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Canada Post cutbacks will see loss of door-to-door mail in Nelson

Colin Payne
By Colin Payne
December 15th, 2013

Changes to its operations announced recently by Canada Post could have a big impact on Nelson area residents when they happen, including a loss of door-to-door mail delivery in favour of community mailboxes.

Canada Post announced five changes to its operations last week in a recent press release that caught everyone by surprise.

Some of the changes include a gradual phasing out of door-to-door delivery services in urban areas in favour of centralized community mailboxes like the ones used in rural areas; an increase in the cost of stamps up to $1 each; a reduction in the number of public post offices in favour of franchise offices like the one at Shoppers Drug Mart; and reductions in operating and labour costs through the usage of new technologies and laying off workers.

Amongst the reasons for the changes stated by Canada Post in the release are a mandate to fund its operations with revenues from sales of products and services instead of becoming “a burden on taxpayers,” and a desire to provide services and products that meet the perceived needs of their clients.

“The postal service of the future will reflect and serve Canadians’ new postal needs,” states the press release.

“As more people began to communicate and manage their household bills online, lettermail volumes declined sharply. Yet as more people shopped online, parcel volumes shot up. This dramatic shift is creating a pressing need to manage a greater number of parcels and less mail with more valuable items.

“With this plan, Canada post will be in a better position to be the essential enabler of remote trade and commerce that Canadians and Canadian businesses can count on for years to come.”

At least 10 local jobs on the chopping block

Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 790 President, Brenda Muscoby-Yanke says the loss of door-to-door delivery in the Nelson area could spell the end of jobs for 10 letter carriers.

“That’s a lot of money that won’t be going into the community because they won’t have it in their pockets,” Yanke says.

“The community itself will suffer in that regard.”

She adds that many people in the community may not like the idea of having community mailboxes in their yards or neighbourhoods because they tend to create litter problems, and have cars idling while people check their mail, not to mention that people may have to drive to check their mail.

“So it’s a big issue for the environment too,” she says.

Another potential issue with the community mailboxes is security, Yanke adds, noting that the boxes can be a target for theft because they are away from peoples’ homes and can be pried open.

A bad move, says Atamanenko

BC Southern Interior MP, Alex Atamanenko says the loss of door-to-door delivery and increase in stamp costs will impact Nelson area residents, particularly senior citizens and people with disabilities.

“Here in the winter time, with the hills and ice, this could really hurt seniors and people with disabilities,” Atamanenko notes. “And the increase in the cost of stamps will really hurt people who are on a marginal income. They will be paying a dollar for stamps.”

He added that Nelson area businesses could be impacted by this move to two fronts, including the loss of door-to-door delivery that will make sending and receiving more burdensome and also in the loss of good-paying jobs in the community through the labour reduction.

Atamanenko feels this move was influenced by the federal government and noted that the timing of the announcement was convenient for it to go unnoticed by many of the public right before the holidays.

He adds that there are alternatives to the drastic service cutbacks, but they were largely not considered.

“They could have cut back to weekly delivery or to two or three times per week,” he notes.

“There could have been come creative solutions found to do this . . . The CEO of Canada post makes over $500,000 per year with benefits and all the other presidents are raking in almost as much.”

Atamanenko also feels the Canada Post cutbacks are part of an attack on the public service by the federal government and a move towards privatizing the Crown corporation.

“I think it’s a real start to privatizing and getting rid of a service that we’ve been so used to all these years,” he says.

“So they can have a business that pays minimum wage with no benefits.”

 

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