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Canada ditches door-to-door mail delivery in cities

Posting in Cities

It's a question that's probably as old as email itself: Will electronic communications eventually lead to the demise of the post office?

Canada has an answer to that question: yes.

Canada Post, the country's government-run and primary postal service, made a major announcement yesterday that it plans to end door-to-door mail service throughout Canada's urban areas.

"With the increasing use of digital communication and the historic decline of Lettermail volumes, Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses," according to a press release. "If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers."

Over the next five years, one-third of Canadian households will begin receiving their mail through a community mailbox instead of at their door (the rest already receive their mail this way).

The end of door-to-door mail service will do the most to ease a projected financial loss of one billion Canadian dollars by 2020. The plan also calls for Canada Post to raise the price of stamps and open up more retail stores. But the balancing of the books will come at the expense of 6,000 to 8,000 postal workers -- though Canada Post estimates that 15,000 will retire or leave the company during the next five years.

But many don't see the plan as an innovative approach to a vital service. As The Globe and Mail put it, "Worse service, higher prices. Most businesses would go bankrupt with that sales pitch." 

Still, it will be interesting to see if the changes made in Canada spur changes in public postal services in other countries. 

Photo: Flickr/Micheal J

Photo: Micheal Jones

— By on December 12, 2013, 2:18 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure