So what horrible injustice finally got me back in front of a keyboard and fired up enough to let the world know how I feel? Was this injustice perpetrated by a greedy private corporation focused on putting profits before individuals, or a segment of society desperately clinging to a way of life or prejudices that have no place in today's world? While it may be easy to assume as much, sadly that is not the case.
For the last quarter of a century or so, I and millions of my fellow Canadians have been treated as second class citizens by Canada Post, a crown corporation that is owned by and exists to serve all Canadians. What was this "horrific treatment" we have been forced to endure?
Over 25 years ago Canada Post introduced the concept of "Super Mailboxes" or CMB's (Community Mailboxes) in newly developed urban neighbourhoods. The CMB's meant that new neighborhoods would not receive mail delivery right to their door, but rather they would have to go to their local Super Mailbox, generally located on the street within a block or two of their home (these things are all over the place usually right in front of some poor individuals property). In the big picture this process was conceived to cut delivery costs over the long term through increased efficiency, no more lone mailmen walking these areas providing personalized service to the residents. One "postie" in a delivery van could conceivably service hundreds of homes simply by delivering to these common mailboxes. With enough time and attrition (after all a Crown corporation does not like the term or concept of immediate downsizing) delivery costs would be slashed.
So far, so good, right? Nope!
So while all Canadians paid the same rates for postage, some letters and parcels made it right to their destination while others made it "pretty close", practically right down the street. This 2 tier system had further ramifications that impacted more than just millions of taxpayers, our family dog and many like him have never experienced the joy of chasing or nipping at a postman. Oh the humanity.....
Well the good news is that as of this week Canada Post has announced that starting in 2014 they will begin a five year process of phasing out home delivery and providing all Canadian residences with the same reduced service. Ahh isn't equality a wonderful thing?
So, sarcasm aside how do I really fell about this change. One word...Hallelujah!
The reality is that mail delivery has been declining substantially over the last decade with the increased use of email, social media, and electronic banking. In today's world, correspondence or payment by "snail mail" outside of the business sector is getting rarer with each passing day. So why the average individual needs daily delivery to his door is beyond me, maybe some need their daily fix of junk mail, who knows. None the less, it appears that "right to the door" residential delivery will go the way of the hula hoop or camera film over the next few years. Naturally, the postal union is outraged, after all they realize better than anyone that after a number of years of employment as a postie an individual is virtually unemployable in the real world. The good news for these individuals is that job reductions will occur through attrition not lay offs, so many will go straight to retirement and comfy pensions and never have to face the "horror" of private sector employment.
It would be great to be able to say that this decision was made by a Crown Corporation to ensure all Canadians were recieving equal treatment, but alas that was not the case. The driving force here was continued huge financial losses by a Crown Corporation ($125 million last quarter alone) that can not compete with their private industry counterparts who continuously show a profit. So, maybe the time has come for additional sectors of Canada Post to go the way of "to the door" home delivery and be phased out with time. More likely though, is Canada Post like most government entities will find a way to justify its continued existence even after it has no role to fill in a sector well serviced by private industry. By the way, on a last note in conjunction with announcing the reduction in service Canada Post also announced it would be increasing the postage on a standard letter from $0.63 to $1.00 in 2014.