Prince Edward Island letter carriers furious over Canada Post decision

Jim Day
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Local union president broadsided by the news Canada Post is phasing out urban home delivery

Gary Turner, letter carrier, delivers mail on a very cold day. Guardian file photo.

Local letter carriers have voiced shock and disgust over Canada Post’s decision to phase out urban home delivery.

The federal Crown corporation announced five initiatives Wednesday to overhaul the troubled postal system, including a move to so-called community mailboxes, higher postal rates effective March 31, 2014, expanding network of franchised post offices and cutting up to 8,000 jobs.


Chris Clay, president of the Charlottetown local of the Canadian Union of Public Workers (CUPW), was broadsided by the news delivered to him by a reporter while he was delivering mail in Stratford.

He says letter carriers knew that Canada Post had been “kicking around the idea of three-day week delivery’’ but he had never heard of any plans to completely halt door-to-door delivery to urban residents.

“We’re an essential Canadian service,’’ he says.

“I really don’t think they can do that...I tell you I have 400 homes getting a lot of mail today so I can’t see this being a smart decision.’’

Clay says there are 40 letter carriers in Charlottetown. Another 15 letter carriers deliver mail in Summerside. The average salary is around $50,000.

Clay, 39, finally landed his job two-and-a-half years ago after trying for years.

“So this news is horrible for me because I am new to it,’’ he says.

Clay says he was hoping to be a letter carrier for another 25 years or so, but he knows a number of positions will likely be cut if community mail boxes replace door-to-door delivery.

He has one community mailbox with 13 customers on his route. Customers, he says, hate them.

“I have a lot of seniors in this area,’’ he says. “It’s quite a walk for them.’’

Scott Gaudet, president of the Summerside local of CUPW, was shocked and angered to learn that door-to-door delivery in urban areas will become a thing of the past.

He directed his anger squarely at Canada Post.

“What a disgusting, disgusting company,’’ he said.

“Canadians will not stand for that...I can honestly see workers fighting back. It’s going to be some heated conversations.’’

Canada Post said it expects savings of $700-million to $900-million per year from the moves.

“Canada Post has a mandate to fund its operations with revenues from the sale of its products and services, rather than become a burden on taxpayers,” the company said in a news release.

“With the increasing use of digital communication and the historic decline of letter mail volumes, Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses. If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers.”


Organizations: Canada Post

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Recent comments

  • Michael King
    December 18, 2013 - 11:40

    Yes, letter volume is down, however parcels (online shopping) is way up. Canada Post actually pays over $400 million in taxes every year. In it's history it has only had one unprofitable year, which is the year they locked out the workers. This will cost 8000 jobs. Where will those workers go? Welfare? It's not like our economy is pumping out jobs these days. However the plan does manage to save the jobs of all of the upper management positions.

  • Concerned Canadian
    December 17, 2013 - 21:23

    I think it is time to modernize or transform the way the salary/benefits/pensions of all CEO's and MPP's salaries are determined. Maybe they should be calculated as 5 - 10 times the lowest job salary or the lowest wage paid in their constituency/company. Maybe then they would work harder for everyone as it would directly relate to their personalized pay cheque and what money ends up in their own pocket. I think that they would have more of an incentive to make their constituency or corporations more successful instead of less..and be more concerned and proactive about job loss and quantified,quality job replacement...only sounds fair to me . That way we ALL do better or not. Anybody can destroy a business or corporation but it takes REAL skill and innovation to make one succeed and prosper, especially in tough times ! We need a post office that can add services not reduce them, especially with the vast infrastructure they have. Maybe they could deliver more groceries, or medicines...maybe a type of security service for seniors. A banking service with less consumer fees than cheque cashing places... How is this eco-friendly by having more cars driving daily to check their mail...or considerate of the disabled or elderlyor their privacy . We need service to get better not worse ! All Canadians deserve to retire at a reasonable age with a reasonable, sustainable pension and benefits. How can they pay the CEO and executives the huge dollars and bonuses with large expense accounts that they do to destroy a public service or any other company...What a shame ! As electronic services become our only option the fees will rise, of course and we will have much less privacy. (more of a benefit to the establishment(government, law, enforcement canada revenue agency etc) than us personally) Physical mail is the most private. As consumers we need the POWER of CHOICE. We must fight for more and quite settling for less.As long as we are willing to work for those wages they won't get better any time soon.

  • Robin
    December 13, 2013 - 15:21

    Just started a petition to save home delivery please sign!

  • Denny
    December 13, 2013 - 05:35

    I am baffled when the someone who is a union rep calls the employer a "disgusting company". That seems like a poor way to bargain, when you slander your only customer. And also seems to be out of touch when he talks about workers battling this change. The reality is that the workers have job security. Cuts are to be by attrition. As a union leader, he should know that. I dare say most workers would think pretty highly of an employer who gave that pledge, not to lay off, but use attrition to effect a reduction in force. Does he think Canada will need as many letter carriers in future? Really?

  • chris
    December 12, 2013 - 20:01

    hey, sry for all the workers who will lose work by this. but we gotta except that we/us regular joe's are paying for your salaries and the job just isn't needed as much anymore. Canada post should take a page out of the U'S postal service which is working w/ Amazon to increase it's relevance.

    • mb
      December 18, 2013 - 12:53

      You/Us "regular joe's" are not paying their salaries. . Facts people, facts. Stick to the FACTS!

  • SoCal Mike
    December 12, 2013 - 09:42

    Let's not forget us ex-pats. I live in the states and basically have stopped mailing stuff because, like the Humpty Dumpty chips, it has gotten to the point where the postage costs outweighs the value of the product. No more Christmas gifts sent home from the US - it will be, or a giftcard. Cripes, even postcards are about $1.25 from the US to Canada. It is not just Canada - the rest of the world can't afford to use the mail anywhere, so cutting back on labour makes sense to me.

  • Knud den Hellige
    December 12, 2013 - 09:39

    There was once a need for lamp lighters, telegraph operators, town criers and switchboard operators. Heck, there was even a time and place for vestal virgins . . . to be sure, all professions with social merit. But let's face it, the challenge here is not to maintain the status quo, it's how to carefully dismantle what used to be a necessary service. Careful being the operative concept. I'm an old fart and I'm as nostalgic as the next guy . . . er, person. But, try as I may, I cannot see a better way to protect Canada Post pensioners and serve the public's actual needs than the plan that's being proposed. Really, can you?

  • Junk Mail Carrier
    December 12, 2013 - 08:25

    What this article fails to mention is Canada Post's 6.5 BILLION dollar pension deficit! This is an enterprise sinking in debt and financial losses, and YOU are paying for it.

  • Janet
    December 12, 2013 - 06:42

    For those of you have who have commented negatively to this story, shame on you! How can you be so rude, unfeeling and uncaring towards these people who will loose their jobs????? Why don't you get over yourselves and think about the families who may loose their homes? Loose their parents to having to go out West to get a job. We are losing 2.5 million dollars in salary, which would have been spent here, providing others with jobs. Think beyond not getting your mail on time and how it will effect the already poor economy.

  • don
    December 12, 2013 - 06:18

    i can see canada post being sold to the USA postal system. not to far down the road. wait and see we have the ups already here.

  • Rob
    December 12, 2013 - 06:10

    Good on ya! I lost all respect for postal carriers a long time ago and by most posts here so has the majority! Now do all areas, it would be good for society to get off their butts and walk a couple blocks to the area box!

  • david macleod
    December 12, 2013 - 05:10

    well boys look at your union now still taking your money for to feed there self don't you people see what unions are doing for you nothing at all I don't feel sorry for no one at Canada post you are all to greety for that dollar '''D.R.M .

  • Susie R
    December 12, 2013 - 04:35

    Unbelievable! I have to drive 14 km's, one way to get my mail at one of those stupid community mailboxes! Maybe Canada Post should be cutting some of the "fatcats" sitting in their offices in Ottawa & Halifax to save some money instead of bleeding us dry! Instead of fixing a problem, they will make it so people will NOT use the postal system at all! It will add to their problems!

  • JC
    December 11, 2013 - 22:57

    The USPS is loosing money as well. They wanted to stop Saturday delivery but the US Government got involved and reversed that decision. Do we really need mail delivered 6 days a week? Most of it is junk mail.

  • Andrew
    December 11, 2013 - 20:11

    It's about time! If you've got a problem with this decision, form a group and you can pay for the deficit that Canada Post runs each year.

  • Bob Macdonald
    December 11, 2013 - 18:37

    This is really just a sign of the times. I do feel sorry for the letter carriers but then again we don't still employ blacksmiths simply to give them work now either. Perhaps changing delivery to every second day would be acceptable to most people but then again maybe they are doing that as well...

  • Scott
    December 11, 2013 - 17:24

    Maybe if Canada Post did there job's efficiently there would be a need for the service. Letters mailed 10 days ago, still not delivered, and thats across town... Do i feel bad? not 1 bit. Get with it Canada Post.

  • peier
    December 11, 2013 - 17:13

    .....and what makes Canada Post employees think they are an essential service and sheltered from what the rest of us have to endure?? You are hardly essential.....I can think of numerous alternatives to your outdated service and arrogant employees...looks good on you...why not go out on picket lines and see how many islanders support you? lolol

  • mike
    December 11, 2013 - 17:12

    look, i cant see how you were "broadsided", if thats the case you must be totally out of touch with whats going on in the real world...i couldnt care less if you delivered once a week, ALL YOU DELIVER IS JUNK MAIL half the time... for the important stuff I get it electronically....its 2014 not 1914

    December 11, 2013 - 16:57

    Shame shame shame on Canada Post! One day all the 'high up descision makers' will all be seniors, & have a hard time with mobility, maybe they will find themselves without any transportation, some may be single parents with small children that they have to cart around everywhere they go. What will they think then about their choice of stopping the home to home delivery and placing community boxes a half mile from their house. Or wait, I'm sure all C/P employees will make damn sure there will be a community box right at the end of each of their day all these choices will come back to bite them in the backsides! Would their minds be changed if one of their family members was 85years old with hip & knee replacements, no vehicle, and have to use a walker or cane to walk from their living room to the bathroom, yet will have to walk a km just to pick up their mail? Why not just stop all mail delivery period? If there isnt any mail delivered, then there's no bills delivered, I know my bank account would appreciate not paying all the increased bills every month! Enjoy your all expenses paid, 2 week (paid) vacation every year....

    • peipaul
      December 11, 2013 - 17:24

      So how do you suggest that CP balances its books? Canada Post is projecting losses for this year in excess of $400 million. The trend line shows an ever increasing decline in mail volumes.

    • nitpicker
      December 11, 2013 - 17:27

      Reality check. How else do you address losses in the hundreds of millions?

    • sammy
      December 11, 2013 - 19:05

      Give me a break... if u plan things right u don't even need c/p. u can do most of what mail did just using your computer now.

  • Spoiler Alert
    December 11, 2013 - 16:45

    Hey, it's 2003 here. I predict that in10 years both the postal service and the newspaper business will almost be obsolete. Broadsided? Expect to work at it for another 25 years? I didn't realize naivete was a prerequisite for the job. All the guys who acted like goons on CUPW picket lines over the years when Canada Post was still a fairly essential service: priced yourselves out of the market boys. What goes around...

  • Regular user
    December 11, 2013 - 16:13

    I am a regular user. I still send hand written letters, cards, postcards and packages. I support Canada Post by using it. It is from years of dwindling use that is why there are always cutbacks. Figure it out. It will get to the point where we will be lucky to get mail dropped into those super boxes once per week!

  • Gordo
    December 11, 2013 - 14:05

    Gonna start cutting routes might as well start cutting there wages, can't expect to be paid for doing less work, what you think you are? Politicians?

  • don
    December 11, 2013 - 13:32

    canada post wonders why they are losing customers. well they keep putting up the cost of stamps hoping to make money but it is pushing them away. some one in canada post needs help. maybe they can save money by cutting the boys that is getting over $120,000 a year plus perks

    December 11, 2013 - 12:05

    Mailed 3 bags of Humpty Dumpty Cheesies the other day to our kids out West. total weight 6oo grams. total cost to mail $21.49. Pricing yourselves out of business when it is cheaper to go courier rather then Canada Post.

    • don
      December 11, 2013 - 13:34

      who do you think owns most of the courier services in Canada? Canada post that's ho.

    • Cheapie
      December 11, 2013 - 18:16

      WOW.....3 bags of 99¢ Cheesies! Why didn't you just send a Cheesies Gift Card for $3 and it would only cost you 63¢ for a stamp.

  • David W. Turner
    December 11, 2013 - 11:54

    STUPID IDEA. Yesterday, I sent one medium size parcel to my Grand children in \in Halifax. I was shocked to have to pay postage plus tax of$ 74.00. This is 66%OF MY POWER BILL. a STRONG FIGHT WILL ENSUE. NO SEVICE FROM THE DECISION MAKERS AT CANADA POST. 8000 JOB LOSS. mORE PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO GO TO fORT mAC

  • RG
    December 11, 2013 - 11:50

    So if they plan on doing this, how far apart are the community mailboxes going to be and will more be available in locations they already have them? I currently use a community mailbox, however the 2 sets of boxes closest to my house are both reserved for subdivisions so I have to use one that's about a km or two away from my house. If they're going to force people to use these, it would be nice if they could provide some that are closer to the homes. For me it's not a big deal, but I'm sure there'd be elderly of disabled folks that would have a hard time going that far to get their mail.