OFDCs cancelled at printer warehouse

After receiving a reader’s question about how official first-day covers (OFDCs) are postmarked, CSN inquired with Canada Post to find out how the Crown corporation handles the postmarking process.

For example, the five-stamp Emergency Responders set issued this September includes five OFDCs with cancellation sites of Banff, Alta.; Courcelette, Que.; Halifax, N.S.; Fredericton, N.B.; and Ottawa.

“Are these actually cancelled in the places represented by the postmark (e.g., Fredericton, Courcelette),” asked the reader, “or are the postmarks all applied in some central location for processing first-day covers?”

Jim Phillips, Canada Post’s director of stamp services, said whichever printing company wins the print tender is responsible for printing the stamps as well as the OFDCs – and that includes their postmarks.

“That’s part of the printer’s job, and it’s been that way for 30 or 40 years. They’ve never been cancelled in the post office. Some of these offices are really small; some are seasonal. We’re making 10, 11, 12, 15 OFDCs collated into packages – it would be a logistical nightmare if you had to send them out months ahead of time to get them back for the issue date.”

This is how it’s done in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, Phillips noted.

“I don’t know anywhere where they’re cancelled in the post office.”

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