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Messenger or Courier

Messengers and couriers sort, collect and deliver letters, telegrams, messages, packages or palletized freight; run errands; distribute office supplies, complete paperwork and perform related duties.

  • Avg. Salary $6,125.00
  • Avg. Wage $28.32
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 4,100
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Courier, Driver, Package Handler

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Couriers, Messengers and Door-to-Door Distributors (1463) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Couriers, Messengers and DoortoDoor Distributors (B563) 
  • 2011 NOC: Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors (1513) 
Interest Codes
The Messenger or Courier is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Couriers, Messengers and Door-to-Door Distributors

Interest in copying information to keep records of delivery transactions using delivery information acquisition devices


Interest in handling to deliver newspapers, flyers, handbills, telephone directories and similar items to residences and businesses, and to hand-deliver mail to addressees within an organization and to establishments by walking or cycling


Interest in assisting customers by picking up and delivering messages, letters, envelopes, parcels, airline tickets, legal documents, packages, cheques, bonds, securities and other items

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 14, 2016

Government messengers and couriers: 

  • pick up and deliver mail on scheduled routes
  • load and unload incoming and outgoing mail and materials
  • sort interdepartmental mail
  • organize dock areas and bag mail
  • operate vehicles and perform visual checks and routine preventative maintenance
  • use cellular devices and e-mail to communicate with supervisors, dispatchers and clients
  • ensure sensitive documents are handled safely, and vehicles and their contents are secure at all times.

Messengers employed in large businesses have duties similar to those in government. They may operate postage meters, envelope sealers or simple duplicating machines, or may be in charge of a stockroom. Bank messengers collect and deliver cheques, securities, mail and other items.

Couriers are employed by delivery businesses providing letter, package and freight pickup and delivery services on short notice or on pre-scheduled runs. They generally operate vehicles, ranging from small cars and vans to three ton trucks, and may be responsible for completing paperwork detailing their activities. Some messengers in congested urban areas walk or use bicycles in the downtown core area.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Messengers and couriers generally use pagers, radio dispatch or cellular communication systems to keep in touch with dispatchers. They may be required to lift packages weighing over 20 kilograms. Those who travel outdoors work in all kinds of weather.

Most office messengers work regular office hours but some commercial companies require messengers to work shifts including early mornings or late evenings. Couriers who work on a contract basis sometimes work twelve hour days.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Messengers and couriers need the following characteristics:

  • able to work effectively and efficiently with little supervision
  • able to communicate clearly and concisely with customers and dispatchers
  • physically fit, able to lift up to 35 kilograms
  • acceptable to an insurance company as a law-abiding, responsible person (bondable).

Couriers must be able to read maps and locate addresses efficiently.

All messengers and couriers should enjoy working with little direction from others, variety and dealing with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

There are no standard minimum education requirements in this occupation. However, employers may require applicants to have a high school diploma and be computer literate. 

Messengers and couriers who operate vehicles must have an appropriate, valid driver's licence. Employers require a minimum period of driving experience and a clear driving record.

Couriers must have no criminal record and should have a good knowledge of the city in which they wish to work. Those hired on a contract basis must own a dependable vehicle and may be required to pay for insurance and cargo bond licensing.

Depending on the industry, training related to handling or transporting dangerous goods may be required.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Messengers and couriers are employed by large businesses, governments and private courier companies.

Couriers may be employees or self-employed contract workers. Where couriers work on a contract basis, the company may provide communication equipment, uniforms and documents. Other courier companies provide vehicles and pay an hourly wage. In some organizations, employees are represented by a union.

Couriers may start out doing general delivery from a call board and progress to more regular or dedicated routes when they have demonstrated that they are responsible and reliable. Opportunities for further advancement may be limited without additional education.

Messengers/couriers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1513: Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the B563: Couriers, Messengers and DoortoDoor Distributors occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.1% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 78 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Wages for messengers and couriers vary a great deal depending on the volume and nature of service. Self-employed couriers who own their own vehicles may earn considerably more but must pay their own business expenses and often work long hours.

Messengers or Couriers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1513: Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors.

According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors occupational group earned on average from $17.27 to $28.36 an hour. The overall average was $28.32 an hour. For more information, see the Couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors wage profile.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Driver Training
  • Personal and Food Services

Updated Mar 29, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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