Canada Post sets end date for home delivery

Canada Post notified staff in Chilliwack that 12,000 addresses with home delivery will switched to community mailboxes by the fall.

Canada Post mail carrier

Canada Post mail carrier

Chilliwack’s door-to-door mail delivery service is limping to the finish line.

Canada Post notified its staff in Chilliwack this week that more than 12,000 addresses with home delivery will get switched over to community mailboxes by the fall of 2015.

The Posties are none too happy and urge Canadians to make their views known.

Peter Butcher, president of the Upper Valley local of Canadian Union of Postal Workers, was told Wednesday as he was sorting mail for his rural route.

At least eight delivery routes will be lost, but no staff layoffs are expected.

“We’re still fighting this,” Butcher said. “We’d like to see door-to-door service remain intact.”

They knew the switchover was coming. The news was announced a year ago, and most of Sardis and townhome complexes use CMs. But they did not know it would be so quick.

“But I have no idea why Chilliwack was picked to end delivery next year, which is only the second year in a five-year process.”

There is massive opposition to the delivery eradication across the country, Butcher noted, and citizens should let their MP and Canada Post know how they feel.

Canada Post is embarking on a consultation process through the mail. They brown envelopes containing the surveys requesting feedback.

“This morning, we informed employees at our Chilliwack LCD Main depot that home addresses in the area — postal codes starting with V2P — will be converting from door-to-door delivery to community mailboxes in Fall 2015,” said Canada Post spokesperson Daria Hill in an email.

The changes are coming as part of the Five-point Action Plan by the Crown corporation, but will not affect apartment dwellers who get their mail in the lobby.

Info packages with a mail-in survey are arriving soon to allow people to express “their priorities and preferences” about the new delivery method of their mail, said Hill.

But some citizens are “angry and upset” by all the problems it will cause, Butcher added citing: theft, snow removal, frozen locks, to poor lighting and safety, downloading of costs onto municipalities.

There are “serious implications” for seniors and those with mobility challenges who have specifically chosen to live where they live so they can get home mail delivery.

Almost 400 groups and municipalities have passed resolutions or raised concerns about the cuts, especially the end of home mail delivery, he said.

But Canada Post reps said they will work with city planning departments to pick “suitable locations” for the new mailboxes.

City officials have always worked with Canada Post in this way, as they already have Community Mailboxes in place in Sardis and Vedder Crossing, with a mix of CMs and end-of-driveway private mail boxes. They have not had any inquiries from the public on the subject, staff said.

Canada Post reps specified that “no regular full-time or part-time employee” will lose their job as a result.

“As we have stated throughout this process, we will reduce our workforce largely through attrition as people leave the company,” said Hill.

Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl has pledged to help constituents if possible.

“My office stands ready to assist anyone with mobility issues should the need arise,” he said.

But the MP also reminded people that Canada Post has “a mandate to operate on a self-sustaining financial basis” and to not be a burden on Canadian taxpayers.

“Canada Post has an obligation to align its business with the realities of the digital age in order to protect Canadian taxpayers,” Strahl noted, adding that Canadians are changing the way they communicate and do business, with letter mail in dramatic decline.

“About two-thirds of Chilliwack residents already receive their mail in a community mail box, apartment lobby lock box, post office box or at the end of their driveway on rural routes,” he wrote in an email to The Progress.

“These customers will not be affected at all by Canada Post’s delivery changes.”

As Canada Post transitions from home delivery to secure community mail box delivery, the corporation has committed to working with people with mobility issues to meet their needs.

It’s all because of the numbers. Canada Post has seen letter mail volumes plummet, with 1.2 billion fewer pieces of mail delivered in 2013, compared to 2006. The plan: http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/assets/pdf/aboutus/5_en.pdf

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

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