December 11, 2013 - 2:11 PM
OTTAWA - Canada Post is saying goodbye to the door-to-door postman.
The national mail service says rising costs and falling mail volumes have made it impossible to continue its traditional operations.
The federal Crown corporation plans to phase out home delivery within the next five years, replacing foot delivery with community mail boxes.
Canada Post says says about 6,000 to 8,000 positions will be eliminated over the same time period, mainly through attrition.
The postal service expects nearly 15,000 employees to retire or leave the company in the next five years.
About a third of Canadian homes still receive mail to their door, it said.
The announcement comes in the midst of the busiest time of year for postal outets, which handle a dramatic rise in both letters and packages for the Christmas holiday.
But the company says its business model is unsustainable.
"Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses," it said in the announcement.
"If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers."
Last month, Canada Post announced that it would ask Ottawa for financial relief next year to help support a restructuring of its business model and pension plan framework to assure long-term financial sustainability.
"The company will continue to bring the cost of labour in line with its competitors through attrition and collective bargaining over time," it added on Wednesday.
The postal service has faced intense competition from couriers, as well as technology that has led to a growing popularity of consumers paying their bills and communicating online.
In the third quarter, Canada Post reported an improved, but still big, pre-tax loss of $109 million for the period ended Sept. 28. The pre-tax loss in the comparable period a year ago was $145 million.
RAITT DEFENDS CANADA POST'S DECISION TO PHASE OUT URBAN MAIL DELIVERY
OTTAWA - Transport Minister Lisa Raitt is defending Canada Post's decision to phase out urban mail delivery over the next five years while hiking the price of stamps.
Raitt, the minister responsible for the Crown corporation, says Canadians are sending less mail than ever, leaving Canada Post with some tough financial decisions in order to combat a steep decline in revenues.
She says a typical Canadian household buys only one to two dozen stamps a year, and mail volumes continue to plummet, having fallen nearly 25 per cent per household since 2008.
Raitt says the Conservative government supports Canada Post's efforts to become self-sustaining "in order to protect taxpayers."
She adds she is looking forward to "seeing progress" as Canada Post rolls out its cost-cutting plans.
SOME OF WHAT HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT CANADA POST'S PLAN TO CUT DELIVERY SERVICES
OTTAWA - Some of the reaction Wednesday to Canada Post's decision to do away with urban door-to-door delivery and significantly increase the price of stamps.
"Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses. If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers." — From the Canada Post announcement.
"With this plan, Canada Post will be in a better position to be the essential enabler of remote trade and commerce that Canadians and Canadian businesses can count on for years to come." — Canada Post announcement.
"Harper's Conservatives can find millions to keep his well-connected friends in the Senate but he can't find a way to keep mail coming to your door. That tells you what Conservative priorities are. These short-sighted service cuts will have the biggest impact on seniors and persons with disabilities." — New Democrat MP Olivia Chow.
"In today's digital age, Canadians are sending less mail than ever. I look forward to seeing progress as Canada Post rolls out its plan for an efficient, modern postal service that protects taxpayers and is equipped to meet Canadians' needs now and in the future." — Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.
"Introducing massive lettermail price hikes for residential and business consumers is not the way to rescue a failing government entity. These hikes will have a significant impact on many small businesses that use the mail to connect with customers or invoice and pay suppliers." — Dan Kelly, president, Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
"Canada Post claims to be listening to Canadians, yet I've yet to hear anyone tell me that they no longer want letters delivered to their homes." — Elizabeth May, leader of the Green party.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2013