(Editor’s note: the following is an open letter to federal transportation minister Lisa Raitt. Copies were sent to the Gazette as well as to MP Gary Schellenberger and official opposition critic for transportation, MP Olivia Chow.)
On December 11, 2013, Canada Post took the public and postal workers by surprise by announcing a plan to eliminate door to door delivery, hike stamp prices immediately, and end between 6,000 and 8,000 jobs, allegedly by attrition.
That this announcement came just before Christmas, and the day after Parliament recessed for Christmas, is hardly an accident. I’m sure that (Canada Post president and CEO Deepak) Chopra thought that Canadian citizens would be distracted by Christmas, and with Parliament closed for the season, they could slip this by us.
Chopra stated that Canada Post had consulted with the public about the cutbacks. Oddly enough, I haven’t met anyone who was consulted. Mr. Chopra claimed that seniors had indicated they wanted more fresh air and exercise. As a senior, I find this insulting. I have just been out snowshoeing, and I can tell you walking to a mailbox is not “exercise” except in the “better than nothing” category. But climbing over a snow bank to get mail may be too difficult for older seniors and the disabled.
I should make clear that I do get my mail from a community mailbox. I am fortunate that one of the men in the neighbourhood clears the snow, because Canada Post does not. Recently here in Stratford at another community mailbox neither the letter carriers nor residents were able to reach the mailbox because of a huge snow drift.
One thing I really do dislike is that our letter carrier is changed frequently, and we never know what time the mail will be delivered, which results in extra trips to the mailbox. I can see no reason for the constant changing of carriers, and from talking with the letter carriers I know they are frustrated.
I don’t have a problem about having a community mailbox, because this neighbourhood was designed with this in mind. But previously I lived in an old neighbourhood in Toronto, where a community mailbox would have taken up half my lawn, which would have devalued my property substantially. For many of us, our homes are our major investment and our savings for our old age. Canada Post has not indicated how the decision as to where a community mailbox would be made. I think it will be quite interesting when/if this is implemented in Rosedale.
Canada Post claims that two thirds of the population does not get door-to-door delivery. This is probably true, as a large number of Canadians live in apartment buildings. There is a radical difference between going to the lobby to get one’s mail, and clambering over a snow bank.
The radical increase in stamp prices seems designed to discourage businesses and individuals from sending letters. Yet Canada Post has been making a significant profit, in fact $94 million in 2012.
It has been suggested that Canada Post consider beginning a banking service since there are many communities which have post offices but no banks. There seems to be an unwillingness to explore solutions on the part of Canada Post management. This gives rise to the suspicion that Canada Post and the Conservative party are looking for an excuse to privatize Canada Post.
This is not acceptable.
Dorothy A. Knight