It’s been largely an uphill battle for Canada Post as the Crown corporation has stopped door-to-door delivery in some parts of Canada and set up large community mailboxes in lieu.
The plan was to phase out almost all door-to-door service by 2019, but the transition has not exactly gone smoothly.
Here is a look at the history of Canada Post’s community mailboxes.
December 11, 2013 — Canada Post announces plans to phase out urban door-to-door delivery
Citing rising costs and falling mail volumes, Canada Post announces that delivery to the one-third of Canadians who receive mail at their doors will be replaced by community mailboxes. The changeover was slated to begin in the summer of 2014, with full implementation by 2019.
At the time both the NDP and Liberals cry foul, with then-NDP MP Olivia Chow saying the move will isolate seniors and those with disabilities. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said the decision was made without proper consultation with the public.
Along with the change came news of the elimination of between 6,000 and 8,000 positions, many of which would be through attrition. Canada Post also announces the cost of stamps will rise.
The announcement came on the heels of major revenue loss reports and the changes were expected to put the corporation back on fiscal track by 2019.
February 20, 2014 — Locations of first new community mailboxes announced
Canada Post announces the 11 neighbourhoods and the roughly 100,000 addressed that would be part of the first phase of new community mailboxes.
Neighbourhoods in Calgary, Fort McMurray, Alta., Winnipeg, Oakville, Ont., Ottawa, the Quebec communities of Rosemere, Lorraine, Bois-des-Fillion, Charlemagne and Repentigny, and Halifax are affected.
Canada Post said the communities were selected due to areas nearby already using community mailboxes, with the infrastructure already in place.
August 14, 2014 — Canada Post says those with medical note can can keep home delivery
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Canada Post says they will require medical information from people who are unable to collect their mail at a community mailbox and still need home delivery.
A questionnaire was mailed out, with those needing home delivery for medical reasons required to submit a doctor’s note and their medical history.
October 2014 — Phase one of community mailboxes implemented
Canada Post ends door-to-door delivery to about 100,000 households.
“We tend to work our way in from the suburbs toward the urban cores,” Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton said at the time.
“We need to make changes to ensure we can maintain postal service.”
Spring 2015 — Communities fight back over community mailbox locations
With complaints of increased traffic and litter surrounding community mailboxes, frustrated residents prompt Canada Post to change the location of more than 700 new boxes.
One resident of Dorval, Que., erected signs and a barrier to protest a community mailbox being placed in front of his house; a man in Hamilton, Ont., sat at one proposed site for weeks to prevent workers from installing a new community mailbox.
May 2015 — City of Hamilton, Ont., takes Canada Post to court
All eyes are on southern Ontario as Hamilton takes Canada Post to court over the placement of community mailboxes.
The city claimed local regulations were not being respected; the Crown corporation fired back that under the federal Canada Post Act, it has the exclusive jurisdiction over postal services and the legal authority to install community mailboxes on municipally-owned property.
The court eventually rules in Canada Post’s favour, with a judge finding that the local bylaw does not apply to the Crown corporation.
October 26, 2015 — Canada Post suspends the community mailbox program
Canada Post announces a temporary halt to its conversion of door-to-door service to community mailboxes. The news comes one week after the federal election of the Trudeau Liberals, who pledged to scrap the move from door-to-door delivery.
“We will work collaboratively with the Government of Canada to determine the best path forward given the ongoing challenges faced by the Canadian postal system,” read the official statement from Canada Post.
The sudden move halts the conversion of roughly 460,000 addresses already in the process of the changeover. Those residents can expect to soon receive a letter regarding the status of their mail delivery service.
“In neighbourhoods where the 10-month internal and community conversion process is complete, customers will collect mail and parcels at their community mailbox. This includes customers set to begin receiving their mail and parcels in their boxes in October.”
“We remain focused on maintaining reliable postal service to all Canadians without disruption.”
With files from Amy Judd, Jamie Sturgeon, The Canadian Press