December 8, 2018 8:30 am

Canada Post backlog hurting charities waiting on ‘critical’ holiday donations

Here are 3 other mailing service options during the Canada Post strike

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Canadian charities are calling on Canada Post to expedite deliveries, saying delays are causing trouble for their holiday plans.

Imagine Canada, an umbrella company that encompasses the country’s charities and nonprofit organizations, explained that the holiday season is “critical” for organizations trying to help those in need.

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“Charities, and the communities they serve, count on reliable postal services for reaching donors and receiving contributions,” the organization’s CEO, Bruce MacDonald, said in a press release.

He noted that any delays to postal services in this “crucial time of year” can hurt vulnerable individuals and families.

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Imagine Canada explained that charities receive a bulk of their donations in the final three months of the year, and particularly in December. Many Canadians use mail services for these donations.

The statement was echoed by the CEO of SickKids Foundation, who said the charity risks missing out on getting key donations on time.

“This month is the most critical, by far, in terms of generating revenue for the hospital and we typically receive close to $2 million via mailed donations during December alone,” Ted Garrard said.

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MacDonald explained to Global News that 60 per cent of Canadian adults donate to charities in the final six to eight weeks of the year, amounting to about $5 billion.

“It’s a fairly substantive amount of money that charities have come to rely on,” he said.

He explained some charities are already noticing the “softness” in funds, while others are expecting it to set in soon.

Imagine Canada’s plea comes days after Canada Post informed customers that holiday deliveries will be delayed this year due to its rotating strikes and Black Friday and Cyber Monday backlogs.

In a statement on its website, Canada Post explained that it is dealing with “unprecedented backlogs” and has indefinitely suspended its standard two-to-three-day delivery guarantee.

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“Deliveries will continue but be delayed during the peak holiday season and into January 2019,” the website says on parcels.

International parcels will be even more delayed, with backlogs not expected to be cleared until March 2019.

It adds that letter backlogs should be cleared by Christmas.

Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton explained to Global News that special holiday plans are in place, with seasonal workers, some staff working overtime and 2,000 additional delivery trucks.

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“Backlog is very uneven across the country,” he said. “Canadians can expect delays and unpredictability.”

Hamilton said that Canada Post tried to end the labour dispute earlier because it was aware of the impact it would have during the holiday season both on businesses and charities.

“We understand that delays cause potential impact. We’re going to do everything possible to deliver that mail,” he said.

“We encourage everyone who gives through the mail every year to the charity of their choice to continue to do so. We will deliver it, we will get stuff out. It may be a little delayed or later than usual, but those charities are counting on that money.”

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The spokesperson noted that Canadians can also consult charities on other ways of giving if they want their donations received by Christmas.

“Most charities have an online option. We will deliver anything they donate through the mail. But if they’re wanting to get something there sooner in terms of donation, look to the charity and see what options are available.”

MacDonald said that is the advice many charities are giving Canadians as well — to go digital this year — but it’s complicated.

“Seventy-four per cent of all receipted donations now come from people who are 50 years of age and over and in fact 30 per cent come from people who are 70 and over. This is a group that feels most comfortable with mailing in their contribution.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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