Canada Post issue is much bigger than door-to-door delivery

by W. Andrew Powell
Canada Post mailbox

The media seems to be stuck in a rut when it comes to the news announced today revealing that Canada Post service and pricing would be changing in 2014 and further into 2015. Nearly every major outlet I have seen today keeps talking about the fact that door-to-door delivery is going to cease to exist by 2015, and that is a big deal, but they’re missing the biggest issue, if you ask me. Also announced was the fact that, starting in March 2014, Canada Post is going to begin charging 85 cents for a stamp, if you buy them in bulk, and a whopping dollar, if you buy them singly.

Let me just put that into perspective for you. Right now, Canadians pay 63 cents to send a letter anywhere in Canada, and that is a fantastic deal. It’s frankly incredible that I can send anyone from Baffin Island, to St. John’s, to Prince Rupert a letter or card for less than the price of a chocolate bar.

However, I question how many letters people are going to send when stamp prices rise to 85 cents. In the grand scheme of things, that may still be a great deal, but it’s a drastic price increase for a stamp, and it will make a lot of people rethink their Christmas card lists, birth announcements, or whatever. Considering how easy it is to send an email, or even pick up the phone, that price may actually help further kill off Canada Post’s own services.

There’s no arguing with the numbers either. Canada Post has a tough job, and they were on track for what was reportedly a huge loss somewhere in the vicinity of $1 billion next year alone.

The problem is that I certainly don’t know what the answer is, but, like the CBC, I think it’s important that the Canadian government stand up and support this service to keep mail a viable option for the general public. Other services shouldn’t suffer, but I would stand behind the government if they kept pricing lower for postage. If cutting back door-to-door service is the best way to cut costs, but keep the mail service alive, I’m all for it, but I think the postage increase for 2014 is a ludicrous financial barrier that is going to do far more harm to Canada Post’s real job: connecting Canadians by more than just tenuous strings of digital bits.

Don’t get me wrong, I am an internet junkie, but I value real mail above the disposability of an email message, or anything like it. I also can’t imagine Christmas without getting Christmas cards from family across the country, but I won’t be alone in rethinking that long list of family when money is tight next December. In that perspective, it will make day-to-day mail seem expensive to lots of people too, and while things have changed in the last decade, I hope to never see the end of mail in my mailbox. Hopefully more people, media, and government officials will feel the same way and make this the concern before sending mail becomes too expensive for Canadians.

Photo courtesy of Canada Post.

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