When Gerald Berard from the Kimberley local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers visited Kimberley City Council last week, he told them that the suspicion was that Kimberley would be one of the first communities to lose door to door mail delivery as Canada Post begins to implement cutbacks.
On Thursday, Canada Post announced the first cuts to service and Kimberley was not on the list nor was any British Columbia community.
Eleven communities will make the transition to community mailbox delivery beginning in the fall of 2014. They are some neighbourhoods in Calgary, Alta. (10,450 addresses); Fort McMurray, Alta. (8,450 addresses); some neighbourhoods in Winnipeg, Man. (12,500 addresses); Oakville, Ont. (26,400 addresses); in Ottawa, Ont., neighbourhoods in Kanata (7,900 addresses); Rosemère, Que. (3,350 addresses); Lorraine, Que. (2,550 addresses); Bois-des-Filion, Que. (2,750 addresses); Charlemagne, Que. (1,300 addresses); Repentigny, Que. (14,400 addresses) and in Halifax, N.S., neighbourhoods in the Lower Sackville and Bedford areas (9,950 addresses).
A Canada Post press release stated that these neighbourhoods were chosen because they all are near areas that already have community mailboxes.
Berard told Council last week that the CUPW feels that community mailboxes are vulnerable to break-ins which can lead to identity theft. Community mailbox sites can also be unsightly, with discarded flyers being tossed on the ground.
CUPW is also concerned with seniors and the disabled being unable to easily get to community mailboxes.
Canada Post leadership has acknowledged that seniors and the disabled may not be able to get to community mailboxes and it may need to offer additional solutions for people with significant mobility challenges, who lack viable alternatives and would face unacceptable hardship. “Canada Post will seek input from the various communities that best know the challenges facing people with mobility issues and deploy new solutions before the conversion occurs,” the statement says.
Canada Post is planning a five-year transition to community mailbox delivery, and the plan is that no regular full-time or part-time employees will lose their jobs. Instead attrition will allow for the reduction of between 6,000 and 8,000 positions. As retirements occur, fewer employees will be hired.