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Canada Communications Government The Almighty Buck

Canada Post Announces the End of Urban Home Delivery 226

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody-wants-junk-mail,-eh dept.
Lev13than writes "Canada Post is phasing out urban home delivery, raising the price of a letter to $1 and cutting 8,000 jobs to cope with dwindling volume and a projected loss of $1B/year by 2020. About 1/3 of Canadian homes currently get mail delivered to their door. Deliveries will remain weekdays-only and business will be unaffected (at least for now). Much like the USPS, Canada Post is mandated to be self-funded, but 5% annual volume declines and rising costs are taking their toll."
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Canada Post Announces the End of Urban Home Delivery

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  • Slightly misleading. (Score:5, Informative)

    by PhotoJim (813785) <jim@phFORTRANotojim.ca minus language> on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @06:08PM (#45664531) Homepage

    Buying stamps half a dozen at a time reduce first class rates to $0.85; businesses using postage meters will get $0.75. Not cheap, and still a big increase, but the $1 rate will be paid by a very small number of people too cheap to buy stamps six at a time.

    As for home delivery, it'll be sad to lose it but the alternative, the community mailbox a few doors down from most houses, will have one advantage: parcels will be loaded into it for you to pick up. Currently if you're not home you have to drive to the nearest sub-post office to get your parcels. This will be way more convenient.

    • by TWX (665546)

      As for home delivery, it'll be sad to lose it but the alternative, the community mailbox a few doors down from most houses, will have one advantage: parcels will be loaded into it for you to pick up. Currently if you're not home you have to drive to the nearest sub-post office to get your parcels. This will be way more convenient.

      I see a whole lot of mail returned to sender for being abandoned, or being discarded for being abandoned, in those communal mailboxes. I also see a lot of people only visiting th

      • by CreatureComfort (741652) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @06:31PM (#45664809)
        I'd rather they raise the rates on all the business class garbage I receive. 9/10 of everything I get local delivered is a sales pitch to "Current Resident".
        • by schnell (163007) <meNO@SPAMschnell.net> on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @09:44PM (#45666777) Homepage

          9/10 of everything I get local delivered is a sales pitch to "Current Resident".

          Exactly. Those guys, by sheer volume, are the ones paying enough money to keep the lights on at the post office. If they raise that rate too much, then advertisers will just find another, more cost-effective medium and the price of your Christmas card to grandma will go up to about $3, or maybe even more.

          As unfortunate as it is, that crapmail is what is subsidizing the rest of the traditional government-chartered snail mail industry. And sorting through all the crapmail is the price (no pun intended) we pay for sending letters for less than the $8-$12 FedEx will charge you for a letter-size envelope at their slowest delivery pace.

          • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:04PM (#45667243)

            If they raise that rate too much, then advertisers will just find another, more cost-effective medium and the price of your Christmas card to grandma will go up to about $3, or maybe even more.

            Sounds good! I sent, maybe, two paper letters last year. I would be delighted to eliminate all junk mail from my mailbox for only $6.

          • when I lived at an apartment complex that had a shared mailbox area, I ran into the mailman and asked him if there's a way I can refuse the junkmail or just have him toss all of mine into the nearest trash bin (there's one nearby, building mgmt knew we needed one). he said that he really can't because that stuff is what is keeping him employed.

            he would not even throw my junkmail into the trash on my request. I have to frequent the mailbox more often than I would, just to pull out and dispose of the junk.

            I

            • As a former carrier, I can tell you that carrier was acting as legally required. They're not allowed to throw away mail at all, even at the request of the resident. Doing so will get you fired and/or in handcuffs very quickly. A carrier can only set aside undeliverable bulk mail that a clerk will later throw out. And only standard rate mail without a "Or Current Resident" endorsement going to a resident who doesn't live at the address (or all bulk mail going to a vacant address that doesn't have 'forwar
          • As a former rural carrier, I can say that the 'bulk business mail' (not allowed to say junk mail when you work for the USPS) does make up a good portion of the volume. However, the volume of bulk mail is barely staying stable. A steep rise in cost may cause it to plummet like first class. What is really keeping the doors open at the USPS, especially after talking with some of my friends at the local post office is the insane increase of packages. Amazon has shifted a tremendous amount of package volume
      • by riverat1 (1048260)

        The USPS has some mandates from Congress about how they can raise rates and what they can charge.

      • by compro01 (777531) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @06:46PM (#45665009)

        What I don't get is why they just don't just raise the price of first-class mail. In the US, as a lower-volume mailer I'd be okay with spending a dollar to mail something, I end up mailing something about four times a year. It'd still be cheaper than using UPS or FedEx or the like...

        Because unlike in Canada where Canada Post control their own rates, postal rates in the USA are controlled by Congress, several members of which have interest in sabotaging the USPS.

        • by rahvin112 (446269) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @08:04PM (#45665885)

          Sabotage? No sabotage isn't postal rates, it's requiring that the USPS prefund 75 years of retirement pension in 10 years. That means in 10 years they have to fund the retirement for employees that haven't been born yet. That's sabotage. Refusing to raise stamp prices to pay for the prefunding requirement is just following through on the real sabotage.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            What's really interesting, however, is that the postal carrier's union was a strong proporent of that 75-year prefunding law.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by thegarbz (1787294)

              How is that interesting? Most union shops hold their employer to ransom to the point where it's almost uneconomical to run the business. You can see examples of this all the time like how the already best paid airline maintenance teams in Australia decided to go on strike because the Airline didn't agree to their exorbitant pay rise demands.

              It would be more interesting if a union agreed to some reasonable terms for a chance.

        • Because unlike in Canada where Canada Post control their own rates, postal rates in the USA are controlled by Congress, several members of which have interest in sabotaging the USPS.

          It seems this is not correct. The Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission set and oversee postal rates respectively [1]. Ultimately Congress can pass a law changing the structure, but that is no different than Parliament overruling Canada Post, so it appears that the distinctio

      • by hawguy (1600213)

        As for home delivery, it'll be sad to lose it but the alternative, the community mailbox a few doors down from most houses, will have one advantage: parcels will be loaded into it for you to pick up. Currently if you're not home you have to drive to the nearest sub-post office to get your parcels. This will be way more convenient.

        I see a whole lot of mail returned to sender for being abandoned, or being discarded for being abandoned, in those communal mailboxes. I also see a lot of people only visiting their mailboxes weekly, like how they take out their trash cans for the truck to pick up, so mailboxes will be even bigger targets for thieves as there'll be more payoff for the effort than before.

        I think the reason people only visit their mailbox weekly (or less) is because they get so little valuable mail so there's not much for theives to steal. The only bill I get in the mail these days is my property tax bill from the county (I wish they'd move to electronic delivery, it would save them money (which ultimately saves *me* money), but it can be looked up online by anyone that knows my address, so I'm not sure why someone would want to steal it. The rest of my bills get paid electornically or maile

      • by Xeno man (1614779)

        I see a whole lot of mail returned to sender for being abandoned, or being discarded for being abandoned, in those communal mailboxes. I also see a lot of people only visiting their mailboxes weekly, like how they take out their trash cans for the truck to pick up, so mailboxes will be even bigger targets for thieves as there'll be more payoff for the effort than before.

        I really have no idea where you get the abandoned mail thing from. My first house I had I only checked the mail once a month so I can pay my monthly bills. Unfortunately the previous owner gave to many charities and received lots of mail from them soliciting more funds. PETA, UNICEF, Child sponsorship, SPCA, Cancer society, March of Dimes, if you can think of it, he probably gave to them at some point. When my box was full, the mail man just crammed more junk mail in there. I swear he was probably punching

      • by AuMatar (183847)

        That happens anyway. I check my mail 3 or 4 times a year when the mailman mentions its overflowing. Its still rare that I get more than 2 pieces of actual mail on those occasions. Everything important is electronic these days.

      • by number17 (952777)

        I see a whole lot of mail returned to sender for being abandoned, or being discarded for being abandoned, in those communal mailboxes. I also see a lot of people only visiting their mailboxes weekly, like how they take out their trash cans for the truck to pick up, so mailboxes will be even bigger targets for thieves as there'll be more payoff for the effort than before.

        2/3 of Canada have been on the system for years. Any new developments in the past 10 have had this. None of the problems you mention are an issue.

      • I see a whole lot of mail returned to sender for being abandoned, or being discarded for being abandoned, in those communal mailboxes. I also see a lot of people only visiting their mailboxes weekly, like how they take out their trash cans for the truck to pick up, so mailboxes will be even bigger targets for thieves as there'll be more payoff for the effort than before.

        The once-weekly visits will be a very small minority. I lived with communal boxes for years (since the community was built in the late 80s). Almost every household visits daily, it's never more than half a block away. Oftentimes people coming from work stop their cars nearby, get the mail, then drive the rest of the short distance home. It really isn't that big a deal.

        I don't know how long it takes to be considered abandoned, but I've left stuff in mine for a week while I was away, it was all there when I

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      Well, the title, Canada Post moves to end-of-street mailboxes to increase efficiency doesn't exactly meet with the media's goal of fear and panic.

      Tune in at 10pm to see what household object you own could be killing your children.

    • On the other hand... they're still raising their prices and offering less service for it.

      It's already cheaper to send most packages either UPS or Purolator ground ship. Canada Post wins out on actual letters or post cards, but for how much longer? Hardly surprising though... I can't remember the last time I got anything in the mail except for the insurance renewal and my investment statements... everything else is electronic or delivered by courier these days.

      • Interesting. In the US the post office is more economical than UPS. In fact a lot of the time UPS drops off packages at the post office for last mile handling. I'm starting to get Sunday delivery of packages from Amazon now, routed through the post office.

      • by compro01 (777531)

        I'm sure Canada Post is just fine with you using Purolator rather than parcel post, given that they own Purolator.

      • by Guspaz (556486)

        It's already cheaper to send most packages either UPS or Purolator ground ship.

        Hidden irony: Canada Post owns Purolator.

    • by davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @06:38PM (#45664933) Homepage Journal
      They don't at our cottage, where this is already in place. Instead, the boxes are about half as big as necessary, and the driver sticks a card in the box. You get to drive in to town to pick them up at the post office.
    • by nblender (741424) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @07:08PM (#45665275)

      wrong. I've had one of these community mailboxes for years. I don't mind going across the street to get my mail. What I mind is my parcels don't get deposited in the box because there are only 2 parcel boxes per community mailbox. The 'sub post office' you mention is a drug store 8km from my house. The post office depot is in the back corner of the drug store, kitty corner to the doors. The aisles are all set up so you have to zig-zag through the store past all sorts of impulse-buy type merchandise and finally past the perfume counter staffed by sales people who are eager to spray a fragrance into the air as you walk through it. Then you have to stand in line with a dozen or so other disgruntled citizens who are there to pickup their parcel as well. The parcels are stored in the back room and the haggard worker (singular, one only) has to do a linear search for each parcel. Picking up my parcels is like lining up for meat in cold-war era east-germany.

      The other minor issue that I have is the CP worker doesn't come to the door with parcels that need to be signed for; even though they are supposed to. They just fill out a card and leave it in my mailbox. On occasions where I know my wife was home and home all day, I would check my ZoneMinder setup and see the postal truck pull up at the box across the street, and then pull away, with no attempt to even come to the door. When I get home, there's a notice in the box that says "Attempted delivery failure - No answer" and it means I have to line-up for bread again.

      I wonder why CP is losing money?

      • by Cruciform (42896)

        My canada post delivery guy in Toronto was stealing the games being sent to me for review. But since he marked them as "delivered" (eg. dropped on the doorstep) they told me it wasn't their fault.
        Except I worked right by the front door, and kept it open in the summer for fresh air. If the guy had even set foot in the driveway I would have heard his footsteps on the gravel, and if he came to the doorstep I'd have been looking right at him.

      • kitty corner

        Actually, the word is "catercorner". Amusing that both Canadians and US Southerners have picked up on the "cat" aspect of the word - down here it's usually referred to as "catty-corner".

      • by number17 (952777)

        The post office depot is in the back corner of the drug store

        This is privatization at work.

        The other minor issue that I have is the CP worker doesn't come to the door with parcels that need to be signed for

        Purolator and UPS play the same game. Time is money and they don't want to pay it.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        What I mind is my parcels don't get deposited in the box because there are only 2 parcel boxes per community mailbox.

        Yeah, bummer.

        But even with home delivery, they aren't supposed to leave them on your front step, and they didn't fit in the mailbox (which didn't even lock) stapled to your front porch either. So how is this 'worse'?

        Now, things will vary dependng where you are, but my post office worker may leave me a key to one of the community boxes, or they may just bring parcels over to the door, knock an

    • the community mailbox a few doors down from most houses, will have one advantage: parcels will be loaded into it for you to pick up.

      If the item fits in the box, sure. If it is larger than a loaf of bread, well, you're driving.

    • Not cheap

      Au contraire.

      Boggles my mind that I can put a few pieces of paper in an envelope, put that envelope in a box half-a-block from my house, and then a few days later it will be pushed through a slot in someone else's house 4000 km away - All this for under a buck.

      Seems ridiculously cheap to me.

    • I would PAY to get the US post office to stop delivering mail. I tried taping up the mail slot and they just dumped all the junk mail in my driveway. The postal service has been sucking the junk mailers balls for so long and now their upset they have jizz in their hair?

  • Especially people who are disabled or elderly and are very well accustomed to having mail delivered right to their door...

    So any mail they get through normal post will just sit and accumulate in their box... essentially turning these community boxes into a litter farm.

    • by Russ1642 (1087959)

      Oh please. There are already tons of places in Canada doing it this way. The walk to the end of the street to the mailbox isn't going to have that kind of impact.

      • by number17 (952777)
        This is simply an attack on the obese. I will not stand for it!! You hear me, I will not stand!
    • That's pretty much the way it is for my Dad's community box. Just fliers and junk mail littering the ground. Most people in rural areas have done with out house to house deliver for years here in Nova Scotia. I don't really care one way or the other, I get all my bills online now and pretty much just get junk and christmas cards in my mail box, so nothing that would need immediate attention.
      • by Russ1642 (1087959)

        That's a good thing in my opinion. Leaving the piles of junk mail at the mailbox as a form of protest will pick up with this system. People will dump it in the outgoing mail or on the ground. Either way it will start costing Canada Post money and then maybe they'll reconsider their position on running that kind of ridiculous business.

      • by dk20 (914954)
        I live in a newer subdivision (around 10 years old) and have never had "door to door delivery" as it has always been delivered to a "superbox". I sure wish they would put a garbage can there so i don't need to bring the junk home to get rid of it.
  • by gumpish (682245) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @06:17PM (#45664651) Journal

    Canada Post is phasing out urban home delivery

    Well, delivering homes sounds awfully resource intensive and is probably a departure from their charter to deliver mail.

  • One year the USPS went before Congress to explain why a postage increase was necessary. Two weeks after it was approved the heads split several million dollars worth of bonuses. Wonder how much they're getting this year.
    • by dryeo (100693)

      This is the new Canada. When the postal workers negotiated a cost of living raise (using rotating strikes, eg taking one day off a week) the government legislated a pay drop and took the profits and spent it on pro tar, I mean oil ads. Every time you see an ad for the keystone pipeline, it's us Canadian tax payers paying as the oil industry is so poor from all the bonuses they have to give to management that they can't afford much else.
      The official position of our government is that all resources have to be

  • They heard about Amazon's autonomous drone delivery and thought they'd quit while they were ahead.

  • It's really easy to imagine just going to a community box if you are an able bodied person with a vehicle but if you're elderly or otherwise have mobility issues ... well let's just say with the lengthy winters and poor snow clearing I foresee two outcomes:

    -People not picking up mail for months at a time
    -Old people breakin' hips

    Ugh...

  • ePost (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lazarus (2879) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @06:32PM (#45664821) Journal

    Canada Post already has something called ePost [epost.ca], which makes most regular postal mail obsolete now. It sounds to me like they're helping to put traditional postal mail out of business anyway.

    I'd like to have no mailbox altogether. The notion that I have a "postal" address (which everybody wants for some reason) that a human being drives a car to so they can fill it with unwanted matter printed on processed dead trees is completely ridiculous. Give me ePost for bills and a local post office for packages and I'm good.

    What's your address? 127.0.0.1. Same as yours.

  • On-line ordering depends on cheap physical-world delivery, and this will drive them out of business.

    If they cut off mail, we'll either be reduced to post-boxes or parcel delivery. Boxes don't work for parcels, even in apartment buildings, where they used heavily. Parcel delivery has the same problem with boxes: everyone ends up getting a postcard and schlepping off to the local pickup point because the darned boxes aren't big enough to hold the parcel. And big boxes are unaffordable!

    Parcel delivery, on

    • by compro01 (777531) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @07:06PM (#45665253)

      Boxes don't work for parcels, even in apartment buildings, where they used heavily. Parcel delivery has the same problem with boxes: everyone ends up getting a postcard and schlepping off to the local pickup point because the darned boxes aren't big enough to hold the parcel. And big boxes are unaffordable!

      Canada Post thought of that years ago. The community mailboxes have sizable parcel compartments (usually two, one "C" size (13.5x30.5x35cm) and one "D" size (30.5x30.5x35cm) for every 18 normal "B" size (13.5x12.5x35cm) mailboxes) built into them. If you have a parcel, they stick it in the parcel compartment and put the key for it in your own mailbox.

    • by Dzimas (547818)
      Actually, no. The Canada Post community mailboxes have a handful of large compartments in several sizes that are used for package delivery -- the postal worker simply puts the key in your mailbox and you use it to unlock the compartment and then just drop the key into the mail slot afterward. The end result is that if I'm not home, the package from Amazon.ca that I'm expecting is available for immediate pickup from a secure and dry place.
      • by dryeo (100693)

        Luckily I have box #1 so it's my package that is in a secure and dry place. Actually I guess yours is also dry and safe at the drug store 15 miles down the road.

    • Parcel guys have to solve the "travelling salesman problem" in their head

      I don't know about Canada Post or USPS, but UPS has computers to do that routing [ups.com].

  • Do you guys hear that? That is the sound of Canadians not flipping out and loosing their shit and calling for the end of times due to reduced service.

    It's quite a pleasant sound up here in Canada, unlike the noise Americans made a short while back.
    • Do you guys hear that? That is the sound of Canadians not flipping out and loosing their shit and calling for the end of times due to reduced service.

      It's quite a pleasant sound up here in Canada, unlike the noise Americans made a short while back.

      Yeah, not to mention other earth-shattering changes like getting rid of the penny, changing from paper to plastic bills, going mostly chip-and-pin for credit cards... all in the last 5 years.

      Sure there've been hiccups along the way, but it's unbelievable how resistant Americans are to changes in "the way things are" when it's suggested by government, as if it's some socialist/communist plot or something. There was even bitching about adding colour (barely) to paper currency.

  • by drwho (4190) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @07:08PM (#45665291) Homepage Journal

    ...is not a country.

  • Hopefully higher costs -> less spam.
  • In marketing, there are well-known positioning areas:

    • "more (goods/services) for more (money)" -- i.e. a premium service
    • "more for the same" and "more for less"
    • "the same for less"
    • "less for (a lot) less

    Non-starters are "the same for the same" and "the same for more", because these give customers no added value to their existing service. However, Canada Post has gone even farther by proposing "less for more", which can only work when there are no other options available. By offering less service, and charging

  • Why is the government delivering our mail anyway. That kind of work is much more efficient in the private sector.

    Here's an interesting clip [youtu.be] on the subject.

    BRENNAN v. U. S. POSTAL SERVICE , 439 U.S. 1345 (1978) [findlaw.com]

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Why is the government delivering our mail anyway. That kind of work is much more efficient in the private sector.

      Because you want to pay $3 to deliver a letter, just wait until they figure out they can charge you a $0.50 receiving fee at the same time.

  • by geekd (14774) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @09:28PM (#45666671) Homepage

    "About 1/3 of Canadian homes currently get mail delivered to their door" WHAT?

    I'm an American, and I have always lived in a city or the suburbs. I guess I take to-my-door mail delivery as a basic human right. I thought all first world countries had this.

    Wow. my mind is blown.

    • by rueger (210566)
      As a Canadian I'm seriously embarrassed. A few years ago I lived in the US and was astonished that USPS was fast, reliable, and that people actually trusted it to deliver on-time. And even had Saturday delivery.

      Canada Post has been under attack for a couple of (post Thatcher era) decades - part of the overall belief that government shouldn't actually supply essential services. It's now reached the point where postal mail is the last thing you think of when something has to be delivered.

      Call me an o
    • by dk20 (914954)
      I'm Canadian and have lived in the US for years you are misreading/exaggerating things.

      The difference is newer subdivisions (actually probably 15 years old) have "superboxes" where Canada post deliver the mail to. The other difference is we only get mail Monday-Friday.

      If you haven't seen one they look like this: http://www.straight.com/files/styles/blog_main/public/shutterstock_153195602.jpg [straight.com]

      You get a key to one of the slots. If they have parcels they put a key in your box to open one of the lar
    • by russotto (537200)

      A lot of US suburbs have community mailboxes, and many areas have mailboxes on the street (as opposed to through-the-door delivery). When I lived in a community mailbox area, the mail carrier would bring packages or mail that didn't fit into the box to the door; if I had to go to the post office (their slogan: "when you have the time, we're closed") every time that happened, it would suck.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:43PM (#45667477)

    Not sure why people blindly accept government "trade-offs" like this like well-trained sheep.

    On the one hand, we have a large number of able-bodied, sometimes well-educated people unable to find work, and often receiving government checks (for unemployment, etc.) On the other hand, we are announcing that we don't have the manpower to walk packages to doors.

    Why can't we say something like, "OK, so you're unemployed, but you're also a high school graduate who can walk at least three miles a day. If you want a check, food stamps, health care, whatever, could you please get off your ass for two hours a day and deliver mail to everyone on these six blocks?"

  • Having lived in Germany, the US and now Canada I can say with conviction that the postal service here is rock bottom. May as well close it for good.

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. -- Confucius

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