Published on February 14th, 2014 | by Sima Sahar Zerehi


Canada Post cuts mean the end of door-to-door mail delivery

Letter carriers say losing door-to-door mail delivery will mean losing the eyes and ears in neighbourhoods.

“A few times I came across break and enters in progress in private homes,” says Tony Rogers, a letter carrier for more than 30 years and the president of the Nova Scotia local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

He remembers pounding on the door to scare off a thief who ran out the back door.

With the help of the neighbours, police were called and the thief was caught.

Rogers recounts another incident on Beaufort Street in the south end of Halifax where he spotted a tradesman’s van being robbed.

“Two guys had broken the window and were lugging out tools, I called the police and all the tools were retrieved.”

Postal workers, including Melanie Mackenzie, right, gathered at the Canada Post processing plant in Halifax for the “Save Daily Door to Door Delivery” rally. (Photo by Sima Sahar Zerehi)

Postal workers, including Melanie Mackenzie, right, gathered at the Canada Post processing plant in Halifax for the “Save Daily Door to Door Delivery” rally. (Photo by Sima Sahar Zerehi)

Rogers has many stories such as these. He talks of finding neighbourhood dogs that had escaped or helping stranded kids locked out of their homes.

In mid-December, just before the House of Commons closed for the winter recess, the federal government announced cuts to Canada Post including the elimination of door-to-door mail delivery starting this spring.

Within the next five years the local mail delivery person may become a relic of the past.

Rogers says cutting letter carriers is a mistake. “We’re another set of eyes, another presence in the neighbourhood.”

He tells stories of other letter carriers who intervened in situations that helped save a life.

Like the time a letter carrier in Dartmouth noticed that an elderly person hadn’t picked up their mail or left footprints in the snow.

The senior, it turned out, was inside with a broken a hip.

Melanie Mackenzie, who has been a letter carrier for three years, calls it her dream job.

“I romanticized it when I was a kid that there was someone in your neighborhood that knew you, and you trusted them, because they wore the uniform,” says Mackenzie.

Mackenzie says being on the streets daily allows her to get to know the routines of the people she serves.

She says she keeps an eye out for kids who have parents who are at work, the elderly who live alone, or on houses that have occupants on vacation.

“We’re the eyes on the streets,” adds Mark Moffat, who’s been a Halifax letter carrier for the past five years.

“We know what’s going on in the neighbourhoods.”

He says many people on his routes are seniors who rely on him for human contact.

“There are people who watch for me, they expect me to be there with their mail on time,” he adds. “I’m the only person that they see every day.”

Bill VanGorder, president of the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, says seniors count on the relationships they have with letter carriers, in addition to needing door-to-door mail delivery as a service.

VanGorder says Canada Post rushed to make the decision to cut services without giving groups like CARP an opportunity to provide their input.

Sherry Costa, the executive director of Independent Living Nova Scotia says in the province, 22 per cent of the population has a disability and that number is growing as more people age.

Canada Post will be replacing door-to-door delivery with centralized community mailboxes where people can retrieve their mail.

These will be similar to existing super mailboxes often placed in outdoor locations serving a block of homes.

Costa says community mailboxes will not meet the needs of people with disabilities and will prevent many from being able to live independently.

“I can’t imagine someone who has mobility issues, who’s trying to climb over a snow bank to get their mail.”

Spokesperson Phil Legault says Canada Post consulted with many communities and plans to have further discussions with the affected neighbourhoods once that list is made available.

Communities will be consulted as the cuts to their service take effect.

But at a town hall meeting in Dartmouth late last month, Robert Chisholm, the NDP MP for Dartmouth/Cole Harbour, said the opportunity for consultation was deliberately taken away from Canadians.

Michael Keefe, vice president of the Nova Scotia local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, says without the opportunity for discussions people are left in the dark about the safety risks associated with replacing door-to-door delivery with community mailboxes.




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is a professor, journalist, new media buff, photographer in training, Unifor member & immigration/labour/human rights activist who really wants to be an artist.

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