Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Mail delivery changes looming as Canada Post grapples with financial pressure

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Whether you check it every day or not, how and when your mail is delivered could be changing as Canada Post faces mounting financial pressure.

“I don’t think we need to be getting mail every day,” said Shaelah Matechuk.

“I rarely get things that are so urgent that I need them every day, but I know that some people do, like people who still get their cheques and live paycheque to paycheque. It matters if you get it today or tomorrow,” said Judith Wouk.

“We as a lot of people are actually going online,” said Jeanne Burnham. “And so we don’t have very much mail anymore. And that’s been Canada Post’s problem.”

Canada Post lost $748 million in 2023 and it says it could run out of operating funds within a year. Letter mail has drastically declined, with the Crown Corporation delivering 2.2 billion in 2023 compared to 5.5 billion pieces of mail in 2006.

“Rules governing how and when mail is delivered were put in place in 2009, when Netflix was delivering DVDs in the mail,” said Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton. “A lot has changed since then. So if we’re going to create a new modern approach that meets the needs of Canadians today then we need to make changes and look at everything.”

The union representing postal workers says the way out of this is through expanding services, not cuts.

“We have more locations across Canada than Tim Hortons. And in some small and remote areas, the only federal building people see is the Canada Post location,” said Jan Simpson, the national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. “So, to offer postal banking at those locations will be great. Also, we want to do some senior check ins… you’re able to go talk to the customers and see what’s happening there and let their loved ones know that they’re okay.”

The company has turned to e-commerce and parcels, but it has not been enough.

“The requirements today are that we deliver five days a week. Well, delivery today spreads into the weekend, it goes on evenings,” said Hamilton. “So we need to figure out how we can play better in that space because those in the parcel business, and that’s where the growth is and that’s where we need to chase, we need to be much better in that space. A five-day-a-week delivery model just doesn’t fit that anymore.”

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