First run of community mailboxes replacing Canada Post delivery
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
Canada Post has begun shifting over to community mailboxes as of October 20. Over the next five years, home delivery of mail via Canada Post is to be obsolete.
The decision was announced in December 2013, and is currently in practice throughout parts of Canada. Thus far, various addresses in Ontario, Alberta, and Montreal, along with addresses in the cities of Halifax and Winnipeg, are experiencing the first run of the new mail system. Converting to community mailboxes came as a result of lost revenue for Canada Post over the past several years. To combat the losses, stamp prices rose in March this year while the switch of delivery systems is likely to cut up to 8,000 jobs over time.
Postal workers were not consulted prior to the Parliament-supported decision. Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) are currently finalizing a court challenge against Canada Post, as the loss of jobs is not only substantial, but many civilians could be hindered by the use of community mailboxes. The union’s president, Denis Lemelin, has been vocal about the way in which issuing the changes was handled with regard to postal workers and those who are recognized as seniors or disabled throughout Canada.
Paul Cavalluzzo, a lawyer representing the CUPW case, said in a press conference, “Did you [Canada Post] have any studies of the impact of the decision on seniors and disabled before you took the decision?”
Various groups and organizations representing seniors and those with disabilities will also be on the side of CUPW during the court challenge. Many others however see the community mailboxes as a general inconvenience.
The Globe and Mail interviewed several residents in Ontario during the first week. “Snowploughing in our area is quite bad,” said Doug Boyd, who lives in the city of Kanata. “In the wintertime this is going to be quite a disaster. Is Canada Post going to follow the city ploughs around and dig these things out every day?”
There is currently an online petition on Change.org titled “Don’t let Canada Post end door to door delivery.” The petition was started by Cambridge, Ontario resident Susan Dixon, who has cited her living situation—as a mother of two, with one child having cerebral palsy—for why community mailboxes are not feasible for all. Thus far, the petition has over 200,500 signatures, and needs fewer than 100,000 more before it can be presented to the House of Commons for review.
Community mailboxes however will mainly affect residential areas. Canada Post has stated businesses will not be affected by the change, and will continue to receive mail delivery service.
There is currently no confirmed date for when residents of BC will begin using community mailboxes. As with the other provinces and territories, BC will likely have mailboxes installed in stages throughout the province.