Please, please Mr. Postman, say it isn't so

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Canada Post to make urban mail carriers extinct in sweeping changes to eliminate massive deficit

Canada Post mailboxes

For Canada Post, one letterbox fits all. The decision to eliminate postal delivery service in urban areas of the country is supported by valid financial arguments, declining volume and a $6-billion pension liability.

Looking at the ledgers, it all made perfect sense, especially when Canada Post says its five-year plan will save $900 million and avoid a projected $1 billion a year operating deficit by 2020.

But then, you ask about the personal fallout of the decision and the rationale doesn’t become quite so sensible.

What about seniors and the disabled who cannot get to a group mailbox in urban areas?

What about the 7,000 to 8,000 fewer mail carriers who will be unemployed by Canada Post in five years? There were promises made to take care of the layoffs through attrition but it still means thousands of good-paying jobs are being eliminated.

What about the decision to make the announcement last week just hours after the Commons adjourned for an extended Christmas holiday break?

What about the announcement coming just two weeks before Christmas and with no advance warning to unions which were blindsided by the announcement?

What about the announcement that individual stamp costs will jump to $1 in March? What about the lack of an in-depth study on the potential impact?

Canada Post says its volume numbers just don’t support offering some services anymore but one could argue that Canada Post forced customers to go elsewhere because of its higher costs and reductions in service.

It’s true that electronic mail has played a major role in the decline of Canada Post, as most bills and other paper are now delivered electronically. The electronic revolution has made the post office appear like a dinosaur only because the post office failed to adapt to the changing times and left itself vulnerable. It became irrelevant for many Canadians and businesses, which today rely less on conventional mail and more on electronic transactions and solutions.

Only a third of Canadian households still receive mail at home, but that still is a significant number. In 2006, Canada Post delivered roughly five billion pieces of domestic lettermail. That number has dropped to roughly four billion pieces, and about 30 per cent of that decline was in 2012 alone. While the mail volume has dropped, the number of new residences in urban areas has increased so we have more customers getting less mail, creating an economic nightmare.

Charities warn that increasing costs for stamps and delivery services will cost them dearly. Rising postal rates will have a big impact on small businesses that rely on snail mail.

The post office believes it will be out of the red by 2019 as a result of these initiatives but just what will be left? Every member of the European Union has privatized its postal service or allowed competition. The result is better service and new ventures, such as banking. If there is money to be made, perhaps mail services could be privatized or encourage more competition, much like courier companies which have eaten into the delivery of packages and parcels.

Snail mail is on a rapid downslide and Canada Post with it.

Mail delivery by drones may sound like science fiction, but maybe the post office can get the patent rights and embark on this new and lucrative space odyssey.

Organizations: Canada Post, European Union

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Recent comments

  • Robert Garnier
    December 18, 2013 - 07:20

    This article quotes Canada Post facts and is grossly in error. CPC says only 1/3 of Canadian households receive mail at home but that is door-to-door delivery. Postal Worker delivery to Canadian households is actually 63% to include: 33% Door-to-door; 25% to the entrance of the apartment building and 5% to Rural Boxes at the end of a driveway for a total of 63%. CPC has stated that they intend to target the 33% plus the 25% for a total of 58% of Canadian households to be potentially affected. The reduction campaign of Rural Canadian Mailboxes in Canada is almost completed now and is not expected to be further downsized by this announcement. Also, to note, those Canadian residents who currently have a Community Mail Box, DO receive their oversize boxes and signature items to their door; so in fact, they do get door-to-door delivery when they receive these items.

  • Robert Garnier
    December 18, 2013 - 07:19

    This article quotes Canada Post facts and is grossly in error. CPC says only 1/3 of Canadian households receive mail at home but that is door-to-door delivery. Postal Worker delivery to Canadian households is actually 63% to include: 33% Door-to-door; 25% to the entrance of the apartment building and 5% to Rural Boxes at the end of a driveway for a total of 63%. CPC has stated that they intend to target the 33% plus the 25% for a total of 58% of Canadian households to be potentially affected. The reduction campaign of Rural Canadian Mailboxes in Canada is almost completed now and is not expected to be further downsized by this announcement. Also, to note, those Canadian residents who currently have a Community Mail Box, DO receive their oversize boxes and signature items to their door; so in fact, they do get door-to-door delivery when they receive these items.

  • Robert Garnier
    December 18, 2013 - 07:18

    This article quotes Canada Post facts and is grossly in error. CPC says only 1/3 of Canadian households receive mail at home but that is door-to-door delivery. Postal Worker delivery to Canadian households is actually 63% to include: 33% Door-to-door; 25% to the entrance of the apartment building and 5% to Rural Boxes at the end of a driveway for a total of 63%. CPC has stated that they intend to target the 33% plus the 25% for a total of 58% of Canadian households to be potentially affected. The reduction campaign of Rural Canadian Mailboxes in Canada is almost completed now and is not expected to be further downsized by this announcement. Also, to note, those Canadian residents who currently have a Community Mail Box, DO receive their oversize boxes and signature items to their door; so in fact, they do get door-to-door delivery when they receive these items.

  • Doug
    December 16, 2013 - 18:20

    The ledgers don't all make sense. The company has long fiddled with the numbers, presenting misleading information to the public to justify X, Y, and Z. This is about wrecking the service and preparing it for privatization - like what just happened to Royal Mail and was is happening to the US Postal Service.

  • don
    December 16, 2013 - 14:32

    well between the ceo's getting 90% more in wages then he is worth and the unions i can see canada post in the next couple of years going to be sold to the ups. and then watch out. the unions will do as ups tells them to do. or they will bring in staff from the states and the government will agree. by by union.