Canada Post suspends delivery in Downtown Eastside due to ‘health and safety’ concerns

Click to play video: 'Canada Post halts delivery to some Downtown East Side businesses'
Canada Post halts delivery to some Downtown East Side businesses
Citing safety concerns, Canada Post has stopped delivering mail to businesses along a two-block stretch of East Hastings Street, with those items being diverted to a depot 15 blocks away. Rumina Daya reports – Apr 12, 2022

Canada Post has temporarily suspended mail delivery to two blocks of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside due to “health and safety concerns” expressed by its employees.

The Crown corporation has not provided that service in the 0 and 100 blocks of East Hastings Street since March 23, it confirmed by email.

“We are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible and find a long-term solution that will ensure the well-being of our employees,” wrote Valérie Chartrand, Canada Post spokesperson.

“Affected customers have been contacted to inform them of the temporary delivery interruption.”

The 0 and 100 blocks of East Hastings Street encompass everything between Carrall and Main streets. In its email, Canada Post did not reveal the nature of the health and safety concerns its employees had expressed.

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“It is our responsibility to ensure that our employees, who visit hundreds of addresses every day, can deliver mail and parcels safely,” wrote Chartrand.

“When there is a situation at a delivery location that is unsafe for our employees, we work with the customer or property management to resolve the issue and resume regular service as soon as possible.”

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Affected customers, she added, are able to pick up their mail at the Canada Post facility at 333 Woodland Drive, and must provide government-issued identification.

Click to play video: 'Three Canada Post trucks damaged after fire in East Van depot'
Three Canada Post trucks damaged after fire in East Van depot

Bianca Barr, a resident of the neighbourhood, said she first heard through her building that the mail had stopped and thought it was “unfair and kind of crazy.”

“Can they even do that? Stop our mail? I thought it was an essential service,” she told Global News. “I’ve never lived anywhere else where I didn’t get my mail.”

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While Barr said she appreciates there may be “incidents” including verbal assaults and encounters with drug use, other essential services, including public transportation, continue in the area. FedEx, Amazon and UberEats also deliver to the Downtown Eastside, she added.

“The whole neighbourhood needs help. If you think the mail’s not being delivered here, what else might not happen?”

Tannis Kirstuk, who works at the Community Thrift and Vintage non-profit on Carrall Street, said the shop got a “random phone call” from Canada Post informing them of the service change. She was shocked, she added, to learn that “such a busy area of Vancouver” wouldn’t get mail delivery for an undetermined period of time.

“It’s not that I don’t understand there can be some (discomfort) in this part of the neighbourhood,” said Kirstuk.

“If they were going to create some different system, fine, but making it impossible for the community members affected to get there when they’re working nine to five or any other hours … to take more away that everybody else is getting seems so unfair.”

The new mail pickup location on Woodland Drive is more than two kilometres away from the impacted service area, she said, and its hours are listed online as 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Canada Post has not provide a date for the resumption of delivery to the neighbourhood.

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