Canada Post plows ahead on conversion

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Canada Post mailboxes

Changing door-to-door delivery to mailboxes proceeding without good reason, consultation

The urban blight called community mailboxes is coming soon to a neighbourhood near you. Last month, Canada Post announced the timeline to end door-to-door mail delivery in many areas of Charlottetown and Stratford. Homes will convert from door-to-door delivery to community mailboxes in late 2015, representing almost 10,000 addresses.

The announcement quickly re-focused the public’s attention on the issue.

Residents will get an information package — in the mail — offering a chance to comment on where community boxes should be placed in terms of safety and convenience. If Canada Post wants feedback, it is sure to get it. The corporation should not be surprised if the surveys suggest the mailboxes are a mistake and residents don’t want them, period.

Canada Post did offer some good news — there will be no jobs cut on P.E.I. but any staff retirements will not be filled. The numbers of Canada Post’s union employees will obviously plummet.

The P.E.I. Senior Citizens’ Federation is upset with the pending changes because many seniors have mobility issues and solutions are slow in coming from Canada Post. It appears the corporation is increasing its profit margin on the backs of senior citizens who are very dependent on door-to-door mail service.    

Canada Post is still trying to recover from widespread criticism last year after its CEO suggested that cutting home delivery is a good thing because it will help seniors get exercise.

The criticism against community mailboxes is well-known — they are too far from residences, are more prone to vandalism and theft, more exposed to weather elements such as ice and snow — making them dangerous in winter, inaccessible to the physically challenged, job losses for local residents, decreased property values for homes near community boxes, increased littering and garbage, increased traffic and loss of privacy.

Those are all good reasons to halt the conversion and put a moratorium in place. But there is simply no stopping this federal decision as Canada Post is in the process of converting about one million more households across the country in 2015.

Canada Post argues that Canadians are mailing less and ordering more parcels online. Group mailboxes reduce the cost of operating a declining lettermail business, while providing every household access to a nearby parcel locker.

The corporation is warning customers that community mailboxes are not a temporary or Band-Aid solution. They are permanent locations for this and future generations. Most people surveyed in other locations preferred smaller groupings of boxes located closer to their homes to larger clusters of boxes farther away.

Opposition parties are critical of the conversion process. Charlottetown MP Sean Casey suggests Canada Post hasn’t consulted residents about changes and there is a lack of information. Another key concern is that solutions for residents with mobility challenges have not been sufficiently addressed.

The NDP has fought against reducing this essential service. A party motion to maintain door-to-door service was defeated in the House of Commons and now the Official Opposition is calling on the government to place a moratorium on community mailboxes.

 Yes, Canada Post must modernize in order to meet challenges facing the postal service, but not at the expense, safety and needs of its customers.

 It appears Canada Post is more concerned with increased cost cutting rather than properly serving Canadians. Where is the validity to trim thousands of jobs and end home delivery services when the Crown Corporation has run a profit over the last 20 years?

Organizations: Canada Post, Senior Citizens, Band-Aid NDP House of Commons Crown

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Stratford

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Recent comments

  • townie2
    December 03, 2014 - 07:57

    uh, you don't need a community mailbox to "enjoy a daily walk". especially if its -30 windchill, or +32 humidex, or freezing rain, in your 80's, in a wheelchair, walk with a cane, .....

  • Cromwell
    December 02, 2014 - 14:32

    Who wrote this garbage - I assume someone from 'The Guardian' who chose to go un-named? In the same way that milk is no longer home delivered, and doctors no longer make house calls, the privileged folk of the urban centres of PEI will join us rural hicks (who are, incidentally, the majority of Islanders) who have enjoyed the daily walk to our community mailboxes for years, without any issues.

  • Perhaps
    December 02, 2014 - 14:09

    "Where is the validity to trim thousands of jobs and end home delivery services when the Crown Corporation has run a profit over the last 20 years?" Perhaps the validity is that it could make the same profit with FAR less expenses. That is how things should work. Get over it. picking your mail up is not a big deal. There is a tiny minority of people who are physically unable to do that. They will find a way whether it is family or friends doing it for them.

  • Julie
    December 02, 2014 - 13:23

    They tried this years ago in Alberta. You couldn't open the boxes with key locks in the winter because they would fill with ice/freeze. the local one near here that had a hasp and locks just had all the hasps cut and all the mail stolen last week.

    • D. Hart
      December 03, 2014 - 01:08

      This is common is B.C. Surrey being notable. We are fast becoming conditioned to chaos in part because of lousy representation by governments. They download most things to avoid responsibility or the perception that they might e responsible.

  • gary
    December 02, 2014 - 11:33

    I do feel for the folks that are losing their jobs BUT personally myself all the mail I get now is flyers and the odd random junk. Everyting is pretty much online. Thats just the way things are headed. The Community boxes will be good.

  • From Vernon River
    December 02, 2014 - 10:32

    I wish we would get these out in Vernon River. I would no longer have to keep the snow cleared, could received parcels of a decent size and pick up larger ones in hopefully In Stratford. When your post office is only open 8-2:30 it is next to impossible to make it there if you work full time! I want community mail boxes or for the post office to open for a few hours on Saturday, or one evening a week!