Canada Post’s decision suspending its plan to end home mail delivery is being met with mixed feelings.
In 2013, Canada Post announced that as part of a new five-point business plan, the 150-year-old institution would be ending door-to-door delivery in favour of community mailboxes.
As part of their successful election campaign, the Liberal Party promised it would stop the plan to end door-to-door mail delivery and undertake a new review of Canada Post. On Oct. 27, in the wake of the federal election, Canada Post announced they were suspending the plan.
Bob Otway, a retired postie with 15 years under his belt as a union member and another 15 in management, said he was disappointed to see the government getting involved with Canada Post.
He felt that Canada Post should have been allowed to follow through on their business plan, which was designed to keep the Crown corporation subsidy free as use of postal mail dropped off.
“They are going to put Canada Post back into a loss situation and taxpayers are going to have to subsidize it,” said Otway, adding that if he was still a union leader, he would probably be cheering.
“But you have to have common sense. Do you want to protect the jobs you can and keep Canada Post in a viable position, or do you want to gamble on Canada Post getting so far in debt the government says let’s get rid of it?” asked Otway.
Otway’s position is at odds with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, which said in a release that the union is happy Canada Post has temporarily suspended its decision to end home mail delivery, but would like to see a permanent halt to the delivery cuts and delivery restored to people who have lost it since the cuts were announced in 2013.
Otway said that door-to-door delivery is not as common as people might think. During his time in management, he oversaw 184 post offices, only a few of which had home delivery routes. From Kamloops through to the Yukon, he said, only seven communities had home delivery. In the Okanagan, only Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon had home delivery routes.
In a March 2015 progress report, Canada Post said only 32 per cent of the 15.7 million addresses they were delivering to were receiving home delivery. Throughout 2014, 1.4 billion fewer pieces of mail were delivered as compared to 2006.
“I said 10 years ago that a letter carrier’s career wasn’t a good one to go into,” said Otway, who retired 18 years ago.
“I really feel bad, because I was a letter carrier and I worked for Canada Post. I hate to see the way it’s going, but it’s a change of times. People are not using paper anymore. All my bills I get online.”