Need to know: Canada Post’s bold plan lands with a thud

How did the postal service let it get so bad, and why isn’t the government speaking up?

by Nick Taylor-Vaisey

The story
Yesterday, Canada Post announced a five-point plan to regain its fiscal footing. The company’s in a bad place, slated to lose $1 billion in 2020 if the status quo prevails. Change is afoot, and the postal service plans to cut home delivery to five million households and increase the price of stamps. The news hit with a thud.

The reviews came in immediately, and they were roundly negative: How can a postal service with a near monopoly lose so much money? How can the company’s solution be to cut service and increase rates? Why doesn’t it know where the community mailboxes of the future will fit into cramped cities? What happens to seniors who could be adversely affected by the change? Why didn’t the Conservative government, or any Conservative politician, speak up about Canada Post’s uncertain future?

The Tories were almost silent on the matter. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, who’s responsible for Canada Post and didn’t take interviews yesterday, did release a statement that lauded the postal service’s plan. “The Government of Canada supports Canada Post in its efforts to fulfil its mandate of operating on a self-sustaining financial basis in order to protect taxpayers, while modernizing its business and aligning postal services with the choices of Canadians,” she said. “I look forward to seeing progress as Canada Post rolls out its plan for an efficient, modern postal service that protects taxpayers and is equipped to meet Canadians’ needs now and in the future.”

There’s some wiggling room in that statement, just in case Raitt needs to respond to a public uproar over specific service changes—if it ever comes, which, despite yesterday’s initial harumphing, is not a sure thing. Still, so many questions remain.

The stat
6,000-8,000: The number of jobs that will disappear as Canada Post implements its five-point plan

The quote
“This is a government trying to minimize what they know is bad news.” —Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

 

What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail Canada Post is ending home delivery for five million households.
National Post
Canada needs more competition in the letter-mail business.
Toronto Star New rules could stifle whistleblowers on Parliament Hill.
Ottawa Citizen Ending home delivery has seniors concerned about their mail.
CBC News The fake signer at Mandela’s funeral suffers from schizophrenia.
CTV News The man, who was hallucinating during the service, sometimes gets violent.
National Newswatch Conservatives didn’t speak out about Canada Post’s pending cuts.

 

What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Sweeteners. Researchers discovered that the Grand River, which runs through southern Ontario, including the cities of Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge, is full of sweeteners from soft drinks. Humans don’t digest the chemicals, and they eventually reappear in drinking water.
THE GLOBAL Uruguay. The International Narcotics Control Board says Uruguay’s historic decision to legalize marijuana violates the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, a treaty that limits the use of pot to medicinal or scientific purposes because of its “dependence-producing potential.”




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Need to know: Canada Post’s bold plan lands with a thud

  1. But.. but .. Coyne and Ivison and the Sunnies are all breathless ..

    so what could possibly go wrong ?

    The jobs will not disappear. But outside the executive suite they

    will certainly change ..

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n09/james-meek/in-the-sorting-office

    I believe the 19th century will welcome us all.

    • Look on the bright side. Perhaps this will serve as an inducement to the young to stay in school, or learn a trade, so that they will have a bit more flexibility when they become redundant. I’m not going to lose too much sleep over the shrinkage of a government subsidized “profession” requiring no skills and no education with a starting salary higher than that of social workers and elementary school teachers.

        • That is a hilarious article. Of course unskilled service labour that the middle class needs is going to involve less compensation than butlers and maids in a personal relationship to the rich. How could it be any other way?

          • What better evidence could there be for your assertion than “of course”.

  2. So what will be the impact of the rate increases on Roger’s magazines?

    • The government will probably increase the subsidy. Mind you, I doubt they`re even thought that through yet.

  3. This ‘postal thud’ is the kind of mess that happens when you try to run a country on ideology.

    • I agree completely. The ideology which allows money losing state-owned enterprises to be propped up indefinitely and unskilled letter carriers to start at $19/hr (after a negotiated reduction) isn’t sustainable in the real world. British Leyland discovered this the hard way 30 years ago, COMECON 20 years ago, and the Greeks are finding out now.

      • The preceding was a paid political announcement by the Con party of Canada.

        • Nope, that was a freebie. The Liberals will gripe about it, being the opposition and all, but they would probably do the same thing, sooner or later.

          • The NDP would do the same thing sooner or later. The end of daily door to door mail, and the privatization of Canada Post is inevitable as progress marches forward.

            The only ones who need daily mail delivery are businesses, who can pay for it themselves if they need it.

          • Well the Post Office has been around since 1867. So it’s been sustainable for 146 years.

            It’s been around long before the Russian revolution and your Cold War. You’re just campaigning.

          • So you think only Liberals hate this …think again!

        • Yes, making sound business decisions is typically something the Conservatives hold in high regard. Unlike you Liberals.

          • Libs left Harp a surplus….which he promptly blew.

            Harp never saw the recession coming either.

            So don’t put the phrase ‘sound business decisions’ in the same sentence as the word ‘Conservatives’

          • That was good for a laugh

      • So why not privatize it while it`s still worth somethingÉ

        • If they were allowed to privatize now, and diversify the services they offer (in other countries private mail does banking, sells insurance, etc) they might not even have to lay off so many employees.

    • I don’t see ideology here, other than the ideology that public service jobs are sacred. From both an environmental and fiscal perspective, it just makes sense.

    • And sleight of hand as well.
      I think the community boxes idea is just a diversionary bauble designed to turn attention away from the rate increases which are the real story and will have a greater impact on individuals than community boxes. But the real impact will be on small business (billing/receiving/advertising) charities, and news and other magazines.
      If Roger’s can get their magazines to community boxes they’ll be happy, but what about the cost? But to be honest I haven’t seen anything on the magazine bulk rates which perhaps will remain low as they now are.

      • Yeah, true. Small business will get clobbered by this….the very people Cons claim they want to encourage

        • How exactly will small businesses be clobbered by this? They don’t do much business by mass mailing. Electronic delivery of bills also isn’t expensive to implement, and any financial incentive to change is only a positive.

          Businesses and charities who send out junk mail will certainly be affected, but given that junk mail is a major environmental problem, I am unconcerned about that.

          • Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, called the price increase significant for businesses that rely on the mail system to invoice customers.
            There are few electronic payment systems in Canada that are affordable and widely used, he said, and billing and receiving payments in the mail remains the lifeblood of many small businesses.

            Forty per cent of small businesses send 50 or more pieces of mail a month, and 98 per cent use the mail every month, according to an October survey conducted by the CFIB, which
            represents 109,000 businesses. Sixty-one per cent of the respondents said receiving mail was very important to their businesses.

            More at:

            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-growth/day-to-day/small-businesses-to-take-a-big-hit-from-canada-posts-delivery-change/article15891186/

          • Hmm… there is opportunity to make money on standardizing and offering electronic payment systems then. I already get a lot of bills electronically, so I had no idea. I figured direct payments by the banks and credit cards, plus pdf copies of bills had largely rendered business mail obsolete except for inertia by old people.

            Now, I still think inertia by old people is the main culprit, but maybe we aren’t quite ready just yet to go completely without paper bills.

            That said, I’m already on record that businesses who need the mail delivered everyday can go deliver and receive it themselves. Customers also have a month to pay and record bills, so that isn’t really a daily problem either. If it is difficult or expensive to continue to use paper bills, I am confident people will switch to better alternatives.

          • Lots of people don’t like electronic billing …and a paper trail is often useful. You haven’t see the chaos in the UK this last week when online banking crashed…..starting right on Cyber Monday….when people do a huge amount of Xmas shopping…. online.

            The point is….this should have been sorted out ahead of time….it should have been planned for, thought about, and organized. And people should have had some warning.

            I’ve been expecting a 3 day a week drop for some time….give people a chance to prepare for the eventual disappearance….but nooooo. Boom….and right before Xmas.

          • There is a 5 year phase out. Half a bloody decade. There is lots of time for people to adjust. There is lots of time for businesses to adjust. There is lots of time for former postal employees to adjust.

            You are acting like they are ceasing mail delivery next week. Heck, they aren’t even increasing the price on stamps until next March.

          • There is lots of time for YOU….but as you can see it’s caused an uproar. And there’s an election before then.

            C’mon Yanni….you’re old enough to know life doesn’t just revolve around you.

          • A five year phase-in insn’t enough warning for you?

          • How many times does something have to be said?

          • Until you understand it. Which means a lot.

          • Oh you’ll never understand any of it….so I don’t even bother.

          • Ms. “New Economy” herself defending paper billing. The irony is likely lost on you. Like most everything else.

          • And again your lack of reading skills betray you.

          • If my cell phone provider can bill me an extra $2/mo for “detailed billing” I don’t see why companies couldn’t simply bill customers who insist on receiving paper bills mailed to them. It’s an added cost on the business, so pass that cost on to the customer, as they do with every other cost.

          • There’s an article in the Calgary Herald (find it yourself) that seems to suggest big impacts on small business re billing and
            advertising.
            I am old fashioned, but somehow magazines especially news magazines are really valuable for political discussion and better than news sites and discussion boards.

          • Yeah, but you can get the Maclean’s magazine electronically as well, and you can always ignore the comment section. In fact most of the time you should ignore the comment section.

          • Especially the oldest LIEberal denizen.

  4. “The International Narcotics Control Board says Uruguay’s historic decision to legalize marijuana violates the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs …. ”

    Tom Chivers – Daily Telegraph:

    But the harms of cannabis should be discussed. It’s not a purely healing herb, as some think, but as drugs go, it’s one of the more harmless. Prof David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist and the former Government chief science adviser, who spoke at the discussion last night, pointed out that about 100,000 deaths a year in Britain are associated with smoking; about 8,000 with alcohol; and, he said, “about eight with cannabis”.

    • Relevance?

  5. From CBC: two-thirds of Canadians already do without door-to-door regular mail service, whether through rural mailboxes, group mailboxes, delivery facilities or “centralized mail points.”

    I’d say that’s one of the more important stats in this discussion. It’s surprising that so many Canadians already do without door-to-door mail service. Perhaps it’s time that the remaining 1/3rd made the transition also?

    • That stat makes me wonder what does Canada Post do if not deliver mail and how is it possible that it’s losing so much $$$?

      • They deliver the mail, just not to your door. They get it to the nearest mailbox. And they do so for 60-something cents per letter. That’s how they lose money.

    • I wasn’t surprised by that number at all. If anything, it seemed low.

      I’ve lived in a bunch of cities in Ontario and Quebec, and I haven’t lived in a place where I got mail delivered to my front door in over 30 years, since I was in elementary school.

      • I remember when Supermailboxes were first introduced. The hew and cry put up by the recipients was pretty impressive. Nowadays, it’s not unusual to have to walk a block (or drive a giant SUV a block) to pick up your mail. Peter van Loan’s characterization of opponents to this change is pretty hilarious if you think back 25 years and substitute the word “Rosedale” with, say, “Etobicoke” or “Markham”.

        http://www.cbc.ca/player/Digital+Archives/Economy+and+Business/Business/ID/2423775645/

        • Yep, it just goes to show that people like to complain about nothing. This was 1988 too, before the internet, and we got along with mail delivery to super mail boxes just fine. Now that we have digital delivery of messages it is even less of a problem, but people are still going to complain.

    • I live in an urban core where door-to-door still exists. No issue with the elimination of two-tier postal service, but I do wonder where they are going to put the community boxes? They’ve been designing the locations into subdivisions for a few decades now, but not every old neighbourhood – particulary in denser core areas (like mine) – has obvious space for them.

      Minimally, I’d question the time frame suggested to switch everyone over. Acquiring land will not be a simple matter in every case – and I’m betting these community boxes will meet with resistance for a variety of reasons (Can’t really say I’d want one in front of my house.)

      • The community boxes are probably going to go where the post offices are going now. Grocery stores, drug stores, strip malls, etc.

        • You’ve got to hike a fair distance to get to such locations from downtown neighbourhoods, in many cases. They’d need to be accessible at all hours too, so the logistics would be tricky. I wonder if the cost of maintaining such real estate has been factored into the projected savings?

          • Few neighborhoods are lacking any commercial spaces.

            But let’s say your community was designed by a moron, and it is nothing but identical bungalows for miles on end. If we absolutely need to, I’m sure local home owners will rent spaces out of their lawn for a chance to reduce their mortgage payment by a couple grand a year.

            Heck, we could even decide that such neighbourhoods should retain their door to door delivery service, but cancel it for everyone else, cutting the door to door postal service to a few hundred thousand people, rather than 11 million.

          • Putting the boxes at the outer edges of neighbourhood retail plazas might work – and might drive up business for those in the plazas. Stop for mail & stay to shop?

          • I know I prefer to have post offices as part a retail space than having only post offices. The hours are generally a little better, and I can combine my errands. A grocery store post office is ideal, which is what I have now.

          • Downtown communities weren’t planned by morons. They weren’t “planned” period, but rather have grown organically over a century or more.

          • Downtown locations certainly have commercial spaces, because their planning predates the automobile. Commercial spaces certainly would be happy to hold your postal box for the traffic.

          • Hey, his neighbourhood wasn’t designed by a moron (I live there, too, on the edge of it) but by people 100 years or so ago. Very attractive homes, many of them, and entire streets without a duplicate design. But if you live in the core of this neighbourhood, no, there are no commercial spaces within a block. This is the first argument I’ve heard against the plan that makes sense to me. I hadn’t considered the land purchases or the fact that in many urban areas like this one, there really is no spot set aside for such a thing. Perhaps the answer for these neighbourhoods is door to door two days per week?

          • Most neighborhoods have public green spaces, schoolyards or parks, small but accessible portions of which would be sufficient. That’s where they tend to go in the suburbs that have them.

          • But the placement in those suburbs which already have them was part of the subdivision planning process. It’s different in the urban cores.

          • Agreed that it won’t be as easy or as convenient, but not impossible in most areas.
            I have home delivery now but have had superbox delivery in the past. Home delivery is a bit better, but given how little mail we get these days a check once or twice a week will likely suffice for most.
            The biggest danger for Canada Post is that if you still get some bils by mail you may be more motivated to take the time to switch to electronic delivery if it isn’t being delivered right to your home anymor – thus further eroding CP’s own client base.

      • Urban mailboxes will also face problems others do not. If its all in one readily available segmented box in a high density area, there’s more incentive to just smash those boxes open and take whatever you can get (and with the decline of actual letter writing, the porportion of valuable stuff in mailboxes increases). Put it in stores, suddenly you can only pick up your mail half of the time you were able to.

        Maybe some kind of cordoned off area in a mall or something. Still unpleasant.

        • Not sure about that. Despite rumours to the contrary, most city-dwelling Canadians don’t live in a Mad Max type wasteland. Other than occasional graffiti and drunk university students pinching garden gnomes, my neighbourhood is a pretty safe place.

          • That is unlikely to be true of every area currently served by the mailboxes. We’re talking when and how much, not “if”.

            Also how much money is going to really be saved. We’re talking about the highest density areas here, the easest to deliver mail in.

          • Highest density doesn’t necessarily mean speedy. We live in a fairly dense townhouse development built in the ’70s. There’s still a decent amount of time it takes for the mailman/woman to go to each door, especially in the winter. Sure, it’s quicker than a lower-density neighbourhood, but still takes time.

            There’s a newer development a few minutes away, very similar in density to ours. But since it was built in the ’00s, they have community mailboxes. I’ve seen them deliver mail here: The mailman barely has to step out of his truck to reach the communal mailbox. It takes him a decent amount of time to put all the mail in the boxes, but still quicker than door-to-door. Then he drives off. Saves time, gas, and if other neighbourhoods (like mine) were served in the same way, we could cut down on the number of mailmen. Significant savings there.

          • And even so, think about the fate of many a bicycle in urban neighbourhoods, even the posher ones. Many bikes, even locked ones, get “jacked”,as the kids say.

          • They get nicked in the suburbs with great regularity too.

          • I admit I am only going on memory, but as I understand it the practice is much more commonplace in cores than downtown. Of course, the figures might be off because you’d have to adjust for actual bike ownership tendencies…

          • The only bike I ever got stolen was stolen when someone cut the chain link fence in the front yard of the house I was staying at. The bikes I locked up on the street or at the university were perfectly safe. ;)

            I felt really bad for my landlord. It was just a crappy second hand bike I had bought, but he was stuck with the bill for getting his fenced fixed.

        • How is that different from the mailboxes on the street, or on your porch now?

          All of these “what ifs” and “we don’t know what will happen” or “the people won’t stand for it” is just a smokescreen for the real complaint. You don’t want postal employees to lose their jobs. Why not just be honest and say that?

          • It’s different by volume and public accessibility, m’lad.

          • Eh, if you walk down the street and see box after box on the end of driveways or on porches, it is pretty easy to walk along and look in the unlocked mail boxes without people seeing you.

            Heck, it isn’t even suspicious if you pretend that you are selling something, or canvasing for donations.

          • That is somewhat true, but you have to go to every house. Now everything is piled together all at once, accessible in a few moments by a few easy to get tools!

          • GFMD, this isn’t a problem in the many, many neighbourhoods that are served by community mailboxes now, and have been for many years. Why? Because packages are at the post office, and it is easier to get people’s personal information out of the trash can without the federal charge of interfering with the mail.

            Heck, you know what’s really easy? With a single tool I can club a letter carrier over the head and take his entire bag of mail before it even gets to your door. In fact, maybe instead of exposing mail delivery people to dogs, and potentially insane home owners, or injuries from slipping on snow and ice we should instead care enough for their well being to make their work environment a little safer… and encourage those that are not needed to find more fulfilling lines of work where they can be creative and useful.

          • You forgot to mention granny on the porch in her rocker, shotgun at the ready.

          • Granny would get arrested if she did that. ;)

            But yeah, I’m being silly because GFMD is being silly.

          • No worries, grannie’s probably myopic anyway.

          • I suppose some people have had stuff stolen from their superbox. I don’t know anyone, though. But I know of breakins at boxes in apartment buildings, and I know people who have had stuff stolen from their home boxes.
            If the superboxes are in an open, well-lit area with surveillance cams, mail is probably as safe if not safer there than with door-to-door.

          • i was thinking that too, but now there’s a cost of surveillance cameras where there weren’t before.

          • I would think they’d only need them in high crime areas. None of the ones I’ve seen have cameras now…

        • The community mailboxes in Van’s Downtown Eastside on Welfare Day are going to be a laugh.

      • They won’t need to purchase land or buildings. They’ll simply lease some space within existing drug stores, convenience stores, office fronts, etc. where the business will be glad to get the extra traffic. Much like many postal outlets already do.

        • It will cost a hell of lot to get the space needed for entire neighbourhoods in one store. I’d expect most existing stores couldn’t spare the space needed for hundreds of additional boxes. The P.O. boxes we see now are optional, and limited at the retail operation’s desire.

          • Why will it cost a hell of a lot? Mailboxes aren’t that large. Now a 20 year Postman, delivering mail every day, that costs a lot.

            Every few blocks you put a superbox, every neighbourhood you put a place to pick up your packages. Done.

            You know, like they already do in many, many places.

          • Or perhaps the retail tenants would appreciate the additional volume, and would more than gladly welcome mailboxes taking up a small portion of wall space in their store?…

          • A few hundred boxes needs more than a small portion of wall space – for any existing store it will need to generate more income than the sales space it replaces. You can no longer refuse access to your store to unsavoury individuals, and the store will often have potential shoplifters using the ruse of gathering mail to hang about. The floor space around the mailboxes needs to be kept clean and dry (lest customers slip or trip and sue you). For all of these reasons, added foot traffic alone will not be enough – the space will have to be leased at top dollar.

            I’ve managed grocery stores in the past – I’m pretty familiar with the logic of retail.

          • Valid points, but do you really feel like space is a big issue? How dense are we talking here? Is there no green space or wide-enough sidewalk space for a several-block radius to accommodate these mailboxes? I could understand maybe some outcry from nearby residents where these things might get installed (more traffic, potentially more noise, etc), but generally speaking, I don’t see a lack of space as a huge problem.

          • You’d be surprised how many old downtown neighbourhoods have precious little green space, and houses very close to the road. (in my neighbourhood, there’s generally about 10′ from house to sidewalk, and the sidewalk abuts the roadway directly). Taking a chunk of schoolyard or park space is not something we’d endorse either, as a rule.

            Also, urban core residents often tend to be highly activist, and you can bet that “some outcry” will be very vocal. If you try to put it across the road from my house, it will lower my property value. I may or may not be cool with that. There will also be the issue of historically designated areas to contend with (where residents can’t even put up vinyl siding or new windows without historic board clearance – good luck having superboxes approved there!).

            For the record, I’m not personally opposed to them. And in many cases, finding space won’t be a big deal. But there will also be many situations where it won’t be as easy as pointing at a map and making it happen. Canada Post makes it sound like it can simply be done if they wish.

          • Okay, so presuming I take what you are saying at face value (which I’m not, really) and they can’t find any business to host a superbox, or any place to put a superbox, certainly they could rent a space to put mailboxes for the same cost (if not less) than the letter carrier would cost considering his pensions and so forth? Even a starting letter carrier is 40,000 dollars a year. That’s 160 bucks a day. Even in Downtown Toronto it doesn’t cost that much for a place to hold superboxes for a posties route does it?

            I’m an ignorant country bumpkin, so if someone could break down the costs, and square footage needed, I’d appreciate it.

        • I can picture a neighbourhood strip mall in the suburb I live in (built in the 60`s – 70`s) having something like that . . . and what I expect to see are mini traffic jams in the parking lot as people drive up there on their way home from work to get their mail. Won`t be pleasant.

          One feature they should include: Recycling bins so all the junk mail can be disposed of on the spot.

          • It doesn’t happen that way. People don’t pick up their mail every day, and the traffic is therefore simply not that heavy.

            And yes, just like in the post office, there is a place to recycle your junk mail on the spot. However, you should tell Canada Post that you do not want to receive unsolicited mail. If most Canadians would tell Canada Post that they do not want to receive unsolicited “junk” mail, there would be far less of it for all of us. So even though I collect my mail from a PO Box and thus can quickly dump it into the wastebasket, I still tell the clerk that I don’t want any junk mail.

      • I’m curious about that, too. Will they have to lease space on municipally-owned land, or from private landowners?

        • That’s the thing. It’s not like a federal crown corp can simply force municipalities to hand over land. And even leasing from a private landowner could be fraught with difficulties.

        • They already have a lot of storage boxes and mail boxes on boulevards and other municipal lands, and the new community boxes appear to be adjacent to public siewalks. No problem.

    • Included in that two-thirds figure are those who live in large apt/condo buildings, most of whom have NEVER had door-to-door delivery. Taking an elevator to the lobby to pick up your mail is much different from having to walk probably several blocks if you are elderly or have other physical impediments.

      • We can always get people with reduced mobility their mail the same way we ensure that they get their groceries.

        • Agreed. I find the senior/disability objection to be a bit dense.

        • And how is that?

          • Either they have a way of getting out themselves to buy food, supplies, get haircuts, etc., or they have home support. Collecting mail isn’t an onerous addition to the network of supplies and services we all need.

          • It’s one more thing for them to have to negotiate & these are the people who often have the most limited resources.

          • As I think about it, I expect large apartment complexes already count as community mailbox locations, and will likely be unaffected.

            Don’t forget, there are already many seniors and disabled folks who don’t get delivery to their door. Why have I never heard this raised as a pressing social issue before?

          • Yes, apt complexes are included in that “2/3″ figure Cda Post is throwing around. But taking the elevator to the lobby to pick up mail is different than having to travel blocks(?) when someone has limited mobility, particularly in inclement weather. Those living in houses/small apt. bldgs will certainly encounter difficulty.

          • But then why has this not been raised as an issue for those living outside door-to-door delivery zones before now?

          • Perhaps because the majority live in urban centres so hasn’t affected too many people up to this time. I suspect that a majority live in urban areas. I recall when Cda Post first proposed community mailboxes, there was a huge push-back, but don’t recall if the push-back was from seniors/disabled people.

          • Nope. At least so far as seniors are concerned…

            “-Canada’s rural population is older than the urban population. Within predominantly ruralregions, 15% of the population is senior (65 years of age and over) compared to 13% in
            predominantly urban regions.
            - Canada’s rural population is aging faster than their urban counterparts in terms of the change in the share of the population that is senior.”

            http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&dir=rec/part/sen&document=index&lang=e

          • Yes, but there are many people with reduced mobility, who live in houses, and they already don’t get door to door mail service. It just isn’t a problem.

            I live in the country, and there are a lot of seniors still living in farm houses with reduced mobility. If they can get their groceries, they get their home care, they can get their mail. Their mailbox is 10 miles away.

            It just isn’t a problem. You are trying to make it one so you can defend obsolete jobs, but it just isn’t going to convince anyone. Ultimately, it is a hollow argument, and you know it.

          • Yanni – not everyone who has questions or concerns about this is trying to defend postal jobs. You sound a bit dumber every time you accuse folks of that when they’ve given no indication it’s a motivating factor in their viewpoint.

            Kay is expressing concerns and engaging in back-and-forth debate respectfully. Why suddenly attack her for an imagined agenda? Let’s put the di*ckishness on a shelf, shall we?

          • Sorry, but this just reminds me of the hypocrisy of when people were against making the Canadian Wheat Board voluntary. As someone who grows crops for a living, I would explain why the CWB wasn’t adding value to my business, why it largely did not have the power to influence the global price of wheat and malt barley, and why it was unjust to force people to do business with an agency that wasn’t willing to make necessary changes to keep our business on their own.

            None of that mattered, because they were going to argue for the CWB even though they didn’t have any way to refute what I said. Why? Because the CWB employees are part of the family of government workers, and they will be defended beyond all logic and reason. They themselves had no other reason to care one way or another about the CWB.

            Now I see the same left wing people trying desperately to prove that ceasing home delivery of mail is going to lead to doom and despair even though it is easy to see that door to door mail is neither necessary nor often wanted. Why would they do that unless they just figure it is their duty to push back and protect public sector jobs like they have?

          • Lots of reasons. Kay seems genuinely worried about certain elderly and disabled portions of society. I happen to think her concerns are misplaced, but I’m betting she might be cool with privitization to save money instead of preserving jobs.

            In my own case, I’ve been clear that I don’t mind the elimination of two-tier service, but that I think the logistics have been glossed over and that the cost savings suggested have not accounted for the expenses involved. In short, it smells like a typical neocon move that has more to do with populism and downloaded costs than sensible fiscal and social decision making. Why not take this opportunity to consider the full range of options – including eliminating the crown corporation all together (which I’d be open to).

            We have a federal government that proudly ignores experts, evidence and consultation in policy making. It’s not hypocriticial to question their decisions, and demand a full accounting. And all of that is possible without necessarily backing the existing union jobs.

          • Eh, I’d be more inclined to believe Kay’s good intentions if she would simply answer the questions of why it doesn’t seem to be a problem that people with limited mobility have now. She just ignores it though, and keeps repeating that it will hurt seniors. That seems to imply she is instead trying to raise a stink and send a message. Same with GFMD with the vandalism concerns about super boxes even though it is extremely rare. Same with Emily who was vaguely supportive of this move in the first article, then became hyper-partisan against it when she realized other left wing commentators were opposed.

            Whereas you actually are answering questions, and willing to consider other options. I think you must live in a different part of the country than I do though, because there hasn’t been any problems with post offices and post office boxes finding homes out here, so I’m wondering if you aren’t a place that Canada Post hasn’t innovated much.

          • That does not justify universal mail delivery for everyone. If need be we can always up old age or disability up a couple bucks to pay for the mail delivery.

            But you know, many, many seniors with reduced mobility already don’t get door to door mail delivery. It doesn’t seem to be a problem that leaves people bereft.

          • See Sean’s answer.

            But if you don’t like that, I’m more than willing to consider increasing funding and support for home care. I’d certainly sooner pay for that than for home delivery of vast quantities of junk mail.

          • Well that’s certainly a good thought, but since home care is funded by the provinces & Cda Post is a crown corporation, never going to happen.

          • Well, it would involve taking the money you would otherwise be spending on Canada Post and increasing Health Care funding to the provinces generally, yes.

            But funding for home care is going to have to increase because we simply don’t have the spaces to care for people in institutions, and we have neither the time or the money to pay for new institutions for the elderly. Increased spending for home care is as inevitable as Canada Post’s decline.

      • Well, that’s quite the sweeping statement. Most people who live in apartment buildings have always lived in apartment buildings, and will always live in apartment buildings?

  6. In a broad sense, if this goes through, the government has no more moral authority to oppose measures placed on the citizen which are inconvenient but have environmental benefit.

    • I didn’t realize it had that moral authority before.

      • There may be abstract ideological arguments against it, but that wouldn’t really be part of a realistic practical discussion.

        • Most arguments against environmental measures generally follow three arguments.

          1) Your science is wrong – (ie. man-made climate change isn’t real)
          2) Your plans are not feasible – (ie. carbon tax will wreck the economy, that measure is unenforceable etc.)
          3) Other people should pay for it, but not me (ie. the NDP’s positions that consumers should somehow be sheltered from the cost of carbon).

          But I don’t think anybody has argued that inconvenience alone is not worth environmental benefit. Certainly if they did they certainly shouldn’t get away with using it as a moral argument.

          (For the record, I think all 3 arguments are bullocks).

  7. I love that these corporate brain trusts always seem to conclude that lowering the level of service & increasing the price of said service is going to help solve their financial woes – actions which are pretty much guaranteed to reduce usage of the service & in the end deepen the financial hole the corp is in.

    • You’re going to stop mailing letters because they’ll get delivered to a postal box instead of to the person’s door? That already happens in two-thirds of the cases already. Raising the price will reduce volume somewhat, but every product has it’s ideal price, beyond which business falls too much, beneath which they aren’t charging enough. Presumably they’ll be able to figure out where that price is. Everybody else with something to sell already does.

      • The risk would be that people who haven’t yet bothered to switch to electronic delivery of bills etc may find the inconvenience of the superboxes t be the motivation they needed. I still get a couple of things delivered that way because the bills arrive at my door and I just forget to go through the trouble of switching – though I’ve been intending to do so for some time. I’m sure I’m not alone – and I’m sure a lot of us will be more inclined to make the switch if receiving the paper verion is made harder.

        • To each his own. I find the trouble of opening the mail and manually entering the data into my records to be enough of a hassle to switch to electronic bills whenever possible.

        • Well, no, the motivation they need is already provided by companies like Rogers & Bell. Under the guise of “going green,” these companies charge a premium for mailed bills. To opt out of this “premium service,” consumers must agree to digital bills.

          • That was part of the motivation for the ones I switched :-)

    • I only saw one article on the business impacts of the rate increases (Calgary Herald). It will be substantial. Could be problem for magazines like Maclean’s unless they get an exemption. They already have very low rates I think.

      • Yes, Canadian magazines already receive subsidized delivery. From what I understand, only the price of a stamp is going up. Magazines and paper-spammers (what I like to call flyers) will likely be exempt from any rate increases.

  8. Getting rid of the milkman, the Fuller brush man and the Avon lady who called door-to-door were probably also decisions that “landed with a thud” at the time. But that just tells us that good decisions aren’t often popular ones. If someone really has a better idea for what to do with the post office, I’d like to hear it.

    • Those were all private enterprises. We’re discussing a crown corporation that provides (to some, not me) a needed service to society. It’s also holds a monopoly – we have no choice but to mail letters via Canada Post (other carriers are prevented by law from matching the Canada Post mail rate for letters).

      For all those reasons, the Fuller Brush man isn’t a relevant analogy.

      • Private or public, I still haven’t heard a better idea. So far, the options are make these changes or suck up annual losses that will grow to a billion dollars per year.

  9. The entire discussion is moot. 20 years from now, Google will deliver and/or manufacture in your home everything you need or want. If Google doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist.

  10. Only deliver my mail once per week and save huge money. That way you can get 5 times the productivity. As it is clear junk mail isn’t paying 84 cents per item. If Canada Post is running at a loss, and their biggest customer are junk mail, perhaps if we had a politician leader with guts, they would tell Canada Post to raise junk mail prices and go to once per week delivery unless the volume justifies it.

    Taxpayers should not have to eat Canada Post losses for junk mail.

    CEO is a idiot, 2019 is like saying he plans on doing nothing to fix Canada Post. He needs to be fired and get someone in that knows how to fix inefficient wasteful organizations fast, someone like Sergio Marchionne.

  11. One thing I haven’t been made clear of about this service change.. does this strictly apply to letter mail? Or does it mean that parcels will no longer be delivered to people’s doors either?

  12. I like Robin Williams solution: let the Jehovah Witnesses deliver the mail for free.

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