1 September 2011
Changes to business reply mail specifications coming January
OTTAWA—Coming changes to rules surrounding Canada Post's Business Reply Mail (BRM) has some in the magazine and mailing industries scratching their heads in confusion.

The changes, to take effect in January 2012, means Canada Post will now measure reply cards by basis weight instead of paper thickness as in the past, according to PrintCAN sources. It could cost publishers more money for items like subscription cards.

But standard thickness card (7 point) can translate differently among different paper stocks, and some 7 point stocks will not meet the minimum weight, now measured by Canada Post in grams per square metre (GSM). What's more confusing, say industry insiders, is that Canada Post is asking that minimum weight for reply cards in magazines be 160 GSM from 135 GSM come January.

A source from the printing industry said paper availability to match the new BRM specs may become a challenge for printers.

A Canada Post spokesperson acknowledged changes are coming regarding BRM, however has not yet provided specifics and the reasons behind the changes.

Sources are saying the increase in minimum paper weight for cards will have a major cost impact to mailers, as business reply cards and postcards will be "severely impacted" by the increase in the cost of paper — which could persuade mailers to choose alternative communication methods.
The National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) plans to discuss the BRM changes (and other issues) at its Sept. 15 Toronto chapter meeting. Gerry Gervais, General Manager, Commercial Mail Products for Canada Post, will discuss the drivers/rationale for the proposed spec changes; address industry concerns presented to date; and provide a point-in-time status of investigation and potential solutions, noted NAMMU.

Members and non-members are welcome. Feedback can be emailed in advance to executive@nammu.ca by Sept. 8. To download a registration form for the Sept. 15 meeting, click here.
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