St. Marys Journal Argus
Canada Post is “in the postal business, not in the business of promoting other businesses and activities.” That’s the reason being given by the arms-length federal Crown corporation for a decision not to replace a community message board in the St. Marys Post Office, after it was removed recently so the interior walls could be repainted.
“I’m surprised, frankly, that (the community message board) was still up on the wall before the repainting was done,” said Canada Post spokesperson John Caines, in a telephone interview with the Journal Argus last week from his Ottawa office.
“The policy is that we don’t promote (anything) other than our own business,” he said, adding it was “years ago” that the Crown corporation began implementing the policy.
He added the justification at the time was the decision-makers wanted to avoid the “cluttered look” that can accompany such community message board.
A similar explanation was received by St. Marys resident Holly Roulston when she asked local Canada Post employees about the failure of the message board to re-appear after the paint job. She told the Journal Argus, however, that the tone with which the explanation was delivered was considerably more apologetic than that of Caines.
“I spoke to somebody (at the local Post Office) and they apologized, but said they couldn’t do anything about it,” Roulston explained. “They said they’d be happy to put it back up, but it wasn’t their decision.”
It was suggested to Roulston that she call a customer service line, which she did. The person who answered that request suggested she call the ombudsman who looks into complaints against Canada Post. Her most recent call was to leave a message at the ombudsman’s office, but she hasn’t heard anything back yet.
Asked about the Canada Post ombudsman, Caines explained that the person is not employed by the Crown corporation, is independent, and can make recommendations about how the postal service provider can improve its interaction with the public. However, he cautioned that Canada Post isn’t necessarily bound by any recommendations made.
Roulston, meanwhile, is disappointed she even had to go so far as contacting the ombudsman. Corporate policy is one thing, she said, but when local employees and Canada Post customers had been seemingly happy with the community message board over the years, she argues it was entirely unnecessary to put it into permanent storage.
“It’s been up on the wall for the 13-plus years that I’ve been here. Obviously, it’s never been a problem before,” she said. “It would be easy enough for us to put up a notice on the board saying, ‘Canada Post does not endorse any of the services or products mentioned here’.”
Roulston is calling on other St. Marys residents to also register their displeasure, in the hopes of convincing Canada Post to make an exception to its no-community-message-board policy.