Suburban Canadians first under the home delivery axe

Canada’s suburbanites will be among the first to lose home mail delivery, with city cores being amongst the last to be converted to Canada Post’s community mailboxes. That is according to the corporation’s recently-released “guiding principles for converting door-to-door to community mailbox delivery.” Facing substantial backlash for its decision to suspend home delivery over the next five years, the corporation is taking pains to address concerns and seeking input from consumers. The announcement was short on details, since the first neighbourhoods to be converted, in the later part of this year, have yet to be announced.

Canada Post communications manager Anick Losier confirmed to Canadian Stamp News that conversion will probably take place in late summer or early fall, and that suburban areas will be amongst the first to be converted. For several years now, most new suburban developments have included community mailboxes. At this time no specific conversion dates have been set by Canada Post, she said.
Canada Post will leave the majority of urban cores in larger cities for the final phase of the project, stating that older neighbourhoods with smaller lots “present different challenges for locating community mailboxes in suburban areas. “The postal service will take the necessary time to understand their unique needs and find solutions that work for these neighbourhoods,” the guidelines stated.

While there have been reports that some retailers, such as drugstore chains, have expressed interest in hosting community mailboxes, and it is possible that a new form of box could be installed in the walls of buildings rather than on the ground. Losier did not confirm those reports but stated “we are exploring alternative options for densely populated areas. This is why we will tackle those areas at the end of the conversion program.” When it comes to setting up community mailboxes, the corporation said it will consult with community leaders and municipal planning officials to select safe and appropriate sites. Individual citizens will be given the opportunity to offer opinions through direct mail surveys and online feedback tools. Businesses, in at least some cases, will continue to receive door-to-door delivery.
The corporation said that delivery will continue to businesses located in established business areas such as main streets, or which receive a relatively large volume of mail or parcels.

People unable to easily get to a community mailbox may be in for some assistance. Claiming it “will also be sensitive to the needs of seniors and disabled Canadians,” the corporation stated it will develop alternative approaches for people with significant mobility challenges and upon whom delivery to a community mailbox would impose an unacceptable hardship.” At this time, Canada Post offers when requested an extra key to seniors and disabled people, with community mailboxes, so that a caregiver or trusted person can pick up the mail. Losier said that the offer of an extra key is just one possibility as community mailboxes are expanded. “There are a variety of options including an extra key,” she said. “We will be moving through the conversation process thoughtfully and explore new alternatives for people with mobility issues or unacceptable hardships. We are currently discussing with various groups about possible alternatives or solutions. Some suggestions, so far, are as simple as making the key bigger for those who have arthritis issues.”

People living in apartment buildings, complexes, or condominiums who already have mail delivery in the building’s lobby, and rural customers who have mail delivered to a rural mailbox will not be effected. The corporation claims the change will have no impact on the two-thirds of Canadian households who already use community or grouped mailboxes, or receive rural delivery. The end of door-to-door delivery is expected to reduce Canada Post’s staff by up to 8,000 people. The corporation said most losses will be covered by attrition, as more than 10,000 workers are expected to retire in the next five years.

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