Opinion Column

Canada Post needs to reduce home delivery

Daniel Fontaine

By Daniel Fontaine, Dialogue with a Difference



If you grew up living in a single-family home in a Canadian city, there was a regular sight you got excited about. The postal worker would make his way to your front door with a big pile of mail, and whether it was a letter from Aunt Martha or a postcard from a loved one travelling through Europe, being on the receiving end used to be something people looked forward to every day.

The reality today is tech-savvy Canadians are no longer enamoured with their postal service, nor do they rely upon it to operate their daily lives. Thanks to online banking, e-mail, scanners and texting, Canada Post and its costly, outdated service look ancient by comparison.

The reality is not all postal service has remained static during the last couple of decades. When I grew up in Edmonton, almost every homeowner had direct home delivery. Unless you lived in an apartment, your mail would either be delivered through a mail slot or inserted in a box outside your front door.

Today, door-to-door mail service in many rural or even less-populated urban areas is no longer an option. Canada Post abandoned the front-door policy in new subdivisions, instead favouring group mailboxes.

Meanwhile, in older neighbourhoods with big lots and leafy streets, unionized postal workers continue door-to-door delivery of what seems to be a dwindling amount of mail. It’s a luxury service that has me questioning if it remains worth the cost.

After all, would it really impact those getting home delivery if they received their mail only twice a week? I doubt it would make a whit of difference — except perhaps to the bottom line of Canada Post. Reducing home delivery means paying fewer postal workers and a more efficient operation.

At my home, we get so little mail these days that on average our postie only shows up three days a week to drop off a few bills and junk mail.

But don’t expect the public-sector unions and a majority of home-delivery recipients to let daily mail service go without a fight, even if the business case no longer exists to maintain this costly level of service.

As our cities either expand out or up, most of the residents occupying these homes can only dream of what door-to-door delivery would be like. However, it’s hard not to imagine that in the not-too-distant future snail mail, in whatever form it could be delivered, is something we’ll be left talking about in history class.

Daniel Fontaine is a local political commentator. Follow him on Twitter @Fontaine_D.





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