Victoria seniors outraged over Canada Post changes

Luke Simcoe, MetroNews

Canada Post’s plan to phase out door-to-door mail delivery isn’t going over well in Victoria, a city with a disproportionately high number of seniors.

“My phone is ringing off the hook,” said Victoria MP Murray Rankin. “This whole issue is causing a lot of anxiety in my part of the world.”

On Wednesday, the Crown corporation unveiled sweeping changes that will end home delivery within five years and replace it with community mailboxes. The exact details of the plan are murky, but thousands of mail carriers are expected to lose their jobs.

“The first group that I thought of was older seniors,” said Susan Brice, director of Silver Threads and a councillor in Saanich. “If people are living in their own homes and are mobility-challenged, this causes some real concerns.”

According to Statistics Canada, 18.4 per cent of Greater Victoria’s population is over the age of 65.

“It’s insensitive of Canada Post to not have contemplated — or at least announced — some kind of phasing out that would still provide opportunities for people who are isolated or mobility challenged,” Brice said. “If anyone writes letters, it’s that group. If anyone receives letters, it’s that group.

“And the real kicker was that the consultation was done online,” she added.

Rankin also took issue with the timing of the announcement, coming only a day after Parliament broke for the holidays.

“There was no time whatsoever for it to be debated in the House of Commons,” he said.

The NDP MP said he had already met with concerned constituents, senior’s organizations, disability rights groups and the local branch of the postal workers union. He plans to hold a town hall on the issue on Jan. 13.

“It’s not just to vent,” Rankin said. “I want to hear about creative, constructive things that can be done to address the problem.”