Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside sees mail delivery services temporarily return

People attend a protest against Canada Post after mail delivery was suspended last month to a two block area of the Downtown Eastside, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck. DD

Canada Post temporarily resumed mail deliveries to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside this week following protests against the suspension of postal services due to “health and safety concerns.”

On Tuesday, residents and advocates rallied at the intersection of Hastings and Main streets to protest Canada Post’s decision. Protesters said the hiatus endangers the health and safety of those who rely on the mail to receive pay cheques, financial aid and other important documents.

“The Downtown Eastside needs its mail,” said one advocate delivering a speech. “Canada Post has cut off mail to the people who need it most.”

Click to play video: 'DTES residents demonstrate against Canada Post’s refusal to deliver mail to some areas'
DTES residents demonstrate against Canada Post’s refusal to deliver mail to some areas

Mail deliveries had not been made on East Hastings between Carrall and Main streets since March 23. The Crown corporation announced the decision earlier in April, citing workers seeing drug use and being verbally assaulted.

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Postal workers resumed operations in the area on Tuesday and will continue to deliver mail until Friday, according to a Canada Post spokesperson. The spokesperson did not say whether services would continue beyond then.

During the disruption, affected residents were asked to pick up their mail at a Canada Post facility 14 blocks away. This has proven to be a challenge for residents who physically struggle to make such trips.

The office was open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday to Friday, but its opening hours will be extended to 6 p.m. going forward. A government ID has been required for residents to pick their mail up.

One of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, the Downtown Eastside continues to struggle with a variety of social issues including poverty, homelessness, and drug use. The sudden cancellation of mail delivery is the latest challenge the community has faced.

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