Canada Post is ending home mail delivery to urban residents across the country within the next five years, in favour of installing central, community mailboxes.
The Crown corporation will also hike the cost of a single postage stamp from $0.63 to $1, or $.85 if bought in a pack. There will also be other postage cost increases.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod says these changes are necessary due to persistent and increasing losses at Canada Post.
“Whether it be communicating by e-mail or paying the bills electronically, there have been significant decreases in mail volume and significant issues around a projected billion-dollar deficit by 2020.”
Pension plan contributions from workers at Canada Post also resulted in a significant shortfall, she adds.
The Conference Board of Canada revenue projections that led to these adjustments are “consistent across many nations,” she explains.
“This is not a problem that’s unique to Canada. It’s a worldwide problem and many national postal systems have to deal with it.”
There isn’t any door-to-door delivery in the Cariboo portions of her riding, she notes, so it won’t affect those constituents.
McLeod says the few remaining residents with private, rural mailboxes – which were “grandfathered” when new residences went to community mailboxes – won’t be affected.
They’ll still be able to saunter down their driveway to pick up their mail at the roadside, such as in certain Green Lake neighbourhoods.
“Rural mailboxes will not be changed, so that’s important for the Cariboo.”
While seniors or disabled people across the province who have home delivery now (including some of McLeod’s constituents in Kamloops) will soon be forced to pick up their mail at a central location, she says that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“[Mail can be obtained through] a family member, or a friend; sometimes a chance to get out is a positive experience.”
The local MP explains two-thirds of Canadians don’t get door-to-door delivery now – many of whom did prior to increased installations of community mailboxes – and managed to adapt to that.
“I lived in a rural community where at one point we had a mailbox at the end of the driveway, and it shifted to a community box.”
McLeod adds the annual cost of providing delivery on the doorstep ($269 per address) is more than double that of central mailboxes ($117).
“They estimate a savings in the $400-500 million a year range.”
The changes don’t match the questions included in McLeod’s riding poll last summer, which didn’t ask about significant postage increases. It asked constituents about alternate day home delivery (60 per cent were all right with that idea, she says.
However, the postal corporation performed a much wider poll before determining the service reductions and postage increases, she adds.
“The bottom line is Canada Post has a mandate to break even, and that’s what Canada Post believes it can achieve by this five-year plan.
“There was a pretty clear message certainly from people in this riding – they didn’t want their taxes increased to subsidize this service.
These weren’t easy decisions to make, McLeod says, adding she suspects if everyone reflects on their own personal and business habits, the necessity becomes easier to understand.
McLeod says she recognizes change is difficult and that Canada Post is an “icon” people rely on, but Canadians have already adjusted to many changes in how we communicate and do our business.
“In this case, I think it’s an important challenge because we want to see Canada Post there for us in our future.”