Door-to-door mail delivery will no longer face cuts, following a federal Liberal government announcement this week on renewing the Canada Post service.
However, Sidney was not part of that announcement and will not see door-to-door delivery return.
Sidney lost door-to-door mail delivery service in 2015, as Canada Post replaced its seven routes with community mailboxes under direction from the previous Conservative government. Sidney was one of three communities in B.C. to lose door-to-door mail delivery at that time, as did Campbell River also on Vancouver Island.
Jessica Dempster, President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 850 in Victoria, says the Liberals’ Jan. 24 announcement to renew delivery service and end conversions to community mailboxes — but not to re-instate it in communities that lost it — was bittersweet.
“Sidney was one of the last in the country (to lose door-to-door service),” she said, noting it occurred just as the government changed and the Liberals promised to review services at Canada Post.
The postal workers who worked those routes in Sidney did not lose their jobs, but were given work elsewhere in the region.
Dempster said this week’s announcement was disappointing, especially in the wake of the union’s negotiations with government to try to have Sidney’s service restored. She said when it was stopped in favour of community mailboxes, there was worry of its impact on what is generally an older community. The union at the time started a campaign to try to have the service restored, which included petitions.
“It’s just disappointing, after all that hard work, the lobbying didn’t pay off.”
Dempster said other communities in Greater Victoria — Langford, Colwood, View Royal and Esquimalt — were next on the chopping block after Sidney in 2015, but were saved from that fate. She said there are community mailboxes in a variety of areas — especially more recent residential developments — in Greater Victoria. However, most of the region managed to keep its door-to-door mail delivery service.
Dempster added the government’s new vision for Canada Post going forward is positive — as they have announced service improvements. But she said as the union and government sit down at the bargaining table this year, restoring door-to-door service in places like Sidney will be on the union’s agenda.
CUPW stated in a media release that there are more than 800,000 people who no longer have door-to-door mail service in Canada.
Ottawa stated in its decision that not only is it terminating community mailbox conversions, it pans to enhance delivery services for seniors and those with mobility challenges.