CCD to Minister of Transport about Canada Post

16 December 2013

Hon. Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Raitt:

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), a cross-disability organization of men and women with disabilities working for an accessible and inclusive Canada, is very concerned about Canada Post's plans to discontinue door-to-door mail service.  Due to a number of factors, this announced change in service will have an adverse impact on persons with disabilities, thus we urge that these plans be halted.

It is CCD's understanding that instead of daily door-to-door mail service it is planned that Canadians will have their mail delivered to communal mailboxes in their neighborhoods. The communal mailbox will be a barrier for many Canadians with disabilities, because due to weather and snow conditions sidewalks can become impassable for persons who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids.  For persons whose disabilities cause fatigue, a trip to the communal mailbox will be an additional task that they will have to juggle in their daily routine.  Due to poverty, some people with disabilities live in unsafe neighborhoods, as housing costs are lower, and may feel vulnerable when retrieving their mail from a communal box.  Due to these and other constraints, some people will have to rely on friends, neighbors or volunteers from charitable agencies for help with mail retrieval and this lessens the independence of persons with disabilities.  Having other people pick-up an individual's mail reduces their privacy and this could be particularly worrisome for women with disabilities living in abusive situations.  They may not want their abuser having access to personal documents that come in the mail, such as bank statements. 

While reliance on information and communication technology instead of Canada Post may be an option for some Canadians, not all Canadians can afford to have internet service at home.  Canadians with disabilities face a disproportionate level of poverty, thus internet service is beyond the budget of many.

In some media discussions around this issue, we have heard it suggested that door-to-door mail service be continued for people with disabilities and seniors.  A twin-track mail delivery system would be problematic because people would have to meet eligibility criteria for the door-to-door service.  There are already too many services where people with disabilities must spend time and money to prove their eligibility.  Canadians with disabilities do not need another parallel service system which they will be required to navigate.  In addition, if door-to-door service was provided only to people with disabilities this would identify where a person with disability lives and might make them targets for home invasions or other types of crimes.

Rather than completely eliminating door-to-door service, it would be preferable to reduce service from daily to a lesser number of deliveries per week.

We urge you and your government to work with Canada Post to preserve some form of door-to-door service so that people with disabilities do not face more exclusion and dependency.


Tony Dolan

Olivia Chow
NDP Critic for Transport, Municipalities and Public Transit

David McGuinty
Liberal Critic for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities