envelope or container, the postage costs will probably be reduced. For current information regarding postal rates, contact Mail Services, tel. 8231, e-mail:, or visit the Canada Post web site at Letter mail should not contain staples, paper clips or similar items. Enclosure of such items could result in damage to the mailing machines, damage to the piece of mail, or could cause personal injury.


Internal letter mail should be sent in appropriate 'internal mail' envelopes. The address should be clearly indicated, and the previous address should be crossed out. Senders should take care when re-using these envelopes so that the correct address is clearly indicated. When directing mail to HSC addresses, it is important to note whether the item is intended for a university or Health Care department. Several areas have similar names; for example, there is an admissions department for the Medical School and also a hospital admissions department.


Whenever possible, packages should be secured in an appropriate box or container. If subject to breakage, the item should be protected by packing material and securely wrapped, using packing tape or strong cord or line. There should not be sharp parts or edges protruding from the container. Items subject to breakage, or requiring extra care in handling should be clearly identified and marked as such.


Mail requiring any special services or handling, such as registered mail, courier or similar services, should be clearly marked, instructions should be securely attached, and whenever possible, should be brought to the attention of Mail Services staff. The use of 'Post It' notes or paper clips to attach instructions is not advised as these may not remain attached to the mail item and the required 'special handling' may not be applied.


Large mailings may be eligible for bulk mail discounts. To be eligible for such discounts mail has to meet certain requirements. On request, University Mail Services will provide advice on proper procedures for mail preparation, quantity requirements and other criteria necessary for mail to qualify for bulk mail discounts.


University Mail Services is not intended for the processing of personal student mail, whether incoming or outgoing. There is a student post office at the St. John's campus for handling outgoing mail. Canada Post and other delivery companies will deliver mail to the student residences as per prior arrangements. Students are responsible to make arrangements for receipt and delivery of mail.


Any mail that is received at Mail Services that is identified for students, will be sent to the Student Housing office to be re-directed.


Students making enquiries at Mail Services regarding the sending of mail or for other related mail services, will be referred to the campus student post office.


Mail and postal services have been used as a means of sending harmful mail, including letter-bombs. Letter-bombs are usually prepared so that on opening, an explosive device is triggered which can cause serious injury or death. These devices can be in the form of a parcel or a letter and the outward appearance is limited only by the imagination of the sender.


Canada Post Security suggests that any of the following criteria, either alone or in combination, constitutes a suspicious mail item:
  • Mail bombs may be addressed to specific individuals and could bear restrictive endorsements such as "PERSONAL", "PRIVATE", "TO BE OPENED ONLY BY", etc.
  • No return address, or the return address may be fictional or indecipherable.
  • Addressee's name and title may be inaccurate.
  • Distorted handwriting, or home-made address labels with cut-and-paste lettering.
  • Protruding wiring, aluminium foil, oil or grease stains on wrapping. Also, letter-bombs can emit a peculiar odor.
  • Cancellation marks or postmarks may indicate a different location than the one listed in the return address.
  • Excessive amounts of postage using low denominations.
  • Excessive wrapping, binding, and tying material.
  • Unprofessionally wrapped items with several combinations of tape used to secure the package and endorsed "Fragile - Handle with Care", or "Rush - Do Not Delay", etc.
  • Items that appear rigid, uneven or lopsided.
  • Irregular shaped items with soft spots or bulges.
  • Items which have a buzzing or ticking noise or sloshing sound.


Canada Post Security suggests the following in the event that there is a suspicious mail item:
  • Do not put the item in water or in a confined space such as a desk drawer or cabinet.
  • If possible, open windows in the immediate area to assist in ventilating potential explosive gases.
  • If there is any reason to believe an item is suspicious, call the area supervisor, or Campus Enforcement and Patrol.
  • When appropriate to do so, report the incident to the supervisor of Mail Services.


Mail Services does not handle, nor does it coordinate, delivery of goods that are deemed as either dangerous or hazardous. Departments or individuals wishing to ship something of this nature are to contact appropriate shippers. Enquiries regarding dangerous and hazardous goods should be directed to Facilities Management, Safety Office.