Liberals to end community mail box conversions, but won’t restore door-to-door

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals will spell out their long-term plan to reform Canada Post today, making permanent a freeze on converting home delivery to community mail boxes.

But some 800,000 families who have already started walking down the street for their mail won’t see door-to-door delivery restored — a move that’s sure to upset postal workers who have demanded the post office turn back the clock on mailbox conversions.

Rather, federal officials tell The Canadian Press that the government will be setting up a task force to confront any accessibility concerns those 800,000 households and anyone else may be facing, with an emphasis on better serving seniors and people with mobility issues.

The Liberals vaguely promised during the 2015 election campaign to “save home mail delivery” after the previous Conservative government decided to end it as a cost-saving measure and instead deliver letters to community mail boxes.

Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough is expected to roll out the new plan at a Canada Post plant in Mississauga this morning.

Officials say she will also introduce changes to the financial rules that drive Canada Post, emphasizing the need to make a profit and then re-invest the extra money back into the Crown agency to improve services and become self-sustaining over the long run.

Senior leadership at the post office, which is in the midst of a large-scale turnover that includes a search for a new CEO, will also be mandated to establish more cordial labour relations.

As well, officials say the government will push Canada Post to promote its remittance services, encouraging more customers in Canada to use the postal service to send money to friends and family abroad.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has called instead for a re-introduction of banking services at postal outlets as a way to make money, an idea that has been rejected by the agency.

The government will also ask Canada Post to capitalize on a boom in its parcel services, since that’s where the money and growth are.

While mail deliveries by postal workers have been declining drastically in recent years, Canada Post has seen parcel delivery volumes soar, up by almost 39 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 alone.

And Canada Post will be expected to look at how other countries have used weekend delivery or parcel lockers to bolster their postal service revenues.

The government will also be looking at ways to leverage the fact that Canada Post has a presence in even the smallest of Canadian communities, and could be used to deliver other government services.

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