Canada Post, a crown corporation, first announced phase-out of door-to-door mail delivery, then recorded profits in the following year (Canada Post flips to $194M profit in 2014). And now Canada Post might just win the next battle (Canada Post and Hamilton will square off in court at the end of May), a battle where Canada Post installs community mailboxes with a wherever and whenever attitude: “Canada Post has the exclusive jurisdiction over postal services in Canada and has the legal authority to install community mailboxes on municipally-owned property,” spokesperson Jon Hamilton said on Wednesday; Source: CBC.ca. But it seems that some communities are starting to have enough of the ‘meaningless communication‘ that Canada Post has been sharing.
Yes, Canada Post is a federal crown corporation which means that it is owned by the federal government and provides postal service to Canadians. But should that entitle them to an attitude of ‘control‘? “I set the rules in the playground, I play my way, whenever and wherever I want.” Is that a message we expect to hear from our government? Would that be consistent with our 21st century definition of democracy in Canada? Perhaps it was redefined without us knowing it? Nevertheless, it is our government, and I like to think that we should all work together, people and all levels of government, toward the same goal. Perhaps I continue to forget, some of those people are part of the government. Darn, mash up!
Let’s look at the bigger picture, Canada Post’s Five Point Action Plan, March 2015, it states on page three, about their Municipal Engagement: “We work with municipal officials to find the safest, most convenient locations for each neighbourhood, leveraging existing street lighting and sidewalks where feasible. We build our plans based on customer surveys and established guidelines. This process helps to ensure municipal resources can be used most efficiently and keeps to a minimum the time requirement from city staff. To help offset any potential costs related to their involvement in converting door-to-door neighbourhoods, we offer $50 per site to the municipality early in the process.”
Really? That is not what our residents and Aurora Town Council are saying. Furthermore, from the action plan Canada Post states, “We consult with residents early in the process to determine their preferences and attempt to address their questions and concerns regarding the conversion.” Again, not according to one resident who had to wait a few weeks just to receive back a ‘meaningless‘ email from Canada Post.
Just for laughs, “As every community is different and unique, we recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work.” That is completely true; every issue I have heard or read about pertaining to the Canada Post community mailboxes so far has been unique.
Stories, news, council meetings, the list can go on and on. I am sure there will be more concerns. Just the other day I read a buzz from Newmarket residents having similar issues with Canada Post as well.
So what is happening in Aurora?
At the last Aurora Town Council meeting dated May 11, 2015 Cllr Mrakas put a motion forward to endorse and support the City of Hamilton’s initiatives that address community concerns with regards to Canada Post’s ‘eliminationof home delivery and replacement with Community Mailboxes‘ and their concern with regards to meaningless communication with municipalities (residents especially). Cllr Terry Whitehead from the City of Hamilton presented at that meeting. Cllr Mrakas’ motion is also asking that Town of Aurora staff prepare a By-law for Council’s consideration. The By-law would require Canada Post to apply for a permit and pay a fee, to be defined, before any Community mailboxes are installed.
Well to be fair, I have to add a few more comments. I have not been affected by the change from home delivery to community mailboxes. I may have been affected by the cost of stamps, but in this whole scenario I have been just an outside observer.
In my opinion, elimination of door-to-door mail delivery causes two issues. First, internal issues with Canada Post employees. Who want’s to lose a job? Second, service issues with residents. Who want’s to lose door-to-door mail service? Right, no body. But it is happening. I call it a double-whammy change. If you have two sides, corporate culture and community members both opposing the change, chances are that the change process will become chaotic. I think the real root cause is the anger of people. It is unfortunate that cost cutting sometimes directly results in job cuts. It is also unfortunate that through the crown relationship, our own government is involved in those cuts.
So where does that leave us? Well, the lack of communication, even more, the lack of meaningful communication does not seem to be changing. Everything on paper from Canada Post sounds good, but the echo of it is totally different. Perhaps it may be too early but we can all start writing a letter to Santa Clause and ask for a bit more meaningful communication all around, it’s free and you’re guaranteed a response – if not from Santa then from Canada Post. And if that doesn’t work, we can always try addressing it to God and let’s hope he will write back something meaningful.
To conclude here is a very interesting post about Canada Post in numbers, Why You’ll Pay $1 a Stamp and Won’t Get Mail Delivered to Your Door in Urban Areas.
Anna Lozyk Romeo