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December 17, 2013

Rose Simpson: Canada Post! Off with your head!

Rose Simpson's column appears every Tuesday morning on the OttawaStart Blog. She also blogs at Rose's Cantina.

First Snow Storm of 2013
"First snow of 2013" photo by Zhu from the OttawaStart Flickr Group.

I did a piece of work a few weeks back for a client in Vancouver, and she immediately issued a cheque.
I got my payment eight days later.
It's what I've come to expect from Canada Post; anything that's mailed from the left coast takes more than a week to get here. It also takes four days to get a piece of mail from Toronto.
I don't use Canada Post anymore. I haven't bought a stamp in five years and I'm certainly not intending on buying one single sticky stamp in the future if I can help it, particularly when it costs a buck to mail a letter now.
If I need to do some print communications locally -- like income tax -- I usually get in the car and deliver the thing myself. I know how to get from Point A to Point B and I know how long it takes.
My bills are paid over the Internet. Even most of my clients pay by electronic transfer.
I don't think I'm alone here.
So the announcement last week that Canada Post was ending urban mail delivery came as no surprise to me. Why should we get our mail delivered to the door? It's just full of flyers anyway.
Canada Post loves door-to-door because the junk mail is how it makes its money nowadays. I get endless streams of flyers from pizza parlours, banks who want to sell me credit I don't need, and from Rogers cable begging me to come back.
Oh yes, and I also get those pricey Householders from our members of Parliament. I would pay Canada Post to stop delivering those.

Door-to-door delivery is inefficient and it's time it stopped.
I know, I know, there are seniors who prefer to get their mail at the door, who like to give cookies to the mail person. They also prefer not to use the Internet for banking and bill paying, perhaps because they don't trust electronic commerce, or perhaps because they just prefer the face-to-face contact. Ah ha! And there's the rub.
If a senior can get to the bank, a senior can get to a community post box. The walk will do them good.
As for others, the shut-ins, the disabled and people who don't have computers, there is always telephone banking and automatic withdrawal which can be easily set up at the bank. Why gripe when most companies and the government are already depositing payments already?
I'm not buying the argument from small businesses who say that ending door-to-door postal services will ruin their business. Why should I subsidize their businesses?
Canada Post has become a quaint "service" from another era.
They suck at their jobs and charge too much.
The labor costs too much.
Mail delivery isn't like health care. It has become one of those "nice to have" services we don't need anymore, like door-to-door knife sharpening and newspapers that land on the stoop.
I think we should get rid of Canada Post altogether and let the market decide how best to deliver things. Perhaps we could pay down the Canada Post deficit by selling that shiny building on Riverside Drive, the one that looks like a Ukrainian Church.
Canada Post is a sick puppy and it needs to be euthanized.

-- Rose Simpson

See also: Ottawa Services Guide
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  1. door-to-door service does seem antiquated and it must be expensive to have so many people involved in something that could easily be streamlined - automated. but i'd rather see it go down to delivery every second day - the way the city is picking up garbage only every second day.

    also there seems to be questions about how this decision came about: The Crown Corporation's CEO is on the board of the think-tank that suggested we cut door-to-door mail deliveries, eliminate thousands of our mailmen, but keep all of the senior management at Canada Post.

    So I'd just ask that this be looked into by someone completely non-partisan.

  2. "the way the city is picking up garbage only every second *week*.


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