Canada Post plows ahead on conversion

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

Published on December 2, 2014

Canada Post mailboxes

©Guardian photo

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?