Monday was supposed to mark the end of home delivery in Campbell River but many households are still receiving mail at their door as they await their community mailbox.
Letters sent by Canada Post in August to Campbell River homes said door-to-door delivery would cease Sept. 21 and residents could expect to have their mailbox keys mailed to them by Sept. 16.
Monica Judd, president of the Campbell River Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said those dates were inaccurate and that Canada Post knew that.
“Letter carriers were informed by Canada Post that letters they delivered stating that group mailbox keys would be delivered by Sept. 16 were inaccurate projections, but that the carriers were instructed to deliver these letters anyway,” Judd said.
While most homes have received their keys, according to Canada Post, and are using their new community mailboxes, many are still waiting for their box to be installed.
Judd said that, as of Tuesday afternoon, only 2,300 out of 8,700 points of call in Campbell River were ready to go.
As a consequence, postal workers on Monday were scrambling to get the mail out.
Because community mailboxes cut down on the amount of time it takes a letter carrier to finish a route, each route has been made significantly larger.
The new route sizes were in effect Monday and because some of the routes still required door-to-door delivery, it took nearly twice as much time to complete a route as it would normally.
“Some people worked a 12 to 13 hour day (Monday),” Judd said. “The division of work is not equal, so overload is a big concern. I’m not sure when they will start to make the adjustments, but it would have made more sense to delay the implementation until after the boxes were in and people had their keys.”
Jon Hamilton, a spokesperson with Canada Post, said most of the mailboxes are up and running and those that aren’t should be soon.
“The majority of the households have switched over and we’re adding more and more each day but we’d rather make sure the process is done right,” Hamilton said.
He added that some neighbourhoods are still waiting on their box for a variety of reasons, and that each box is tailored specially to that neighbourhood.
He said Canada Post has to ensure that the number of boxes on the mailbox lines up with the number of homes receiving mail, that the keys match up with the boxes, and in some cases, some people have certain specifications such as their box being a particular height from the ground.
“It’s not as simple as just sticking any box on there,” Hamilton said. “That box is very much built and dedicated to your neighbourhood, it’s a very precise job.”
This week, Canada Post sent a letter to those who are still waiting on their community mailbox promising that keys will be sent as soon as the box is installed.
The letter states that, “we will soon install the community mailbox that will serve you and your neighbours.” It goes on to say that “until then, we will continue to deliver your mail and parcels to your door.”
But door-to-door delivery is soon to be a thing of the past.
The corporation announced on Oct. 27, 2014 that it will end home delivery for all Canadians in order to save an estimated $500 million a year.
The move means that in Campbell River 13 full-time positions and one part-time position will be lost.
Judd said because of the collective agreement, those employees do have job security, however, there are provisions Canada Post can invoke to displace those carriers to other areas which Judd said the corporation plans to do in 2016. Over and above those positions, there are 14 temporary Canada Post employees in Campbell River who are not expected to get work once the full restructure is implemented, Judd said.
Canada Post has said it’s phasing out home delivery in an effort to save money as behaviours are shifting and Canadians are mailing fewer pieces of mail than in the past.
The corporation lost $125 million in 2013 but made a profit of $194 million in 2014. The corporation cited an increase in parcels shipped, higher stamp prices and reduced employee benefit costs for its financial success last year.