Mayors in the Greater Montreal area are joining forces to push back against the planned cancellation of door-to-door mail delivery.
They hope to join a lawsuit already under way by the postal union.
“The way you deliver things is key, and don’t [try] to divide and conquer, because we’re sending a strong message today that we’re all together in it and we’ll do whatever we have to do to protect our citizens and their rights to have a service,” Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said.
Canada Post plans to end that service by 2018, instead delivering residential mail in urban areas to community mail boxes.
Coderre says the group wants to compel the Crown corporation to put a moratorium on its plan.
‘I’m a little tired of hearing that we have to get with the program and that social media has made Canada Post extinct.’
– Westmount Mayor Peter Trent
“We want to be full partners and work with all the people who want to work with us,” he said.
“If they don’t want to make it an [election issue]: moratorium. What is the problem to take a break for a few months?”
Citing a number of issues including safety, maintenance of community boxes and the power of municipalities, the mayors say the current plan is unacceptable.
The cities were working with Canada Post on a solution, Laval Mayor Marc Demers said, but the Crown corporation wasn’t following any of the advice given.
In March, Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said the public still has time to consult with customer service about any issues they have.
Demers said Canada Post is putting the blame back on the cities.
“One of the problems right now, when people phone them, [Canada Post] is saying, ‘It’s the city’s fault, because they’re not working with us,'” he said.
“Part of my frustration is that all problems could be solve with one phone call from any minister to Canada Post.”
Canada Post says it hasn’t shut local governments out of the discussions, and maintains the shift from home delivery is necessary given the changing times.
“We are currently working with over 90 municipalities across the country and in many cases, in the process of selecting the best location for community mailboxes within each neighbourhood,” spokeswoman Anick Losier said in a written statement.
“The fact that digital substitution is decimating traditional mail is undeniable and Canada Post has an obligation to preserve the postal service for all Canadians without being a burden on taxpayers.”
Lisa Raitt, the minister responsible for Canada Post, said in a statement that the Crown corporation was responsible for its own operations.
“Canada Post must balance its finances without being a burden on Canadian taxpayers, and that is what we expect them to do,” she said, adding that Canada Post delivered 1.4 billion fewer letters in 2014 than it did in 2006.
Westmount Mayor Peter Trent said Canada Post’s decision to stop home delivery was unilateral and arrogant. He said it’s simply not true that the current mail system has outlived its usefulness.
“I’m a little tired of hearing that we have to get with the program and that social media has made Canada Post extinct,” he said.
“No, there are a lot of people out there who depend on Canada Post, and they essentially are victims or architects of their own mismanagement.”
A committee convened by the City of Montreal to study issues surrounding the quality of life of Montrealers has pushed the city to fight back against community mailboxes.
If the plan were to go ahead in Montreal, the committee said Canada Post would need to install 15,000 superboxes to properly serve the population — or about 25 kilometres of boxes placed end-to-end.