Opinion Column


Impact on senior citizens and others will be significant 0

By Laila Yuile, The Duel

(QMI Agency file photo)

(QMI Agency file photo)


Columnists Laila Yuile and Brent Stafford battle over the issues of the day. The winner of last week’s duel on the proposed Reform Act was Laila with 60%.

This week’s topic:

Is it worth the cost to save home mail delivery in Canada?

An old adage says you can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats its most vulnerable members — children, the infirm or disabled, and seniors.

While news of Canada Post’s five-year plan to phase out home delivery in urban areas didn’t phase those who’ve forgotten how to communicate on paper, it was a stunning setback to the independence of many people across the country who rely on door-to-door delivery. It’s also a blow to what is a national institution in Canada.

Read Brent Stafford's column

The concept of home delivery is anything but nostalgic to many Canadians who rely on their carrier for not only mail delivery, but as a key indicator of their health and well-being. While Brent suspects and hopes the frail and vulnerable already have the support they need to accomplish this task, his position shows the disparity between perception and reality.

The impact of aging baby boomers on our national systems is a very real issue in this country. This is often referred to as the “senior tsunami.” For seniors, home delivery is not just a convenience, it is a vital link to the outside world. I spoke with Art Kube, president of the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of B.C. He said there are major issues he is concerned with. Safety is one of them. Seniors with home delivery might be faced with a walk of up to a kilometre to get their mail, leaving many open to falls or theft.

This issue was also raised by Paul Caune, executive director at Civil Rights Now, a not-for-profit organization that fights to ensure people with disabilites have equal protections and benefits of law in B.C. He said many people with disabilities cannot unlock postal boxes, or access community boxes without an accessible van for wheelchairs — a cost prohibitive to many.

While not a formal program in Canada, many carriers also take note when elderly or disabled residents haven’t been collecting the mail delivered to their home, and can notify authorities — something that wouldn’t occur with community mailboxes.

Let’s look past the impact of a loss of more than 5,000 incomes on local communities, to what the unintended consequences might be to lose home delivery across the country. The perception of savings now will likely cost all Canadians far more in the long run as our population ages.

Laila Yuile is an independent writer, blogger and political commentator. You can read her blog at lailayuile.com.







Who wins this week's duel on Canada Post home delivery?

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