By Jesse Robitaille
At the beginning of March, Canada Post will begin mailing each Canadian residential address a free postage-paid postcard – about 13.5 million altogether – that can then be mailed to anyone, anywhere in the country.
Households will start randomly receiving one of six different designs, each with 2.25 million printed, on March 1. Because they’re postage-paid postcards, no stamps are needed to mail them. It’s the first time Canada Post has mailed free postage-paid postcards to the public.
“Meaningful connection is vital for our emotional health, sense of community and overall well-being,” said Canada Post President and CEO Doug Ettinger, who added the Crown corporation “wants everyone to stay safe but also stay in touch with the people who matter to them.”
Referencing the COVID-19 pandemic, Ettinger added “so much has changed and challenged us” since last March.
“The way most of us live and work is almost unrecognizable,” he said, adding physical distancing is “one of the most difficult parts of managing the virus and staying safe.”
“To keep everyone safe, those sacrifices were necessary, but that physical distance has taken an emotional toll. Everyone is missing someone.”
Ettinger, who began his four-year term as president in 2019, encouraged Canadians to “think of someone you’re close to, but who has been farther away than you’d like,” when they receive their postcard this March.
“Then write them what you feel,” he added. “After you fill in their address, just put the postcard in a street letterbox or community mailbox, or take it to your local post office. We’ll get your message to your loved one.”
People are also encouraged to share photos or videos of them sending and receiving their postcards using the hashtag “#WriteHereWriteNow.”
The postcards are part of Canada Post’s “Write Here Write Now” program launched last September to encourage Canadians to use letter writing to stay connected during the pandemic. For more details, visit canadapost.ca/writenow.
POSTCARD PROGRAMS WORLDWIDE
Other postal services – including Ireland’s An Post, Jersey Post, Isle of Man Post Office and Royal Gibraltar Post Office – have also mailed free postage-paid postcards to their country’s households to encourage people to write to one other.
While the Isle of Man postcard could be mailed anywhere in the world, the other four issues – including Canada’s – were all domestic postage paid, meaning they could only be mailed within their respective countries.
“This is a massive undertaking in Canada compared to the other jurisdictions due to population and land area,” said collector and award-winning exhibitor Jean Wang, who’s a member of the North Toronto Stamp Club and Canada Post’s 12-person Stamp Advisory Committee, which determines the country’s annual stamp program.
Ireland’s program – called “Come Together Write Now” – saw two postcards mailed to each household last March and this January.
“We saw wonderful artwork on the postcards last year, so we’re giving customers of all ages the space to be even more creative this time around,” said Julie Gill, An Post’s commercial marketing director, this January. “Your messages of love and solidarity will brighten people’s homes over the weeks ahead.”
An Post is also providing free postage for all letters mailed to and from residents of the country’s nursing and care homes. By writing “FREEPOST” where a stamp would typically be affixed, Ireland’s mail carriers will deliver cards and letters to residents for free.
As part of its “Community Focus” program, An Post is also inviting family members of older or vulnerable people to register for regular check-ins from mail carriers as they work their postal routes.