Five Myths about Canada Post’s cuts to home mail delivery:
Canada Post plans to phase out urban home delivery within five years. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)
Half of Londoners already use community mailboxes. What’s the problem?’
About 19% of London’s mailing addresses (35,485 of 182,793, by Canada Post’s own figures) have community mailboxes (more accurately, self-serve mailboxes). Another 30% get apartment lobby delivery — safer and more secure than community mailboxes on the street. Just more than half the mailing addresses in London have door-to-door mail service, now threatened with cuts.
More importantly, existing community mailboxes were integrated as part of planned new subdivisions. What is proposed is different: imposing community mailboxes in neighbourhoods with established door-to-door service, where no public space is allocated for them.
This means they may be installed on municipal easements — sometimes in residents’ yards — with many negative impacts that existing community mailboxes don’t cause. Most of these impacts have yet to be studied by our city council.
Cuts to mail service are necessary in order to avoid burdening taxpayers.
Despite gloomy predictions, Canada Post has turned net profits in every year this century but one (2011, when it locked out employees). Our successful Crown corporation is not losing money. But the proposed cut in mail delivery service could bring massive downloads of costs (as yet undisclosed) to municipal budgets, potentially causing increased city taxes.
Canada Post has significantly engaged the community with its survey.
The Canada Post survey did not offer real choices about mail service, so not surprisingly, only about 16% of households surveyed bothered to respond. This is not the “meaningful consultation” that the Federation Canadian Municipalities calls a prior condition for changes in postal service.
Given a real choice, Londoners’ response rate opposing service cuts is much higher.
Seniors and people with disabilities will be accommodated by Canada Post.
The process offered by Canada Post requires significant disclosure of personal medical information, without guaranteeing what the accommodation might be or how long it would last.
Cuts to door-to-door mail service are a done deal that the city is powerless to oppose.
In this election year, the federal government knows postal service cuts will cost it votes, so Canada Post is hurrying to impose as many community mailboxes as it can, knowing other parties will not support these cuts as Harper’s Conservatives have.
More than 510 municipal councils across Canada have opposed these service cuts. London’s city council can, too. Now that proposed locations for community mailboxes are known (see http://londoners4door2door.blogspot.ca), we need town hall meetings where federal MPs, Canada Post chief executive Deepak Chopra and our mayor have to face communities that are affected by this loss of service, and account for their decisions.
David Heap and Jan Pennycook are members of Londoners for Door to Door.