Rural Remote Shipping and Ordering Considerations

Top 10 Tips for Shipping and Ordering to Rural-Remote Locations

Revised: November 2023

Contributors: Holly Sarvas, Alex Wood, Meagan Vanderploeg, Jacob Vanderploeg

Unsurprisingly, shipping and ordering to rural and remote locations can be a frustrating experience for those seeking to get supplies in a timely fashion. We have provided 10 tips we recommend for shipping and ordering to ease the process, and encourage you to DIY where you can!

  • Tip 1 - Use Canada Post services when possible. Canada Post is a generally reliable service for rural/remote areas. They have tracking available on their boxes, and you can submit tickets if something is not arriving as expected. Our nurse review team all recommended Canada Post when in the prototype testing phase.

  • Tip 2 - If possible, save costs with a flat-rate box from Canada Post. If you are in a fly-in fly-out position, or traveling to an urban destination, it is possible you can save money using a flat-rate box. This will allow you to ship your own package of up to 5kg in a multitude of dimensions, anywhere in Canada, for a fixed rate. The box is tracked, and has up to $100 liability insurance if something is damaged (as of November 2023). We had a fairly positive experience using the flat rate for our prototype reviewing. The items all arrived, mostly intact (more info on that in Tip 5!), and on-time for the WAHA area.

  • Tip 3 - If ordering directly from the company, call or email first to confirm shipping to rural/remote areas. Many companies will claim shipping is possible to rural/remote areas when ordering, and then either cancel or increase prices when they realize the actual shipping considerations for the rural/remote location. We have specifically inquired for two specialty companies in November 2023 that we used for the proto-types, to confirm their shipping considerations. This does not endorse the use of these companies in comparison to other companies with similar products.

    • Sial Canada© - will ship to rural-remote locations using Canada Post. For small packages, will provide shipping cost at the checkout page on the website. For larger packages, a quote will need to be calculated based on a variety of considerations, but rural-remote locations are not excluded.
    • Sculpture Supplies Canada© - will provide quotes including shipping for rural-remote locations. Will use Canada Post for PO boxes. Cannot ship aerosolized products via Canada Post (e.g. Ease Release). No noted price hikes based on rural-remote shipping.


  • Tip 4 - Consider seasonal impacts. If ice roads are a factor, shipping may be feasible during certain seasons and not feasible other times. Companies also may not risk shipping during winter due to unpredictable road conditions. We had our nurse review team note that, in their experience, certain companies were very spotty with shipping during Winter, even when the ice road was open. If you have the ability to wait, consider shipping when transport and weather is optimal to secure the best chance of receiving the order on time.

  • Tip 5 - Pack with care. If you do choose to pack and ship the items back to your rural location, be careful on how you pack. Ensure the silicone and other viscous products are sealed, ideally in a double zipper storage bag. This will reduce mess and preserve the safety of products that may use cardboard packaging or wood components. It is also recommended you use bubble wrap or other packaging materials to give space between products to avoid breakage.

  • Tip 6 - Consider what you already have in-town. Some of the products we list are very specialized and would likely be inaccessible in a rural/remote town. However, many materials could likely be found in the healthcare institute’s clean utility, or available at the local general store. For example, stir sticks and cups can be found at the local coffee place. Measuring cups, flat containers, PPE, and scissors could all be present at the healthcare institute. Assess what you can obtain in-town first for more prompt and reliable assembly than risking shipping if possible.

  • Tip 7 - Order together to minimize costs. Not unique to rural/remote locations, but felt more intensely, is trying to order items together to minimize shipping costs. This option will also reduce inconsistencies with packages getting lost or delayed. Our prototypes are designed to use only specialized products from two companies, to encourage bulk orders and reusing products for multiple modules. Products from Sial© and/or Sculpture Supplies Canada© can be used for the IV insertion module, wound care module, and suture/staple pad module.

  • Tip 8 - Budget for DIY versus commercial products. Please reference our Selecting DIY versus Commercial Products tab for more information. Essentially, if it is going to cost you more to ship products on time versus shipping the commercial product, then the product may be the viable alternative for you and your staff/learners. Three of our modules (CPR, IO, and Standardized Patient), typically require little to no shipping of products, with most being found in clean utility or a general store.

  • Tip 9 - Collaborate with local institutes. You may be able to make an even bigger order to minimize shipping costs if you work with other healthcare institutes or outposts around your area. This can also minimize costs for supplies if you can order in bulk and split the product. The collaboration can also work well with having a member pack and ship the flat rate boxes. Ensure there is an email chain or share file to budget the split costs.

  • Tip 10 - Ask for help! Still finding the process confusing or frustrating? Contact us at [email protected] to connect with our Design or Review team to see if we can help troubleshoot some of your order or shipping concerns. We would also appreciate your feedback, positive or negative, on the process.