OTTAWA -- Canada Post says it is adjusting its deadlines to have parcels shipped in time for Christmas as it deals with an unprecedented surge in demand this season.

As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps Canadians home for the holidays, more and more people are buying their gifts online and mailing them to loved ones in place of their usual holiday visits, Canada Post says.

"This weekend we delivered approximately 1.1 million parcels across the country and expect heavy deliveries to continue through this week and next," Canada Post said in a press release on Monday. "Even with processing and delivery moving well with additional resources, there is a limit to what we can safely process and deliver. Customers should expect delays. Please track your items to follow their progress as we work to deliver."

Canada Post says it hired an additional 4,000 seasonal employees this Christmas and added 1,000 additional vehicles to its fleet.

The deadline for parcel shipping locally is Dec. 18 for all forms of shipping (Priority, Xpresspost, Flat Rate Box, and Regular).

For regional shipping, priority and Xpresspost parcels will need to be mailed by Dec. 18. Flat rate box shippers have until Dec. 16 to 18 to send their parcels and regular shippers have from Dec. 14 to 16.

If you're shipping across the country, priority parcels must be mailed by Dec. 18. The deadline for Xpresspost is Dec. 17. For flat rate box shipping it's Dec. 11 to 17 and for regular parcels, the deadline is now, Dec. 9 to 15.

Earlier this year, Canada Post said deadlines were as late as Dec. 21.

Deadlines for letter mail and cards have not changed. 

Canada Post suspended its on-time delivery guarantees in March because of the pandemic and is not renewing it this Christmas. 

Canadians are urged to visit Canada Post's website for more information about holiday shipping requirements.