Community mailboxes still a go in Campbell River

Conversions of 460,000 addresses across the country will be put on hold

Canada Post’s plan to halt the replacement of door-to-door delivery with community mailboxes will not affect Campbell River – at least not for now.

Monica Judd, president of the Campbell River Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said there are about 1,000 addresses in Campbell River that still don’t have a community mailbox. Despite the new developments, Judd said those homes will still be losing door-to-door delivery.

“Canada Post is saying it’s business as usual and they’ll still be putting those boxes in,” Judd said. “We’re being told probably not until Christmastime because the contractor had to move to Sidney, near Victoria, which went live with the community mailboxes on Oct. 26.”

That same day, Canada Post announced it is “temporarily suspending future deployment of the program to convert door-to-door mail delivery to community mailboxes.”

Conversions of 460,000 addresses across the country, including those communities tagged for conversion in November and December of this year, will be put on hold.

Canada Post was quick to add, however, that those communities – including Campbell River – which have already made the switch will continue to use community mailboxes.

“In neighbourhoods where the 10-month internal and community conversion process is complete, customers will collect mail and parcels at their community mailbox,” reads a statement from Canada Post.

Still, Judd said the corporation’s announcement that it is suspending its community mailbox program is a huge victory for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

“We’re very, very happy about it, it’s a big win for us,” Judd said. “Some communities, unfortunately, like our own here in Campbell River, fell victim to (the conversion) but it is far from over, we look forward to working with our friends and allies for a full restoration in the future.

“We would like to thank the community of Campbell River who have supported us in this campaign,” she added.

Judd said the union hopes to participate in a review process of Canada Post promised by Prime Minister-Elect Justin Trudeau during the election campaign.

Judd said the union will be lobbying to have door-to-door mail delivery restored. She said the union has some ideas it would like to pitch to make post offices more viable, including offering postal and banking services under the same roof, particularly in smaller communities which don’t have banks, such as Cortes Island and Gold River. But, Judd added, Canada Post is still a profitable body, citing its $194 million profit in 2014.

Canada Post, on the other hand, has maintained its method of delivering mail door-to-door is not sustainable as the corporation reported a loss of $125 million in 2013 and a decrease of 1.2 billion pieces of mail sent in 2013 over 2006.

The corporation announced in 2013 its plan to implement community mailboxes as a cost saving measure, estimated to save Canada Post up to $500 million a year.

That plan involved installing roughly 270 mailboxes around Campbell River, putting an end to home mail delivery to 8,543 local households, beginning last month.