Thursday, February 12, 2015


Londoners are challenging the Canada Post steamroller threatening door-to-door postal service in our neighbourhoods. Some elected officials are starting to pay attention to community priorities, but more needs to be done, soon.
    Canada Post policy requires ‘meaningful consultation’ (yet to happen in London) before implementing changes in postal service. In newer subdivisions, where ‘super’ mailboxes have been used for some time, there is an established system for approval of sites. In contrast, the imposition of CMBs or ‘corporate’ mailboxes (they really have nothing to do with ‘community’) in neighbourhoods that currently enjoy home mail delivery can lead to many negative impacts as well as serious costs downloaded on our already strained municipal budget.
    The ‘survey’ Canada Post circulated last November in targeted neighbourhoods was so biased that
most recipients did not even bother responding. Out of 42433 addresses that received packages, the response rate was only 16%. This suggests that about fi ve out of every six addresses surveyed did not find the choices offered by Canada Post meaningful enough to be worth filling out. The package also relies on scaremongering about mail delivery becoming a potential ‘burden on taxpayers’, when in fact Canada Post returned a profi t to its owners (the Canadian people) in every year this century except for one (2011, when they locked out their employees).
In contrast, Londoners for Door-to-Door volunteers have been knocking on doors for weeks to talk about these issues and listen to our neighbours. We’ve been getting a more signifi cant response rate, so we know that the choice that most residents really want is to keep their door-to-door delivery. This basic choice was not even an option in the Canada Post ‘survey’.
    On Monday February 9, City Council passed a motion calling for further study of how other municipalities are dealing with the elimination of door-to-door, as well as for a public consultation process. These are initial steps in the right direction: kudos to Councillors Park and Ridley who listened to constituents and brought forward this motion. But much more needs to be done in order to protect our communities.
    Londoners deserve a meaningful say in issues like accessibility (has the City’s Accessibility Advisory Committee even been consulted?) and the safety of the elderly and people with disabilities, many of whom may be just one slip or fall away from serious injuries. London should learn from how other municipalities are facing this policy challenge.
    Hamilton’s city council has called for a halt to introducing new CMBs while they study the costs of approvals, estimated at over $500 per box. Medicine Hat came up with a similar fi gure of $500, yet Canada Post is offering London a ‘nominal’ $50 per approval. Brampton found that newly imposed CMBs generate litter that costs thousands of dollars to clean up, which Canada Post refuses to pay. Sarnia negotiated a contract with Canada Post protecting that city from litter and upkeep costs as well as from being sued for injuries at CMBs. These important issues are absent London’s report on CMBs.
    The City’s Protective Services Committee has not yet considered the real possibility of higher policing costs due to increased mail theft. CMBs have made Surrey B.C. Canada’s mail theft capital (think stolen parcels, cheques and identity fraud). Then there are likely reductions in property tax revenues due to lower home values where door-to-door delivery is eliminated: is London prepared for thousands of applications for municipal tax reassessments?
    These issues are too important to be settled behind closed doors in private talks with Canada Post. More than half the postal addresses in London are threatened with the loss of a valued public service, and we need a transparent process before changes are imposed. When will the City release the list of proposed new CMB locations?
    A Canada Post representative recently told Hamilton’s City Council they consider public consultation ‘a waste of time’. Conservative MPs seem to agree, and have not meaningfully engaged the public on this issue either. MPs Holder and Truppe seem to be ignoring their constituents on this issue. This is a federal election year, and Londoners who value door-to-door delivery are demanding real accountability. -
Wendy Goldsmith and David Heap, on behalf of Londoners for Door to Door


From Scene Magazine, February 12, 2015:

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